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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Feb
21

Texas Endorsements – the Love Kay May Not Want

By · Feb, 21 2010

The last of the Texas’ five major dailies, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, has made their gubernatorial picks and it’s unanimous. The Fourth Estate has spoken as one. All five newspapers endorsed Democrat Bill White and Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in their respective primaries. Considering the anti-establishment fever sweeping the electorate, you have to wonder if the Hutchison camp is happy with a clean sweep. The blessing bestowed by the MSM may doom her dwindling prospects in a conservative-dominated GOP primary.

The editors had this to say about the former Houston Mayor:

During six years as mayor of the state’s largest city, White worked to make the Houston area the nation’s leader in job growth while orchestrating a budget reorganization that reduced the city’s unfunded employee pension liabilities. His pragmatic approach to air-quality issues related to natural gas drilling reveals a reasonable balance between public safety and economic development. And his direction of Houston’s response to the migration of Hurricane Katrina refugees from New Orleans followed by those fleeing the threats of Hurricanes Rita and Ike highlighted his logistical deftness and humanitarian understanding.

White’s appeal to voters — he was re-elected mayor twice, with 86 percent and 91 percent — is that he’s not a partisan ideologue but someone with an intellect who listens as well as he leads.

In picking the state’s senior Senator in the intraparty struggle with long-time incumbent Rick Perry, the editors highlighted Hutchison’s willingness to engage in crafting legislation:

Hutchison, 66, brings fresh eyes and a measured approach that would benefit Texas after years of Perry’s heavy-handed and often myopic tactics. Despite his public posturing on issues such as mandating HPV vaccines, Perry was often MIA during legislative sessions. Only after the sessions ended did he emerge, veto pen in hand, to undo what a majority of legislators favored.

Hutchison’s willingness to work with lawmakers as bills are crafted would be a welcome change. The state needs a governor who will reach across party and ideological lines to build coalitions that tackle the thorny issues of a balanced budget, education and transportation.

White is widely favored to win the Democratic nod, as the campaign of his closest competitor Farouk Shami appears to be in a chaotic freefall. The endorsements are simply icing on the cake for a Democratic Party trying to regain it’s footing deep in the heart of Texas after decades of being shut out in Austin. On the Republican side, however, voters have a unique opportunity. The nationwide anti-incumbent mood can be vented against two of the Lone Star State’s most high-profile political figures, the stamp of approval from the state’s dailies may actually be the kiss of death in this “throw the bums out” atmosphere.

Hutchison now trails Perry significantly in a race she had once been considered the odds-on favorite.  Recent polls show upstart Ron Paul acolyte Debra Medina within range of actually finishing ahead of Kay. What was once thought to be her race to lose has transformed into a race in which she could embarrassingly finish in third. She’s now simply hoping to finish second and holding Perry below fifty percent to force an April run-off.

While much has been made about the Democratic Party’s recent troubles at the polling booth, the infighting and voter upheaval underway in the Texas GOP primary reveals political volatility across the spectrum.

Message – incumbents beware.

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