Program Note: Don't miss our special election coverage tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET. And tune in to AC360° as we drill down on the politics of these key races and why they matter. 10 p.m. ET.
CNN's Political Unit
Tuesday's off-year election might not have the high stakes of the 2008 presidential election, but there are several significant races worth watching:
• New York's 23rd Congressional District
Why it matters: A conservative backlash against a moderate Republican candidate propelled this race into national headlines as proof of an ongoing family feud between the far right and moderates for control of the party.
What's the story?: Local Republican leaders picked Dede Scozzafava because of her appeal to centrist Republicans, independents and even some Democrats. But it sparked a conservative revolt, and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman outpolled Scozzafava, forcing her to withdraw. Scozzafava has since endorsed Democrat Bill Owens.
New York district bares fight for GOP's soul
Biden stumps for Owens, takes shot at Palin
WWNY: Biden asks Republicans to cross over
• Virginia Governor
Why it matters: This race is seen as an early referendum on voters' attitudes toward President Obama and his policies and an opportunity for Republicans to turn back recent Democratic gains.
I hope Hoffman loses simply because he was not the person chosen by the local Republican politicians in the 23rd district as the main reason, and the second reason why Hoffman got support from the RNC was her positions on what "politically" and "constitutionally" are not political issues as such but religious based and that is supposed to be constitutionally separate, evidently the RNC still do not think so.
Seems like most of the races are social issues and that the few that are for a political office are not high enough on the hierarchy of elected offices to really compare who wins there with what it says about Obama – next year will be the year to watch. There should be quite a statement by then and it will be interesting to see if the people referred to as tea partiers right now will wind up as leading the majority or just a very loud minority.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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