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

800px-governors_by_party

Archive for May, 2010

May
31

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 5/31/10

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Arizona: Guber hopeful and state Treasurer Dean Martin doesn’t want to see Jan Brewer run away with the GOP nod on the back of her immigration crackdown. He’s trying to gain some of the anti-immigrant furor by announcing a new fund to raise money from private citizens to build a Border Fence along Arizona’s border.

California: The Los Angeles Times points out that no matter what they say, the Silicon Kids sound an awful lot like the man they want to replace in Sacramento.

Colorado: Insurgent Republican guber wannabe (and recently endorsed by the GOP assembly) Dan Maes has taken Rand Paul a step further. He’s promising to refuse all federal money if elected governor. Yup, that’s the way to win over swing voters.

Colorado II: GOP establishment-backed guber hopeful Scott McInnis, meanwhile appears to be alienating some of the grassroots activists. His desperate groveling for the endorsement from the local 9.12 Project leaders smacks of desperation.

Florida: Rick Scott has swept into Florida’s GOP gubernatorial contest with the fury of a Cat 5 hurricane. He’s saturated the state’s airwaves with commercials and seen his poll numbers soar. At his first public appearance, it was clear he’s not going to be able to simply whitewash away his past, as a live audience of young Republicans was skeptical about his explanation regarding the fraud that took place while he was CEO of Columbia/HCA.

New Mexico: Allen Weh loans another $600K to campaign bringing the total investment he’s made in his effort to win tomorrow’s GOP gubernatorial primary to $1.6 million. It may be peanuts to what MegaBucks Whitman is spending in California, but there’s not even 2 million people living in the entire state.

Ohio: The RGA is running an ad that alludes to officials lying about an aborted “sting” of work-release inmates working at the Governor’s residence. In a sign that it may be hurting him poltically, Gov. Ted Strickland’s office recently announced the suspension of the program.

Pennsylvania: Fearful that a local “served drinks tax” levied by Dan Onorato in Allegheny County may spread across the state if he becomes governor, Keystone State restaurants are including a message about the “Onorato tax” on receipts warning customers about the Democrat’s agenda.

Dan Balz writes in today’s WaPo about the unprecedented volatility of the Republican primary electorate in California. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for MegaBucks Whitman and her Silicon Valley sidekick Steve Poizner.

Whitman’s lead was seen as insurmountable. Until it wasn’t.

After pulling within single digits in some polls, Poizner saw his momentum stall, only to watch Whitman gallop off with another huge lead, if the most recent polls are to be believe

The primary battle veered far off course, as far as the Whitman camp was concerned. Poizner, who had sat quietly on the sidelines as MegaBucks poured tens of millions into television advertising to blanket the state, successfully undermining her fragile support among conservatives with ads about immigration and her Wall Street ties.

He stirred the potent mixture bubbling in the populist Teapot and got results. Read More→

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May
31

CO: The (Regulation) Debate Goes On

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As the environmental catastrophe continues to spread across the Gulf of Mexico, Colorado Republicans have gotten themselves all indignant over Gov. Bill Ritter’s recent statements on oil and gas regulations. Ritter fought a politically costly battle (it was one of the factors that helped push his job approval numbers into the political netherworld last year) against the powerful energy industry in the Rocky Mountain State. He successfully passed stricter regulations and imposed greater government oversight of drilling in the state.

Republicans have charged the regulations have caused energy companies to abandon the state, leading to lost jobs and revenue and worsening the recession.

As the world watches in horror at the environmental and economic consequences of lax oversight ooze across the Gulf and through the Louisiana bayou, Ritter made the argument for increased regulation.

“People are going to have a much more difficult time criticizing these rules because we’re being good stewards of the environment. The BP spill in the Gulf is the exclamation point on what happens when stewardship wanes, when it goes away. We didn’t do that, we were stewards. And, yes, it was a fight with the industry but it was a fight worth having for us because I can feel comfortable that we’ve got the right permitting process in place.”

Republicans were outraged the governor would try to score political points from the disaster.

