The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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Jul
21

Sunshine State Dems Rising?

By · Jul, 21 2009

Florida CFO Alex Sink’s impressive fundraising numbers for her gubernatorial run (she brought in $1.3 million compared to Republican Bill McCollum’s $1.06 million) mark a significant reversal of the two parties’ Sunshine State fortunes.  After a decade of decline and a near total eclipse by the GOP at the state level, the Democratic Party outshone their presumptive standardbearer’s performance, as they nearly doubled the GOP’s fundraising totals for the second quarter.

It could be that the Crist-Rubio contest in the state’s senate primary is attracting all of the GOP donor base’s attention and sucking up all the money. But considering Crist is the overwhelming favorite to become the next senator, these fundraising numbers may reveal the dawning of a new day for the Democratic Party.

A weakened economy (the GOP donors in the finance and real estate industries are among the hardest hit in the current recession) combined with an energized and experienced Democratic grassroots (Organizing for America is already gearing up in Florida) are scrambling the political calculations in a state where Democrats have spent years in decline.

The St. Pete Times  provides mounting evidence of a Democratic resurgence:

  • 1,740 people contributed to the Florida Democratic Party in the three months that ended June 30, compared to 224 to the Florida GOP. It’s the first time since 1996 that Democrats outraised Republicans in that fundraising period.
  • The latest voter registration statistics show that Democrats accounted for 39 percent of the new voter registrations in Florida since the last election, while Republicans accounted for 25 percent.
  • Mini rebellions against the state Republican leadership are popping up in local parties across the state. For months, vocal party activists have bashed state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer over spending, over his effort to muscle Marco Rubio out of the Republican Senate primary, and for allegedly “purging” conservative activists and Ron Paul acolytes from local parties. A “Recall Jim Greer” group recently formed on Facebook.

While the Democratic establishment has cleared the decks for Sink, there is a potential primary challenger for McCollum in state legislator Paula Dockery, who is being draftedto mount a campaign from the right. She has done little to squelch the effort and seems more than tempted to join the fray. If McCollum is forced to move to the right to fend off a Dockery challenge, it could prove devastating to his general election chances against a well-funded Sink.

Despite the intra-party feuding the Republicans still hold commanding majorities in the state legislature. Democrats, if they want to have any say in the upcoming redistricting process, will need Governor Sink sitting at the table. At this stage, they’re off to a decent start.

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