Election ’09, climate change, health rates

But the elections this year will probably not provide any sweeping conclusions. Democrats are expected to win the governor’s race in New Jersey and Republicans are favored to stop the Democrats’ gubernatorial winning streak in Virginia.

The race to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) is fascinating, but whoever wins, it won’t necessarily be a bellwether for the 2010 midterms. House Republicans won an intense special election for Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) seat months before Democrats captured control of the House in 2006.

By winning two of the three races, Republicans would have something to tout (even though the GOP candidate is no longer in the race in NY-23) and could argue that they have halted the Democrats’ electoral momentum. Losing two of the three races would be another indication that the GOP brand needs major work.

The White House has distanced itself from Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds’s gubernatorial campaign in recent weeks, and criticism of the Deeds operation will intensify if, as expected, Republican Bob McDonnell triumphs on Tuesday.

After the election analysis dies down, there will be some significant pieces of legislation debated on Capitol Hill later this week.

Senate Environmental and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.) wants to move forward with climate change legislation this week, though Republicans are threatening to boycott the scheduled markup. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusGreen Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan Farmers hit Trump on trade in new ad MORE (D-Mont.), who sits on Boxer’s panel, has hinted that he may join with the GOP in opposing the measure.

While climate change legislation inches its way through the upper chamber, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears to be closing in on the 218 votes she needs to pass her healthcare reform bill.

Several members who were firm “no” votes before are either on board or are now undecided. For example, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who voted no in the Education and Labor Committee, now sounds as though he will vote yes. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), who rejected the package that came out of the Ways and Means Committee, is backing the bill. And Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), who was strongly opposed to the previous measures, is now undecided.

Like Polis, Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyRepublicans refuse to back opioids bill sponsored by vulnerable Dem Dem lawmaker calls on Fox News to fire Hannity Overnight Energy: Former Pruitt aide alleges more wasteful spending, retaliation | Senate confirms EPA No. 2 | Zinke backs off big park fee increases MORE (D-Va.), Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) had signed letters to Democratic leaders earlier this year expressing concerns about the direction of healthcare reform. But when Pelosi rolled out the new version of the bill last week, all four lawmakers were standing behind the Speaker.