Guber hopeful Dan Maes got his libertarian panties (I mean principles), all riled up, decrying the Democrat’s efforts to protect the environment (and a huge part of Colorado’s tourism-heavy economy) from the heavy hand of the free market.

“It’s reprehensible for anyone to use this for political gain,” Maes said. “[The spill] shouldn’t have happened, its tragic, but for him to try to make political hay out of it is reprehensible. And the truth is, his regulations have literally chased the industry out of our state and the rig counts reflect that.”

And the beat goes on.

Categories : Colorado, Energy
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Rasmussen has their last pre-primary state of the race snapshot from the Land of Enchantment, where they see Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez pulling into a dead-heat in a potential November match-up against Democratic Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

Denish had held double-digit leads over all five Republican candidates when Rasmussen last looked at these match-ups in late March.  In early spring, it was former GOP Chair Allen Weh who posed the biggest threat to Denish’s quest to replace term-limited Bill Richardson in the Roundhouse. After a barrage of television ads touting her as tough on crime (and a “you betcha!” from Sarah Palin),  Martinez looks to be the strongest Republican in the crowded field.

 

 

New Mexico Gubernatorial Match-ups 

DianeDenish (D) vs. The Republican candidates

 
 

Martinez (R)

  42% (32)

     plus 10

Domenici (R)

30% (35)

minus 5

 

Denish (D)

43% (51)

    minus 8

Denish (D)

47% (52)

minus 5

 

Some other

3% (7)

 

Some other

15% (6)

6%

 

Not sure

12% (10)

 

Not sure

9% (6)

6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weh (R)

39% (35)

plus 5

Arnold-Jones (R)

31% (30)

plus 1

 

Denish (D)

45% (45)

even

Denish (D)

45% (52)

minus 7

 

Some other

9% (7)

 

Some other

11% (6)

 

 

Not sure

7% (13)

 

Not sure

13% (12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turner (R)

31% (34)

minus 3

       

Denish (D)

47% (43)

plus 4

       

Some other

11% (7)

 

       

Not sure

11% (16)

 

       


Read More→

Categories : New Mexico, Polls
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May
31

NY: GOP’s State of Confusion

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If  you haven’t heard, the New York legislature is a dysfunctional mess. Empire State voters are embarrassed, frustrated and angry over the partisan circus that has produced seemingly endless gridlock in Albany.

This week, the Republicans gather to nominate their gubernatorial choice, ostensibly the person who they believe will “fix the mess” in the state capital. But what voters are likely to see won’t inspire confidence.  But if it’s intrigue they’re looking for, there’s likely to be plenty.

Politico reports on rumors of a possible coup against busybody party chairman Ed Cox, although who might replace him isn’t exactly clear. His effort to deny Rick Lazio the guber nod by luring Long Island Democrat Steve Levy into the GOP’s big tent has turned into a colossal strategic blunder. Levy can’t find a Light Guv dance partner, nor is it certain he can even get himself on the ballot.

Just last week Myers Mermel (wasn’t he Roger Rabbit’s long lost uncle?) jumped into the race, which already included mercurial and controversial wealthy Upstate businessman Carl Paladino. Politico reports that party leaders expressed dismay with Cox on a recent conference call.

The party’s vice chairs – there are ten of them – held a conference call over the weekend with Cox, during which many of them expressed displeasure and confusion over the entrance of Myers Mermel, a fourth gubernatorial hopeful, into the race at the last minute. Cox himself sounded weary on the call, insiders said.

Cox has said he had nothing to do with Mermel getting in, although he revealed the candidacy to reporters before the candidate himself would confirm it.

Many Republican insiders privately say they find the timing of the businessman’s move, to drop his stand-alone LG bid and seek the top job just as the chairman’s recruited pick, Steve Levy, seemed to be stalled, questionable.

As the GOP’s circus comes to town, it makes Andrew Cuomo look like the only one capable of fixing the mess in Albany.

Categories : GOP Civil War, New York
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May
31

TX: Being Rick Perry

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Some light-hearted humor, starring Governor Good Hair.

