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The Week's fall 2013 politics preview
Forget football. The biggest hits are in politics.
New York's next mayor?
New York's next mayor? Mario Tama/Getty Images
F

ans of football and cutthroat partisan politics should be glad that summer is over. While midterm elections aren't until 2014, there is still plenty of political drama to get worked up over this fall, including a couple big-name gubernatorial races and some nail-biting face-offs in Congress.

Here is a look at what everyone will be arguing about until next year.

Sept. 10: The battle to replace Bloomberg
The New York City general election might be on Nov. 5, but in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than six to one, the Democratic primary is the election. After Anthony Weiner, um, exposed his shortcomings as a candidate, it looks like liberal New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is the front-runner, with former Comptroller Bill Thompson (who nearly beat Bloomberg in 2009) in second, and New York Times-endorsed Christine Quinn, speaker of the city council, sinking all the way to third.

Sept. 10: The day that people cared about a comptroller race
Weiner isn't the only disgraced New York politician looking for redemption. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who you will remember had a bit of a scandal over frequenting prostitutes, faces off against Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary for city comptroller. The winner gets, more or less, to be New York City's accountant.

Sept. 30: Food stamp showdown
House Republicans want to cut the food stamp budget by $40 billion. Democrats refused earlier in the summer to make less drastic cuts of $20 billion. If the two sides don't work it out and send a farm bill (which includes funding for food stamps) to the Senate, the current one could expire at the end of September, leaving Congress with a lot of angry farmers and hungry Americans to deal with.

Sept. 30: The return of a possible government shutdown

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Yes, this is happening again. The resolution funding the government is expiring and — surprise! — Washington lawmakers have not settled all of their differences. The White House is looking to close some corporate tax loopholes, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and company are looking for long-term spending cuts. And oh yeah, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Tea Party Republicans have threatened to shut down the government if ObamaCare isn't defunded.

Oct. 1: ObamaCare exchanges open for business
Speaking of ObamaCare, this is the day the health insurance marketplaces are supposed to open up, ostensibly providing Americans with more insurance options than they've had in the past. Policies purchased won't take effect until January, but October should give many consumers their first taste of the Affordable Care Act — and with it outrage from Republican politicians and pundits.

Oct. 15: The return of the debt ceiling
If Washington is too dysfunctional to raise the debt ceiling during budget negotiations, this is around when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew predicted the U.S. government would hit its $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. Republicans say they won't raise it unless Obama concedes to big budget cuts, while some are demanding a delay of ObamaCare. Obama, meanwhile, says he won't negotiate at all over the debt ceiling. Something has to give.

Oct. 16: Cory Booker finds a way out of Newark (probably)

(Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)

After the Newark mayor crushed his competition in the Democratic primary, Cory Booker moves on to the special election against Steve Lonegan, the former Republican mayor of Bogota, N.J., to find out who will replace the late Frank Lautenberg (D) as the state's new senator. Polls show Booker with a commanding lead of 25 points.

Nov. 5: Virginia is for lovers...of colorful candidates
Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general of Virginia, has come under fire for his crusade against sodomy and associating with a man who says doing yoga lures Satan. Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and longtime Clinton confidant, is an oily political operative who abandoned his pregnant wife while she was giving birth so he could schmooze at a Washington party. One of them will become the state's next governor.

Nov. 5: Chris Christie aims for a second term
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has such a big lead in the polls over Democratic opponent Barbara Buono that he is now spending his time getting needlessly angry on sports talk radio.

TBD: Obama picks a new Fed chairman
The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is expected to step down after his second term ends in January, meaning President Obama will have to pick a replacement sometime this fall. Speculation has mostly centered around former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen, which in the press has pitted anonymous, pro-Summers officials in the White House against appalled political columnists of all stripes.

Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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