With voters going to the polls in California, for the state’s open primary, and in Wisconsin, for the gubernatorial recall election, Tuesday’s voting stands to be a prelude of things to come in November.
In California, there are two races that have drawn special interest for the entertainment industry. The race between incumbent Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman for a San Fernando Valley congressional seat is especially important to the Hollywood lobby, which has long looked to Berman as one of its primary champions on Capitol Hill when it comes to industry issues (he’s even dubbed “Hollywood’s congressman.”) The trouble for Berman is that he’s running in a newly redrawn district where Sherman is better known, and a recent poll shows that. Sherman leads Berman in the latest poll, but with the state’s open primary a one-two finish would mean that they would face off again in November. That’s why Berman has been emphasizing Republican support to some extent, hopeful that he will draw from the center and the right in a general election contest.
Voters in the state also will decide on Proposition 29, a $1-per-pack tax on cigarette that will primarily be used to fund cancer research. Tobacco companies and the state Republican party have invested heavily in fighting the measure, while Lance Armstrong, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sherry Lansing, along with groups like the American Cancer Society, are pushing for it. It has already started a TV ad air war, with more than $60 million expected to be spent when all is said and done.
The results of the Wisconsin recall will undoubtedly trigger days of analysis of what it means for November. Gov. Scott Walker has led in every poll, so a victory tonight may be a matter of margins and the way that it is spun afterward. But it is also a prelude to what is going to be an avalanche of political spots airing in key swing states for the rest of the year. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, Wisconsin could end the year with the largest number of political ads ever aired in a state, per Politico.