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


Those Who Forget History…

By · Apr, 09 2010

Are doomed to repeat it, or so the saying goes.

When Republican Governor Pete Wilson led the fight to approve Prop 187, the infamous anti-immigrant initiative supported by a narrow majority of voters (and later overturned by the courts prior to it being implemented) in 1994, they alienated the Golden State’s fastest growing, yet-immature voting bloc. Essentially, they doomed themselves into demographic oblivion, handing the keys to power in the nation’s largest state (and it’s enormous pile of electoral votes in presidential elections) to Democrats. Their only meaningful statewide victory since required a “moderate” movie-star coming to power in an unprecedented recall effort after Enron-created rolling brownouts enraged voters enough to throw Democrat Gray Davis from office.

In the 16 years since Republicans fanned the flames of intolerance and alienated Latinos for a generation, GOP gubernatorial wannabe Steve Poizner, who trails gazillionaire Meg Whitman in primary polls by a whopping 40-50 points has decided to appeal to right wing fringe by suggesting Prop 187 should be revived.

As the LA Times recently observed, Poizner’s attacks on Whitman’s comments she favored a “pathway to legalization” and his TV ad focusing on immigration not only ignores history, but is an incomprehensible reading of the current state of the California electorate.

A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California showed that views on illegal immigration are highly partisan, but there are also indications of a live-and-let-live approach even among opponents.

Overall, about two-thirds of Democrats said immigrants benefit the state, a view shared by more than half of independent voters. More than two-thirds of Republicans said immigrants were more of a burden than a benefit.

Still, 49% of Republicans said illegal immigrants who have been living and working in California for two years should be allowed to keep their jobs and eventually become legal residents.

And this: Even as economic conditions have worsened, Californians haven’t moved illegal immigration up the ladder of issues they want politicians to solve.

As recently as three years ago, 19% of Californians saw it as the most important issue facing the state, ahead of all other subjects. The Public Policy Institute’s survey last week showed that even among Republicans, only 5% now consider immigration a top issue, well down on the list. (Among Democrats, it was even lower).

The likely beneficiary of Poizner’s hard tack to the right on an issue unimportant to the vast majority of California voters not only further marginalizes his seemingly doomed candidacy, it allows Whitman to brand herself as the moderate in the race.

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