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


Paying for Sins of the Father

By · Aug, 27 2009

Mason-Dixon polling of Nevada voters reveals both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his son, Las Vegas County Commissioner Rory Reid, are saddled by weak poll numbers as they look toward the 2010 Senate and Gubernatorial elections. The poll, conducted Aug 17-18, has a MoE of +/-5% also shows incumbent Jim Gibbons chances of winning re-election are about as likely as August snowfall on the Vegas Strip.

Democratic Primary 
  (3-way) (2-person)
Oscar Goodman 34 n/a
Barbara Buckley 25 43
Rory Reid 13 22
Undecided 28 35

The pollster included Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman in the Democratic field although he has indicated if he does launch a gubernatorial campaign, it will be as an independent.  At this stage, he appears stronger than both Democrats mentioned as candidates (Reid, the Younger – who is running) and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley (who may or may not be) if he chose to stay in the Democratic fold. When Goodman is omitted from the poll, Buckley emerges as the clear frontrunner over Reid, garnering 43% support.

In the general election matchups against Gibbons, all the Democrats hold comfortable leads over the deeply unpopular incumbent. It’s a far different story when about-to-retire federal judge Brian Sandoval is tested.

A former Attorney General, the Hispanic Sandoval may be able to reverse the GOP’s sliding fortunes in the state, tapping into Latino support which had shifted away from the Republicans due to their immigrant-bashing during recent elections. Sandoval leads all three Democrats, trouncing Reid by 17 points in general election matchups. This is welcome news to Silver State Republicans who have been taking their lumps over Gibbons’ inept performance and John Ensign’s extramarital affairs.

                          General Election Matchups
Goodman 56 Buckley 50
Gibbons 29 Gibbons 34
Undecided 15 Undecided 16
Reid 47 Sandoval 49
Gibbons 35 Reid 32
Undecided 18 Undecided 19
Sandoval 45 Sandoval 44
Goodman 38 Buckley 36
Undecided 17   Undecided 20


Reid’s dismal performance raises questions as to whether he might be paying a political price for the widespread voter dislike for his father. Reid the Elder has amassed a huge campaign warchest from his perch atop the US Senate and has managed to scare off any major name GOP challenger to this point. But, could the presence of two Reid on next year’s ballot lead to his defeat?

As the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston points out, “Sometimes one plus one can equal zero.” 

Harry Reid’s Nevada critics often denounce his strong-arm politicking. The former wrestler is known for his “no-holds-barred” style of backroom politics. As a four-term senator, it’s clear his tactics have brought him success.

But will he look at these numbers and determine one of the Reid’s 2010 dreams need to be deferred?  Or will the father and son march together and put Democrats up and down the Nevada ballot at risk? More Ralston:

what the county commissioner and the U.S. senator must confront is that the poll reveals just how weak they both are going into Campaign 2010.

We know why Harry Reid is so vulnerable — Reid fatigue spreading, charisma transplant lacking and Democratic numbers sagging. But what this poll reveals — and what others confirm — is that the elder Reid is a drag on the younger Reid. And what is reasonable speculation is that Reid the Younger hurts Reid the Elder, who has little margin for error as it is and certainly doesn’t need chatter about dynasties and political manipulation.

Thus the possibility of that Reid math playing out has to be worrying both men and Democrats who might fear a drag on the ticket if the top two nominees have the same name — a name that could doubly energize Republicans to turn out in November 2010.

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