Categories : Texas
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May
30

IA: The GOP’s Existential Crisis

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The Des Moines Register blog has a post up asking, “Who will win battle for GOP soul?

It’s a fascinating look at the power struggle between the discordant elements vying for control of the Republican agenda in the crucial, first-in-the-nation presidential nominating state. The outcome of the gubernatorial primary contest may reveal whether or not we are on the cusp of a Republican renaissance and, if so, what might a GOP-led future look like?

Their choice will send a message about the direction they seek for their party: Should it be a big-tent organization that reaches out to independents and Democrats, or a base-pleasing model of social conservative purity? The bigger question won’t be answered until Nov. 2: Will adherents of each vision coalesce around a common candidate – or stay home?

Many high-ranking Republicans would rather not talk about this battle for the soul of the Iowa GOP. They insist Republicans will support their nominee, whether it’s presumed front-runner former Gov. Terry Branstad, or his top challenger, social conservative darling Bob Vander Plaats, and that all this is the healthy airing of views during a primary.

While many outsiders look at Branstad as a formidable favorite in November (most surveys show he would be favored over Culver), unifying the diverse blocs in the state GOP may not prove all that easy for the former governor.  Iowa’s social conservatives represent a powerful bloc within the state GOP and many of them simply don’t view Branstad as conservative enough. Led by the Iowa Family PAC, conservatives have gone a step further than simply endorsing Vander Plaats. They’ve promised to withhold their support from Branstad if he winds up the party’s nominee.

Bryan English, spokesman for Iowa Family PAC, views the primary as a watershed moment for Iowa Republicans.

“This primary is about so much more than any one issue. This primary is about the overarching philosophy that will lead us into the fall of 2010 and will set the stage for the presidential caucuses of 2012,” he said. “I think the people of Iowa will send Washington a message that we’re tired of the party establishment on both sides of aisle force-feeding us the same candidates year after year.”

Further complicating Branstad’s general election chances is the Tea Party’s emergence. Many in the anti-establishment grassroots view Branstad as part of the problem, not the solution.

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Former Democrat Tim Cahill continued his lurch to the extreme right fringe this past week when he accused Gov Deval Patrick of “pandering” to Muslims after meeting with leaders of the Muslim community last weekend.

In a statement clearly influenced by the McCain staffers on his campaign team, Cahill used the recent attempted car bombing in Times Square to justify demonizing Muslims and accuse Patrick of coddling terrorists.

Governor Patrick should stop playing politics with terrorism and focus on protecting all the citizens of this Commonwealth. It’s time for all of us to come together as Americans to prevent a tragedy before it occurs.

The overwhelming majority of Muslim-Americans are peaceable people who love this land, but the bottom line is, someone in Boston knew about this before it happened and didn’t speak up. That has to change.
There have been three attempted terrorist attacks on American soil in the last six months.  If, God forbid, one of these attacks is ever successful, the grief and suffering that follows will visit us all without discrimination as to ethnicity or religion.
Now is the time for Governor Patrick to look radical Islamic terrorism full in the face, call it what it is, and make sure that federal law enforcement officials who are tracking the Times Square case give our local law enforcement the information they have in real time.

Just to make sure he checked off all of the right-wing xenophobic boxes in the GOP campaign handbook, Cahill also made sure to throw in a gratuitous “Secure the Borders!” rant, railing against the Bay State’s refusal to embrace Arizona’s tough new immigration law.

Somewhere in his undisclosed location, Dick Cheney is sneering in pleasure at good ol’Timmy Boy!

May
30

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 5/30/10

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Arizona: In a move that took Attorney General Terry Goddard by surprise, the former Maricopa County Attorney publicly announced Goddard was not a target of an investigation into a 2006 plea agreement with former state Treasurer David Peterson. The former prosecutor wanted to remove any suspicion that may have been hanging over Goddard’s run for governor. Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office refuted the statement, saying Goddard and other employees remained targets of the probe, which is now under review by the US Department of Justice’s Office of Public Integrity.

