Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Midterm Elections: The Campaign Season of Controversies and Crazies

New Rochelle, NY - The 2010 midterm elections will finally take place tomorrow, and a look back at the eventful campaign season yields a multitude of candidates who were controversial, gaffe-prone, and wacky.
In Delaware, Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell surprisingly won the nomination and from then on caused a stir with her controversial statements and beliefs. Old videos from Bill Maher’s HBO show “Politically Incorrect” revealed that O’Donnell dabbled in witchcraft and doesn’t believe in masturbation or evolution.
In her debate against Democratic candidate Chris Coons, O’Donnell questioned and didn’t seem to understand that the principle of separation of church and state could be found in the First Amendment.
The New York gubernatorial race was host to a diverse group of people who normally would not have a place in politics. Kristin Davis, the madam of the prostitution ring that Eliot Spitzer was a client of, tried to run under the Libertarian party but did not garner the nomination. Jimmy McMillan ran under “The Rent is 2 Damn High” party. He did not receive much attention his party’s name is basically his own platform, until the televised debate caused his campaign to go viral.
Like O’Donnell, Republican and Tea-Party backed gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has provided controversy after controversy since garnering his nomination. He sent out a racially insensitive and sexually explicit e-mail to friends that was leaked to the press. He threatened a reporter, was discovered to have a mistress and an illegitimate daughter, and repeatedly spoke out against homosexuality and gay marriage, even criticizing opponent Andrew Cuomo for bringing his children to a gay pride parade.
One of the closest and most closely watched Senate races is in Nevada. There, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is fighting to keep his seat against opponent Sharon Angle. She has drawn criticism for her strict stance on illegal immigration, with some going so far as to say she is racist. She did not help matters when she spoke to the Hispanic club of a high school she was visiting and told them “I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know.”
The democratic gubernatorial candidate in Rhode Island, Frank Caprio, told President Obama that he could take his endorsement “and shove it” after he learned that Obama declined to endorse him. Rich Iott, a Tea Party candidate running for election in Ohio’s 9th congressional district, was discovered to be a WWII reenactment enthusiast who enjoyed dressing up in Nazi garb.
No one knows exactly why this campaign season has yielded more gaffes and controversies than ever before, but some sources point to the high level of anger and the inexperience of Tea Party candidates.
With the high stakes of the campaign and the residual anger about issues like unemployment and health care, some candidates simply may not be able to speak their minds in a healthy and professional manner. And some Tea Party candidates are unaccustomed to the pressure of political campaigns, so they are less polished and rougher around the edges.
It remains to be seen what affect these gaffes and controversies will have on the elections, but there will plenty of analysis in the days to come once results are in.
For more on this interesting campaign season, click here:

-Michael O'Connor