All the excitement over early voting in the presidential contest has not addressed an issue that may be just as important: will this excitement translate into down ballot contests? Does the high Democratic and African American turnout that Charles has blogged about in NC also help Kay Hagan in her run against incumbent Elizabeth Dole?
I don’t have any information from NC, but I do from Louisiana. LA is interesting because the presidential contest is not at all close in that state, so the kind of enthusiasm in NC–getting Obama over the top–will not apply in LA, where McCain has a double digit lead.
Nonetheless, we are seeing very heavy African American turnout in LA. At last report, 40% of early votes were cast by African Americans, who make up just 39% of the electorate (pre Katrina). Early voting lines as long as 5 hours are being reported.
Landrieu looks like she has this race wrapped up, but early voting seems to be making things easier for her.