Republicans should come up big in '93 elections

by Matthew Berry | 11/1/93 6:00am

Tomorrow, voters across America will trek to the polls to cast their ballots in a variety of state and local elections. Issues to be considered range from the serious to the absurd. In one of twenty-eight questions on the San Francisco ballot, residents will decide whether a police officer who doubles as a ventriloquist should be allowed to use his dummy while on duty.

On the more weighty side, however, voters in New Jersey, Virginia and New York City will resolve contests with major national repercussions. As a Republican, I can only hope that Tuesday will bring more good news than Election Day one year ago. Well aware of the considerable risk of embarrassment associated with making public prognostications, here are my guesses as to how Tuesday's key races will turn out.

New Jersey: Jim Florio (D) versus Christine Todd Whitman (R)

During his successful 1989 campaign, Jim Florio said that he would not raise taxes if elected governor. Once in office, Florio proposed and signed into law the biggest tax increase in New Jersey history. Due to Florio's tax hike, New Jersey's economy is now among the worst in the nation. Over two hundred thousand jobs have been lost during Florio's tenure as governor.

Florio's economic program could in many ways be looked at as the model for President Clinton's tax-and-spend plan which passed Congress. And just as Florio destroyed New Jersey's economy, Americans also will soon begin to experience an economic downswing caused by Clinton's folly.

By contrast, Christine Todd Whitman's economic philosophy is similar to that of a far more successful President. In a refreshing re-assertion of Reaganite principle, Whitman is pledging to cut state income taxes by thirty percent. Just as Reagan's 1981 tax cut spurred the longest peacetime expansion in America's history and created over nineteen million new jobs, Whitman's program of tax relief coupled with spending cuts is just the medicine New Jersey needs to recover from its economic woes.

Unfortunately, the Florio campaign has been masterfully run by Clinton's political guru James Carville, while Whitman's effort has floundered. Two weeks ago, Florio held a fifteen point lead in the polls. But as voters have begun to seriously focus on the issues, Florio's lead has dramatically narrowed in the contest's final days.

While the race will undoubtedly be close, Whitman should squeak by with a victory. As much as Florio would like to change the subject, in the words of Carville himself, "it's the economy, stupid." Prediction: Whitman 50 percent, Florio 48 percent.

Virginia: Mary Sue Terry (D) versus George Allen (R)

This summer, Virginia Attorney General Mary Sue Terry held a twenty-eight point lead over former U.S. Representative George Allen, the son of the famous Redskins coach. Unfortunately for Terry, her campaign has been a real life example of Murphy's Law.

While Allen has been personable and charismatic on the gubernatorial campaign trail, Terry has appeared to have the warmth of Leona Helmsley. Allen's campaign has tied Terry to a trio of unpopular Democrats: President Clinton, Governor Douglas Wilder, and Senator Chuck Robb. As a result, Terry's early popularity has turned into a double digit Allen lead.

In an effort to mount a comeback, Terry is attempting to paint George Allen as a tool of the religious right, headed by Pat Robertson. Such charges, however, are completely preposterous and besides, Robertson is more popular in Virginia that Terry at this point. Prediction: Allen 54 percent Terry 46 percent.

New York City: David Dinkins (D) versus Rudolph Giuliani (R)

New York's mayoral contest pits the very liberal Democratic incumbent Dinkins against a fairly liberal GOP challenger Giuliani. In 1989, Dinkins defeated Giuliani by two points despite polls which showed him with a fourteen point lead heading into Election Day.

Although the polls show the race to be a dead heat, the contest is not a hard one to predict. Given Dinkins' record in office, practically no one who voted for Giuliani last time will vote for Dinkins on Tuesday. By contrast, many who voted for Dinkins in 1989, especially Jewish Democrats upset with Dinkins' handling of the Crown Heights riot, will cross party lines to support Guiliani this time.

Next year, America's two largest cities will be controlled by Republican mayors. Urban residents are finally realizing that big government is not the solution to their problems. As fictitious film politician Bob Roberts sang, "the times are changin' back." Prediction: Giuliani 52 percent, Dinkins 46 percent.