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


The Sleeping Giant No More

By · Jul, 24 2009

The US Census recently released a report on voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election. The most important finding with electoral ramifications for years to come is the enormous surgeĀ among Hispanic voters. Nearly 2.2 million more Hispanic voters showed up at the polls in 2008 over 2004, an increase of over 28%. Josh Goodman has an interesting writeup on the Latino voting bloc’s increasing importance, including a chart showing the Hispanic percentage by state.

Most political observers know by now that the Latino vote (which supported President Obama by a 2-1 margin) was critical to his electoral college success, helping the Democrats add Nevada, Florida and Colorado to their electoral college column. Historically, Latinos have been an underperforming population on election day, consistently voting at rates below the overall average. Perhaps the failure of comprehensive immigration reform or the 2006 May Day rallies sparked by the anti-Hispanic rhetoric coming from some (mostly Republican) political leaders awakened the sleeping giant of American politics.

If so, it’s bad news for Republicans.

Goodman points out that on a regional level, the Hispanic vote is now large enough to determine elections in quite a few states, including the largest and fastest-growing. The list of states with the largest percentage of Hispanic voters is topped by traditionally Latino New Mexico, where one out of three (34%) voters were Hispanic. Four of the nation’s five largest states (CA, TX, FL and NY) along with two of the fastest growing (AZ & NV) occupy the next six slots on that list.

Every one of those with the exception of Texas and Arizona, home to the former president and the 2008 GOP nominee, went for Obama. All will be electing a governor next year. Of these, only New York currently has a Democratic chief executive. Only New York and California are NOT projected to pick up congressional seats after next year’s census. All, with the exception of Texas, are viewed as toss-ups or Democratic pick-up opportunities. Only New York and California are NOT projected to pick up congressional seats after next year’s census. As most states governors play an important role in the decennial reapportionment process, winning these gubernatorial contests is critical to shaping the congressional balance of power for the next decade.

The Hispanic vote,Ā long ignored, now looms as the most influential force in American politics.

If anyone was confused as to why President Obama recently put Comprehensive Immigration Reform onto his already crowded plate, you now have your answer.

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