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new york times
high-profile races to watch in N.J., N.Y.
An unabashedly liberal Democrat and a confrontational conservative Republican were barreling toward near-certain victories in two of this year’s highest-profile races in the Northeast, for mayor of New York City and governor of New Jersey.
The final weekend of campaigning in New York City capped a costly political marathon as a crowd of hopefuls vied to succeed the city’s three-term mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in Tuesday’s election. All told, the mayoral candidates spent more than $50 million, said the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
And in New Jersey, the race for governor entered its final weekend as lopsided as it had started. Gov. Chris Christie has dominated the polls throughout the campaign against Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.
Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayoral nominee in New York City, and Christie have little in common other than their seemingly improbable popularity. De Blasio’s Republican opponent is Joseph Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
New York voters will decide several competitive races Tuesday. In Brooklyn, District Attorney Charles Hynes is making a last-ditch bid to keep his office after losing the Democratic primary to Kenneth Thompson. And several county executive seats will also be up for grabs.
Voters also will be asked to consider a series of proposed amendments to the state’s Constitution, including one that would allow certain state judges to serve until they are age 80, and another to authorize as many as seven casinos in the state.
new york times
test vote set for anti-gay bias bill
Gay rights advocates from both parties are newly upbeat about the prospects for Senate passage of legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The outlook for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act reflects the nation’s changing attitude about homosexuality and the GOP’s political calculation as it looks for supporters beyond its core base of older voters. The first test vote is Monday.
“I think society continues to evolve on the issue of gay rights,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a co-sponsor. “As more and more gay individuals are open about their sexual orientation, people come to realize that they are their neighbors, their family members, their friends, their co-workers. That’s made a big difference.”
Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn’t stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers solely because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The bill would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions.
On Monday, all 55 members of the Senate’s Democratic majority are expected to vote “yes” on the test vote, along with four Republicans — Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the co-sponsors, Illinois’ Mark Kirk and Collins. The Senate could complete the bill by week’s end. But it is unclear whether House Republicans will bring the bill up for a vote.