Karben’s Theory on Spitzer and 2007 Races

It’s easy to forget but this upcoming Tuesday is an election day, but as a story in the Sun today notes, it may be an important test for Eliot Spitzer.

It’s the first regularly scheduled election since he’s become governor, and is coming as he’s embroiled in a national fight over driver’s licenses.

How is he going to approach the elections?

Spitzer supporter Ryan Karben, now a managing director of Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations, emailed me to say that the driver‘s license issue probably won‘t have much of an impact in local races.

From Karben:

He’s campaigning for Democrats around the state, which is what governors do. GOP is clearly trying to up the political capital he has at stake, but I don’t buy it. I’ve run in 4 local elections aside from my assembly races and local races turn on local issues (taxes, development, character of those in office, small bore scandals), not state wide issues.

License issue has some legs because, upstate, it must be administered by county clerks who run the DMV in those counties (unlike downstate where DMV runs its own show), so its become an opportunity for otherwise uninteresting races to get some life and draw attention.

This is the most favorable election year the GOP will have until 2011– no NYC municipal elections like in 09, no presidential, as in 08 and no gubernatorial as in 2010. So, likely to be a depressed turnout, which always benefits GOP because their voters are generally more motivated; Democrats have greater turnout challenges.

07 is really more important as a trial run for campaign techniques, list building, volunteer recruitment etc.