Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the States

Will crucial independent voters turn out in next Tuesday's California primaries?

For the first time under a new procedure, California voters will be able to vote for anyone in their relevant primaries, regardless of party affiliation. Passed in 2010, Proposition 14 instituted non-partisan blanket primaries in which candidates of any party affiliation compete for a top-two runoff in the general election. Many believe that newly-empowered unaffiliated voters will be crucial to this process, but the question remains as to whether they will turn out. Groups like the Independent Voter Project are aiming to do just that. [Sacramento Bee]

They’re back. New Jersey’s most prominent bipartisan couple, Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, seem to have gotten past a minor spat last fall, and created a “Seinfeld” parody together. It’s an old video, to be sure, but it’s worth noting for the bipartisan spirit. The video, filmed for the New Jersey Press Association’s Legislative Correspondents Club, consists largely of Booker foiling Christie’s attempts at outdoing the Mayor’s larger-than-life feats of strength and bravery. (Warning: there is Tebowing with a baby.) [Huffington Post]

If Wisconsin is a sign of things to come in November, we all have a lot to worry about. Democrats especially. As that state’s gubernatorial recall election fast approaches (also on June 5; keep your calendars open), incumbent Republican Scott Walker and his allies have massively outspent challenger Tom Barrett. (Though to be fair, Walker was not subject to the same fundraising limits as Barrett leasing up to the election.) In any event, both Walker and Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor who faced Walker in the 2010 election, have been aided by millions in outside funding, including $4.8 million from the Republican Governors Association and $4.4 million from labor groups who attacked Walker in support of Barret’s primary opponent, former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Sometimes, a state’s problem lies beyond partisan bickering and simply fall under the category of “poor choices.” Such is the case in Rhode Island, which effectively owns 38 Studios, a creator of video games. Or, as it were, a former creator of video games. In 2010, then-governor Donald Carcieri pushed for a major loan to 38 Studios, which former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curtis Schilling founded in 2006. The deal was unpopular with the public, and all three major gubernatorial candidates in 2010 opposed it. Now, after releasing precisely one game, 38 studios effectively went out of business last Thursday, taking 400 Rhode Islanders’ jobs, their health insurance, and $112 million in loan principal, interest, and fees with it. [CNN]


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