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 June, 2010


Guber Quick Hits, Wed 6/30/10

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Georgia: Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine may be on the ethics hot seat next week now that a five-month vacancy on the Georgia Ethics Commission has been filled.

Illinois: GOP guber nominee Bill Brady backed away from his idea to lower the state’s minimum wage but proposed eliminating state matching contributions to state worker’s employee 401(k)s.

Massachusetts: Say whatever you want about Deval Patrick’s politics, but you can’t deny he’s a successful multi-tasker who apparently doesn’t suffer from writer’s block. He’s met his publisher’s deadline for his upcoming “inspirational memoir” about his life.

New Mexico: GOP guber nominee Susana Martinez has reprimanded a prosecutor in her Las Cruces District Attorney’s office for sending an anti-immigrant joke from a state e-mail account. Democrat Diane Denish says she would go further and fire the offending employee.

New York: Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long is furious with the state GOP’s continued efforts to create an additional line on the ballot for the Republican Party’s statewide candidates.

Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon (and guber nominee) has a web ad up using Gov. Gary Herbert’s own words about “a lot of good news out there” on the economy against him.

Categories : AdMonitor, Utah
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Guber Quick Hits, Tues 6/29/10

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California: Democrat Jerry Brown says he’s accepted invites to participate in ten debates and candidate forums before the Nov. 2 general election. Thus far, Republican Meg Whitman has agreed to appear at an NBC-sponsored debate at Dominican University.

Maryland: Republican Bob Ehrlich plans to announce his running mate this week via Facebook.

Vermont: Doug Racine picked up another endorsement in his gubernatorial bid. The Vermont League of Conservation Voters unanimously backed Racine’s candidacy over the five other guber hopefuls.

Local politicos often get the blame when basic government services get disrupted, even if they have little or no control over the circumstances that led to the failure. Mayoral and gubernatorial elections can turn on these ‘quality of life concerns.’ A failure to quickly and efficiently remove snow, collect the garbage or make commuter trains run on time can end a political career.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley knows this and senses a potential political headache growing because of declining service on the MARC commuter trains serving Baltimore and DC workers, who have been plagued by extensive delays in recent weeks.

To show he “feels” commuter pain, O’Malley boarded a train to apologize face-to-face with commuters who were stranded for more than two hours early last week in 100-degree temperatures.

Riders on Thursday complained to O’Malley about the heat on the train on Monday, the dearth of restrooms and a lack of water. Some said they were told if they got off the train they would not be allowed to get back on.

O’Malley has received a letter of apology from the head of Amtrak, which provides train crews and maintenance to the Maryland Transit Administration under a $40 million annual contract. Amtrak also owns the tracks where Monday’s incident occurred.

“There were people so concerned and so focused on figuring out a piece of the mechanical puzzle that they lost sight of the customers,” O’Malley said.

“My goal is to let the citizens know that this kind of service failure is unacceptable. There will be mechanical breakdowns from time to time, but we want to do a better job of starting communication between the command center in Philadelphia (and the operators).”

Bob Ehrlich’s campaign seized upon the incident as a political opportunity. If anyone from the governor’s office had bothered to attend MARC’s advisory council meetings  O’Malley would’ve been aware of riders’ concerns about declining service, overcrowded trains and limited parking, the Erhlich team argued.

Categories : Maryland
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RI: Caprio Gets Dems’ Endorsement

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General Treasurer Frank Caprio pulled off a minor upset at last night’s RI Democratic State Committee meeting  by beating AG Patrick Lynch who, along with his brother Bill have dominated Ocean State Democratic politics for a decade. Bill also failed to secure the delegates’ endorsement in his race for the 1st District Congressional seat.

Relishing the moment, a Caprio spokesman said: “Frank Caprio came into this race running against a man whose family has led the state party for over a decade … Tonight is a huge victory, and an important sign that the Democratic Party is listening to Rhode Islanders, and is supporting a candidate who’s focused on leading this state in a new direction.”

Caprio is viewed as the less progressive candidate in the race and appears to be the stronger general election candidate according to the few public polls of potential November matchups.

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Guber Quick Hits, Mon, 6/28/10

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California: If you are a MEGaWoman, Megabucks wants you to proudly display her campaign’s poppy decals.

Colorado: GOP guber wannabe Scott McInnis has won the endorsements of 36 county sheriffs.

Connecticut: Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland is filling in on local talk radio over the Fourth of July holiday. Will it be long before he joins another disgraced former governor, Eliot Spitzer with his own show?

Florida: Add another establishment figure to Bill McCollum’s effort to circle the GOP wagons as his campaign defends against the Rick Scott onslaught. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will endorse the embattled former Clinton impeachment manager today.

Georgia: Is Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer trying to challenge Sarah Palin as a GOP queenmaker? She’s endorsing fellow gubernatorial wannabe Karen Handel in Georgia’s GOP primary saying she believes Handel will “fight to pass similar illegal immigration laws in Georgia.”

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich abandoned his wife this weekend. She’s going solo on their Saturday morning radio program as he heads off for his gubernatorial campaign. A court had ruled that staying on the radio would’ve been an in-kind campaign contribution if he continued hosting the show after he formally filed campaign papers. With the July 6th deadline just around the corner, the former (and wannabe future) governor signed off at the end of this week’s show.

