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


Archive for March, 2010


Gibbons Offers a Ticket to Ride

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Much has been made about how the Republican establishment might tap into the enthusiasm (or poutrage) pulsing through the Tea Party movement.  Over the past year, GOP officials have become increasingly enamored with the enraged right, hoping a midterm majority-creating tidal wave might be fueled by a potent tea brewing across the land. But boiling water scalds and blisters when spilled.  Just how close would GOP candidates get to this steaming teapot?

Endangered Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons’ reelection campaign has stepped up the  GOP’s courtship of the Tea Partiers by offering donors a ticket to ride on his campaign bus to a Tea Party event in southern Nevada. The first 10 donors who pony up $250 get a seat on the bus to Searchlight, Sen. Harry Reid’s hometown where Sarah Palin will be the headlining act.

Long one of the nation’s least popular governors Gibbons’ first term has been marked by a nasty and very public divorce (and 15 years of celibacy, apparently).  In a state struggling to regain it’s economic footing, Gibbons is facing a very credible primary challenge from former federal judge Brian Sandoval. He’s have trouble gaining traction and it’s widely assumed the only way he wins the nomination is by veering to the hard right.

Eric Herzik, political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno, said Gibbons’ approach makes sense, given his underdog candidacy.

“Gibbons has very little money, and large donors certainly aren’t flocking to his cause,” Herzik said. “So he’s going after small donors. And the free media he’ll get out of this is worth as much as $250 he might get out of a small donor.

“This is less about money than about aligning with the tea party movement,” Herzik said.

And $250 to see Sarah is a bargain.


Battle of the Billionaires, Rd 1

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The two Silicon Valley Republican gubernatorial candidates, Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman, square off in a Town Hall-style debate in Costa Mesa, CA this evening. The New Majority California – a nonprofit organization promoting fiscally conservative and socially inclusive views – is sponsoring the debate, which will run approximately an hour, starting at 5:30 PM PDT. The format will include questions submitted from the Internet (you can do that here).

More particulars:

The format will be a town hall setting, open stage with no podiums and handheld microphones. The audience will include New Majority members as well as representatives from Republican Party organizations, business groups, media representatives, and other guests. The debate will be open to the public and media via the Internet.

Questions will be submitted by the public via the web in advance for the moderator to review/combine and articulate, but will not be viewed by New Majority members or staff nor given to the candidates ahead of time. To submit a question, click here.

The Debate will be broken into 3 major categories:

(1) budget/taxes/government spending;
(2) Jobs and the Economy;
(3) Planning for California’s future.There is a strict time limit with a clock on stage – each candidate will be given 2 minutes to answer the question and 1-minute rebuttals. Each candidate will be given a 3-minute closing statement.

The SacBee will be live-streaming the event at

Categories : California, Debates
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Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, a popular two term Democrat has decided he won’t challenge the state’s term limit law and run for a third term.

Democrats had been waiting on the sidelines as “Governor Dave” contemplated another campaign. Three Republicans, former US Attorney Matt Mead, state auditor Rita Meyer, and former state legislator Ron Micheli are already vying for their party’s nomination. In a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1, the GOP nominee is likely to be an overwhelming favorite to win in November.

Categories : Wyoming
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As all the eyes of Texas pivot from the expensive yet anti-climactic “Clash of the Titans” primary between Hutchison and Perry, Rasmussen provides a first glimpse of the state of play for the general election. Perry, long-considered the weaker of the two as a November candidate, holds a small (considering the overwhelming Republican strength in the Lone Star State) lead over former Houston Mayor Bill White, the Democratic nominee.

Texas General Election





Rick Perry (R)





Bill White (D)










Not Sure





White has crept closer to Perry in the first months of the year. It’s a long slog through the summer and fall to Election Day in November, but it appears the Democrats may actually have a competitive candidate with a reasonable chance of recapturing the Austin Governor’s Mansion.

Rasmussen also looked at whether Texans thought Perry’s vanquished primary opponent, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison should reconsider her oft-stated, yet long-delayed promise to resign her US Senate seat. While 39% said she should follow through with her original decision, 30% thought she should not only stay put but consider running for re-election in 2012.

Categories : Polls, Texas
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With aides abandoning David Paterson’s scandal-ridden administration and the governor himself “lawyering up” (any casual fan of “CSI” or “Law & Order” knows what that means), it’s becoming less and less likely his administration will survive through it’s scheduled ending next January.

The departure of his communications director marks the third high-ranking Paterson aide to leave over the inquiry into the governor’s role in a domestic violence case concerning one of his closest confidantes. The evaporation of the governor’s base of supporters continues unabated.

Mr. Kauffmann’s resignation came as Mr. Paterson sought the help of a prominent criminal defense lawyer, Theodore V. Wells Jr. of the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and as new information emerged indicating that the governor’s contact with Ms. Booker had been more extensive than previously reported.

At the same time, Democratic leaders continued to debate whether Mr. Paterson should remain in office, with signs of unease surfacing among black political leaders, who have been among his strongest allies.

Will Paterson continue to hang on – like South Carolina’s Mark Sanford – or will he step aside?  Can he reasonably make the case that his administration is capable of handling the serious financial issues facing the state while the circus of scandal and inquiry swirls around them?

Categories : New York, Open Seats
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Deal Delays Departure

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After announcing his intention to resign from Congress to focus full-time on his gubernatorial bid, Georgia Republican Nathan Deal has decided to stick around Capitol Hill to do prevent the passage of health care reform, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway. The congressman explains in his press release:

“Just two days after I announced my intentions to leave Congress, the majority party stepped up the schedule for the proposed health care bill. Having been deeply involved in all health care legislation for the past decade, I knew it was important to stay and vote down this bill….

“Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama’s aggressive push for a quick vote on ‘Obama-Care,’ it was clear that I must stay in Congress and continue to fight against the most liberal health care agenda ever proposed.”

As Galloway notes, there was significant pressure from the House GOP leadership for Deal to stay through the last health care votes, despite the possibility that staying longer might revive the ethics investigation into Deal’s alleged misuse of power to protect his private business interests.

Galloway also explains how a later departure could help Deal in his gubernatorial quest, as a special election to fill Deal’s seat most likely would now coincide with the July primary election, theoretically elevating voter turnout in Deal’s home base as he tries to catch front-runner John Oxendine for the GOP nomination.

Categories : Georgia
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Will She Stay Or Will She Go?

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With the Texas Showdown finally coming to a conclusion on Tuesday (or maybe six weeks from now if a run-off becomes necessary), it appears Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is having second thoughts about her long-delayed promise to leave the Senate. During an interview on Friday, she again delayed her departure date, telling  a local radio talk show host she plans to stay.

“I have said I am going to leave the Senate. It’s the best thing for Texas for me to leave the Senate, sometime this year before the November elections,” she told WBAP-AM (820) talk radio host Mark Davis. “I’m going to stay and fight health care. I promised that, so that’s my first commitment, and I will do that.”

At one point Lone Star politicos were anticipating a 2009 departure, but it appears Kay doesn’t really want to say goodbye to DC. Or perhaps it’s the looming rejection  by GOP primary voters that’s causing her to rethink her desire to return home?

Categories : GOP Civil War, Texas
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