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
28

It Goes Beyond “A Reasonable Request,” Gov Patrick

By · Aug, 28 2009

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick  told Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer yesterday that Sen. Kennedy’s hope the Commonwealth would change the senatorial succession law allowing the governor to appoint an interim senator until the January special election is held was a “reasonable request.”

I’d argue it’s far more than that. Patrick’s political future in the Bay State depends on him doing everything in his power to honor the senator’s last wish.

Prior to Kennedy’s passing there was some reluctance within the Massachusetts legislature to revisit the law enacted only a few years ago to prevent then-Governor Mitt Romney from filling Senator John Kerry’s seat with a Republican if the junior senator had emerged victorious in his 2004 presidential campaign. Minority Republicans denounced the possibility as blatant political hypocrisy.

House Minority Leader Bradley Jones said he was “stunned at the incredible hypocrisy that could be expected to unfold.”

“Given that a great many of the leadership voted against the change in 2004, one would hope for some consistency,” Jones said.

Besides the fact the Massachusetts GOP is a rump caucus, the political calculus all changed late Tuesday night. The public outpouring of emotion following the youngest Kennedy brother’s death illustrates the bond between Massachusetts citizens and their Irish royal family. Whether it’s ethnic, religious, political or regional, the respect and pride Massachusetts voters had in Ted Kennedy is undeniable. At this moment, it is transcendant.

Voters in Massachusetts understood who they were voting for (or against) each time they stepped into a voting booth and pulled the lever for Ted Kennedy: an unapologetic liberal who would never stop fighting for the causes he believed in. When “liberal” became a dirty word, he was one of the few who didn’t run for cover by rebranding himself as a “progressive.”

The voters knew, too, that the cause of his life was assuring access to affordable, quality health care for every American. With every single Senate vote critical to achieving his lifelong goal, Massachusetts voters understand denying Kennedy’s request amounts to ending his dream. No Massachusetts Democrat wants to run for re-election with the onus of such a failure attached to their name.

For Patrick’s sake (who is already suffering from anemic approval numbers), let’s hope he handles an appointment more adroitly than NY Governor David Paterson’s stumbling and bumbling nomination of Kirsten Gillibrand.

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