While the presidential election has, understandably, received the lion’s share of voter attention this year, there are a number of other races around the country which carry implications for gamers.
Roger Wicker (R-MS) is running for re-election. In July Wicker introduced the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act. The measure would "…prohibit the distribution or sale of video games that do not have age-based content rating labels [and] prohibit the sale or rental of video games with adult content ratings to minors…" Wicker is in a tight race with former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D).
Ted Stevens (R-AK) is running for re-election. It’s a toss-up as to whether the tech-challenged Stevens is more famous for his recent conviction on federal corruption charges or for his memorable description of the Internet as a "series of tubes." Most observers expect Democrat Mark Begich to win in a close race.
Mark Warner – the former Virginia governor is running for the U.S. Senate. Warner gets a mention here thanks to his groundbreaking 2006 appearance in Second Life. He was the first major candidate to appear in an online game. At the time, Warner was exploring a presidential bid.
U.S. House of Representatives:
Lee Terry (R-NE) is running for re-election. Terry is co-author of the House version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act and was lampooned by Daily Show host Jon Stewart following a 2006 congressional hearing on video game content. He is in a close race with Democratic challenger Jim Esch.
Jim Matheson (D-UT) is running for re-election. Matheson (with Lee Terry) is co-author of the House version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act. He proposed a similar bill in 2006, also an election year. Matheson’s seat appears to be safe.
Fred Upton (R-MI) is running for re-election. Known for almost never missing a vote, Upton is generally well-regarded. In 2005 he proposed a resolution directing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Hot Coffee scandal involving Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In 2006 he proposed Video Game Decency Act. Disbarred anti-game attorney Jack Thompson often writes to Upton, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Upton writes back. Upton’s seat appears safe.
Betty McCollum (D-MN) is running for re-election. In the past McCollum has stood with Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family as Walsh presented his group’s Annual Video Game Report Card. In 2007 McCollum criticized the video game industry, urging it to take Walsh’s recommendations to heart. At the time, McCollum said, "The gaming industry has clearly failed to learn its lesson here: The pattern of inappropriate content hidden in Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt is a violation of parents’ and families’ trust." McCollum’s seat does not appear to be in jeopardy.
Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is running for re-election. In 2006 Stearns, then running for re-election, chaired a subcommittee hearing which delivered a nasty beat-down to the ESA and ESRB. That same year he co-sponsored the Truth in Video Games Rating Act in Congress. Stearns has not made much news on the game front since that time.
Joe Baca (D-CA) is running for re-election. Baca has proposed video game legislation and been a game industry critic in the past but his efforts have not gained much traction. His seat appears safe.
Ron Paul (R-TX) is running for re-election. Although his presidential campaign fizzled, Paul enjoyed tremendous Internet support, including the first-ever political campaign rally in World of Warcraft. GP was on hand in January as Paul supporters marched from Ironforge to Stormwind. The Paul campaign also created an ad using snappy, gamelike visuals.
Peter Myers: The Green Party candidate is running for Congress in California’s 15th District. He has criticized the use of the America’s Army game series as a military recruitment tool. His chance of victory is slim.
UPDATED: Added in Mark Warner and Ron Paul…