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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Sep
21

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But

By · Sep, 21 2009

Words (even those two decades old) can really hurt a political career.

With a not-so-insignificant assist to the Washington Post (who said newspapers had become irrelevant in the 21st century?) Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell has learned a painful political lesson that others who fully embrace the fanaticism rampant in this summer’s Tea Party protests would do well to heed. Extremist words can become a political liability.

Some wondered whether or not The Thesis would impact the gubernatorial contestwhen the WaPo first revealed the 20-year-old anti-feminist, gay bashing policy proposals McDonnell wrote to please the theologues at Pat Robertson’s Regents University. Late last week, GOP-leaning pollster Rasmussen reported the race had transformed  from a comfortable GOP lead to a pure toss-up. Surprisingly, the DailyKos/Research 2000 poll showed McDonnell’s lead stable indicating Rasmussen might be an outlier. Had nothing really changed?

The latest survey from the Washington Postreinforces Rasmussen’s findings, showing a much tighter race, with McDonnell hanging on to a narrow 51-47% lead among likely voters over Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds.

Dramatic shifts among independent female voters and Northern Virginians over the past month have propelled Democrat R. Creigh Deeds to within four points of Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the race for Virginia governor, according to a new Washington Post poll.

McDonnell has tried to dismiss his writings as ancient history, irrelevant to how he would govern the Commonwealth. But if these shifts among women and moderate voters prove to be real and lasting, he could be upset by Deeds in November. Virginia’s diverse electorate has already famously rejected an incumbent senator over racial statements and this polling shows they could dobe poised to do it again.

There are ominous signs for national Republicans in this news. Republican officials and candidates are currently swept up in the frenzy of Tea Party protests, appearing alongside some of the loudest, frightening and sometimes downright nonsensical citizen activists in our country today. Rather than trying to mute some of the more dangerous and violent rhetoric, Republican politicians have joined the chorus of crazies. Instead of shunning the most outrageous (and sometimes clearly unhinged) participants, Republican leaders have embraced these figures as “true patriots.”

The vast middle, especially in an increasingly diverse nation, watches and cringes at the decline of political discourse. Republicans’ embrace of the radical fringe risks being rejected by the middle, even if there is widespread angst and concern over the economy and taxes. A year from now, many of these Tea Partiers may be learning McDonnell’s lesson.

The sticks and stones may break some bones, but its the words that really hurt.

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Categories : Open Seats, Polls, Virginia

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