Connecticut: Dan Malloy, trailing Ned Lamont in the polls and unable to match the self-financing Greenwich millionaire’s deep pockets, has challenged his fellow Democrat to 17 debates. That’s one for every city or town that has daily newspaper in the Nutmeg State. That’s also more than one a week before the August 10th primary.

Hawaii: In perhaps the least surprising candidate announcement since last week when Andrew Cuomo jumped into the NY race, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann finally made it official. He’s running for the Democratic guber nomination against old rival Neil Abercrombie.

Idaho: If Butch Otter’s underwhelming victory over perennial candidate Rex Rammell brought hope to Democrat Keith Allred’s campaign, the news that Rammell won’t support the incumbent in November must have them dreaming of an upset. Their impressive fundraising pace means they’ll have the ability to go toe-to-toe with Otter financially.

Maryland: Meet Bob Ehrlich’s version of Joe the Plumber, Steve Kolbe. Perhaps aware of just how silly this story is, the Ehrlich campaign sought to distance themselves from the story while embracing it at the same time.

With cooked up press events dominating all levels of politics, Ehrlich was quick to point out that his campaign did not “manufacture” this one. “This event just occurred,” he said. This is unscheduled politics.”

Michigan I: Rep. Pete Hoekstra lifted one of John McCain’s (failed) talking points from the 2008 presidential campaign.

Michigan II: GOP candidate Rick Snyder is on the campaign trail touting  his nerdy version of “tough love” to Michigan business groups. It’s the end of the world as they know it.

Minnesota: DFLer Matt Entenza is the final major party guber hopeful to make his Light Guv running mate selection. He’s shaking up the race by going outside the political sphere and naming former TV  news anchor Robyne Robinson as his political dance partner.

New Mexico: Susana Martinez has received substantial backing (to the tune of $450,000) from a Swift Boat funder and his wife.

South Carolina: In the unfolding Nikki Haley “He said, she said” saga it’s getting harder to believe she’s telling the whole truth. Blogger Chris Folks has released phone records showing 600 phone calls between the two. The most suspicious – late at night, with some lasting until dawn – occurred in the summer of ’07.

South Dakota: Tea Party candidate Gordon Howie and his wife have received over $300K in farm subsidies over the past fifteen years. What was that about the evils of big government? I could see how his Tea Party supporters might have overlooked his failure to pay nearly $60K in property taxes. Starving the beast is one thing. Suckling from it is quite another.

Tennessee: GOP guber hopeful Zach Wamp does his best Schwarzenegger impersonation, pumps up the testosterone, and warns Tennessee voters to not elect a “sissy wannabe as your next governor.”

May
30

OR: Independence for Sale

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Oregon Democrats have taken the unusual step of filing a complaint against the Independent Party of Oregon, claiming a small group of insiders controls the party’s nominating process, calling into question the party’s legitimacy. Sensing an invigorated Independent Party could hurt them more than the GOP in the Beaver State, Democrats are trying to prevent the party from swinging the governor’s race to the Republicans in November.

The Dems may have their “super delegate” kingmakers, but this party allegedly went much further. A trio of insiders may have crossed the line and stand accused of basically putting their party’s endorsement up for sale.

For the first time Oregon will allow candidates to appear on multiple party lines on this November’s ballot. As a result, candidates are clamoring to get the Independents’ nod, hoping to gain an electoral boost in this anti-establishment year.

As many as 60 candidates, including Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Kitzhaber, have expressed interest in the Independent Party nomination, thinking that adding the “Independent” label to their names on the ballot would appeal to voters alienated from the major political parties. Many voters who are unaffiliated call themselves independent, but have no connection to the Independent Party.

Independent Party leaders had hoped to boost their party’s profile this year by raising money to hold an Internet-based primary open to the party’s 54,600 registered voters.

But last week, (Secretary of State Kate) Brown sent a “cease-and-desist” letter to the Independent Party warning that it was in danger of breaking the law because of the way it was soliciting donations from candidates seeking the Independent nomination. State law forbids offering such things as a party nomination in exchange for money.

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