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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Aug
15

Retiring GOP Judge Reshapes NV Race

By · Aug, 15 2009

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, soon-to-be-former US District Judge Brian Sandoval has set his sights on the Silver State’s Governor’s Mansion. The spin from the LVRJ focuses on how this news affects the fortunes of Rory Reid, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

This overlooks the fact Sandoval would be joining a GOP field seeking to oust one of the nation’s weakest and least popular incumbents, ethically challenged Jim Gibbons. While the Hispanic Sandoval would certainly prove a formidable general election candidate (he won the 2002 Attorney General contest by an impressive 24-point margin), he still has to navigate a primary contest against North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montadon, former state Senator Joe Heck and the incumbent, if he chooses to run.

One could make a case that Sandoval’s entry into the governor’s contest could reshape the primary contest in either of two ways. The addition of another formidable primary opponent might make Gibbons realize the depths to which his political career has sunk and force him from the race.  Or it could convince the incumbent to run.  A crowded field might actually make it easier for Gibbons to envision a path in which he could eke out a narrow victory with the support of the conservative base he courted by wielding his veto pen at a record-setting pace during the last legislative session.

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