Minnesota: Rumors are circulating in the Gopher State about GOP voters crossing over party lines to participate in the Independence Party primary. The absence of a primary contest in the guber race and the desire to torpedo former GOP fixture Tom Horner’s Independent Party bid are fueling the talk.

Pennsylvania: Term-limited Gov. Ed Rendell, a mainstay of Keystone State politics for over three decades, tells the Harrisburg Patriot-News he’s ready to leave office and put the media scrutiny behind him. The recent media frenzy over a rumored affair with a former beauty queen seems to have been the final straw.

South Dakota: Scott Heidepriem’s Light Guv pick, businessman Ben Arndt has formally switched his party registration from Republican to Democrat to assure the ticket will be certified for the November ballot. Republicans had threatened to go to court to block the Heidepriem/Arndt ticket.


Guber Quick Hits, Sun 6/27/10

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Connecticut: Larry DeNardis, a former congressman who ran for the GOP guber nod this year, endorsed Tom Foley in his contest against Oz Griebel and Michael Fedele.

Florida: The Florida Medical Association passed over former health care exec Rick Scott and endorsed Bill McCollum in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Georgia: Millionaire outsider Ray Boyd, who had been denied entry into the GOP gubernatorial primary after refusing to take the party’s loyalty oath, has abandoned his independent guber bid.

Maine: A conservative website questions whether independent candidate Eliot Cutler’s ties to Maine are sufficient to become governor.

Rhode Island: Despite raising over $2.1 million for his gubernatorial bid, Democratic candidate Frank Caprio received a favorable decision from the state’s Elections Board opening the possibility he could receive public matching funds. His Democratic rival Patrick Lynch called the decision “ludicrous.”

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry has declared today a “Day of Prayer in Texas for the Gulf Coast.”

Texas II: At their state convention over the weekend, Lone Star Democrats decided to keep their confusing and controversial “Texas Two-Step” presidential nominating process.

Vermont: Progressive Party chair Martha Abbott is running for governor to lose. She aims to win the party’s nomination on Aug. 24 and then withdraw to make sure a progressive candidate doesn’t siphon votes from the Democratic nominee.

Over the weekend, the Idaho state Republican convention adopted a party platform that advocated a loyalty oath and a call for repeal of the 17th Amendment which provided for the direct election of US Senators.

Why, you may ask would they want to turn back the clock a century and return to a system that was fraught with patronage and back-room deals?

Proponents of repeal, including many gathered at the GOP convention, believe that making senators accountable to state legislatures would end runaway federal spending and give states a say in the affairs of the federal government.

It’s lost on me why these conservatives would put their faith in the state legislature over their faith in the individual voter.

Categories : Idaho
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Guber Quick Hits, Sat 6/26/10

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Alaska: Republican guber wannabe Bill Walker is requesting files for records related to the state’s natural gas pipeline open season, a huge economic issue dominating Alaskan politics. Walker believes Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration should be more transparent about the process, the outcome of which will affect Alaskans for generations to come.

Arizona: Just days after becoming a member of the NRA’s executive committee, GOP guber wannabe Buz Mills was passed over as the gun lobby endorsed incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer for re-election.

California: Big redistricting battle looms this fall, as Golden State voters will be asked to weigh in in two competing redistricting ballot initiatives. One seeks to expand 2008′s Proposition 11 to include congressional redistricting. The other seeks to undo the commission created by Prop 11.

Illinois: Scott Lee Cohen’s 133,000 signatures to get on the ballot as an independent guber wannabe may not be challenged by Pat Quinn or the Democrats, but two cases currently in the courts could kick him off the ballot prior to the September certification of the final ballot by the State Board of Elections.

Kansas: In a preemptive move dismissing a nod he probably had little chance of getting, Democrat Tom Holland has told the state Chamber of Commerce he doesn’t want their support, saying “The priorities and actions of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce have become highly partisan and detrimental to the development of our state’s economy.”

Maine: Independent candidate Eliot Cutler leads the pack of privately finance gubernatorial candidates having raised over $700,000.

New York: Rick Lazio wants the Empire State to say good-bye to Hollywood, or at least Dem plans to expand movie industry tax breaks.

Oregon: Bucking the trend of Attorneys General filing suit against the new health care legislation, the Beaver State’s AG wants to file an amicus brief in favor of the federal government’s position in the healthcare lawsuit.

South Carolina: The SC Chamber of Commerce endorsement of Democrat Vincent Sheheen is providing hope to Palmetto State Dems they might derail Nikki Haley.

Texas: Public Policy Polling shows Kay Bailey Hutchison’s approval dropping from 58% to 37% over the past 16 months. How much of that is due to the beating she took from Rick Perry during their gubernatorial primary contest and how much of that is simply the national wave of disgust at DC politicians is difficult to determine. But if she does change her mind (again) and decide to run for another Senate term, she may be in for a tough campaign.

Texas Democrats and their allies have hit upon a theme they believe can undercut Rick Perry’s re-election effort. They’re portraying the  governor as an out-of-touch elitist and part-time governor.

A new ad from the Back to Basics PAC hammers the message yet again, contrasting his willingness to impose budget cuts on state programs with his profligate spending on his luxurious lifestyle.

The ad concludes with “Rick Perry, he’ll cut the budget for kids, but not his wine list.”

Categories : AdMonitor, Texas
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