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 July, 2010


Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 7/30/10

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Florida: President Obama will be headlining an August 18th fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel. Unlike in Georgia where Democratic guber nominee Roy Barnes is keeping his distance from the president when he’s in Atlanta this Monday, Alex Sink will be on the stage with the president, who will be in South Florida after spending some vacay time with the First Family on the Gulf Coast.

Kentucky: Democrat Steve Beshear has his first Republican challenger of the 2011 campaign. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett is hoping to win Tea Party support and is a ardent supporter of charter schools.

Nevada: Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who once toyed with running for governor as an independent himself, has chosen to remain silent about whether he supports Republican Brian Sandoval or Democrat Rory (the younger) Reid for governor, despite endorsing Harry (the Elder) Reid in the state’s mega-wattage Senate race.

Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland is another Democrat embracing the president on the campaign trail, as he will be appearing with the president when he delivers a speech on the economy and headlines an August 18th fundraiser.

Wisconsin: GOP guber wannabes Scott Walker and Mark Neumann will be meeting in at least two debates in August before the September primary.


MI: The Politics of Bailouts

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President Obama visited Detroit today in an effort to reshape the public perception about one of his administration’s most contentious policies – the government takeover of Chrysler and GM.

Is it a coincidence that he’s in the state the weekend before the state’s voters go to the polls in next Tuesday’s primary? The open seat governor’s mansion has been rated as a prime Republican pick-up opportunity given the state’s economic “Lost Decade,” where the once-proud industrial behemoth had suffered the wrenching decline of its manufacturing sector. Could the president’s use of the bully pulpit change that calculus?

On the stump he’s trumpeting the dramatic turnaround of the once-teetering auto giants – a message of hope unfamiliar to Michiganders who’ve grown accustomed to depressing economic news over the past decade. The state no longer tops the nation in unemployment rate and the auto industry is hiring new employees – and even working through the traditional summer shutdown period.

A forceful case can be made that the president’s leadership has saved the auto industry (and the state of Michigan) from a prolonged depression. If the president can explain how this is a validation of Democratic economic philosophy of strategic and limited intervention that helped the middle class he may rewrite the narrative in the Michigan gubernatorial contest.

Categories : Michigan
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At least that’s the message from Democrat Tom Barrett’s latest campaign ad.

While southeastern Wisconsin was deluged by devastating summer flooding, Mayor Tom Barrett was on the scene overseeing response efforts. His potential Republican gubernatorial rival, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker was MIA, campaigning in other parts of the Badger State.

The ad closes with the commentary “there’s more to being county executive, there’s more to being governor than ‘phoning it in.’”

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Wisconsin
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Pollapalooza Thursday

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Alabama: The gang over at RazzleDazzle Reports takes their first post-run-off look at the Alabama guber contest between Republican Robert Bentley and Democrat Ron Sparks and finds the Bentley with an imposing 20-point lead. (Polling conducted 7/22, 500 AL Likely Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

California: Jerry Brown’s lead over Meg Whitman in the Golden State gubernatorial contest has been cut in half since May when he held a 12-point advantage.  Neither candidate is particularly well-liked, according to Public Policy Polling’s latest numbers. From the pollster’s blog:

Brown’s lead is in no way a reflection that he is particularly popular or well liked by California voters. Only 41% have a favorable opinion of him, while 43% view him in a negative light. Republicans dislike him (74%) more than Democrats like him (just 63%) and independents see him unfavorably by a 40/44 margin.

Brown’s numbers certainly continue to look good compared to Whitman’s though. Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of her and 50% see her unfavorably. Just like Brown, voters across party lines dislike her (66%) more than voters within her own party (59%) like her. What’s most remarkable in Whitman’s numbers though is how independents feel about her. A whooping 61% say they have an unfavorable opinion to only 21% who see her positively.

Another nugget from the poll: a majority (52%) feel there should be a limit to how much money a candidate can contribute to their own campaign. Californians have a long history of rejecting wealthy self-funders who try to buy Senate seats or the Governor’s mansion. Will eMeg be added to the list? (Polling conducted 7/23-25, 614 CA voters, MoE +/- 3.95%)

Florida: Rick Scott seems on the verge of successfully buying the GOP gubernatorial nod, according to the latest survey from Quinnipiac. He leads the one-time front-runner (and establishment backed) AG Bill McCollum by a 43-32% margin. The lead is similar to the what the Q-Poll measured in early June but both Republicans have seen their unfavorable numbers rocket up (McCollum up from 19% to 34% and Scott up from 12% to 26%, meaning the biggest beneficiary may be Democrat Alex Sink. (Polling conducted 7/22-27, 760 Likely FL GOP Voters, MoE +/- 3.6%)

Nevada: The gang over at Razzmattaz Reports has the shocker of the day. Rory (reid) seems to have gained some traction in his gubernatorial matchup against former federal Judge Brian Sandoval. While the Republican still has a double-digit lead (50-40%), it’s much smaller than the 21-point margin the same outfit found only a month ago. Could Sharron Angle be a drag on the entire GOP ticket in the Silver State? (Polling conducted 7/27/10, 750 Likely NV GOP Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

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Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/29/10

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California: Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t beat the man he replaced seven years ago, according to new numbers from Public Policy Polling.

Colorado: Embattled GOP guber wannabe Dan Maes is denying that he’s dropping out of the race, as robocalls targeting his campaign supporters claim.

Florida: Embattled GOP guber wannabe Bill McCollum announced yesterday that the Florida Chamber of Commerce set precedent by backing his gubernatorial campaign.

Iowa: GOP guber wannabe Terry Branstad’s campaign Winnebago is a campaign No No!

Minnesota: Does threatening to kill  your estranged wife kill a political career these days?

New York: Rick Lazio’s floundering gubernatorial campaign may face senior staff departures.

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DNC Places it’s Guber Markers

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According to Politico’s Morning Score, the DNC has dispersed funds to state committees to be used in “targeted governor’s races:”

The DNC made a new wave of cash transfers to other Democratic committees, giving $833,333 each to the DSCC and DCCC, as well as $400,000 to the Florida Democratic Party, $333,333 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and $100,000 to the Maryland Democratic Party, a Democratic official said. That’s a total of $2.5 million in outlays, with the state party donations targeted at the governor’s races in those states. The DNC’s cash disbursements so far come to $1.5 million for the DSCC, $1.5 million for the DCCC and $1.5 million to state committees.

That’s a pretty heavy investment in Alex Sink, whose political fortunes are rising as the circus formerly known as the RPOF disintegrates into leaderless chaos.

Holding onto the Keystone State Governor’s Mansion is critical to Democrats in the coming decade, as Pennsylvania’s redistricting could be as tumultuous as last time around.

As far as Maryland, is the party hoping that an early infusion of money for O’Malley can bolster him against Erhlich? They certainly don’t want to spend too much money here defending what would be an easy hold in practically any other year.

They’re off and running in the Georgia guber run-off and Karen Handel’s campaign isn’t holding any punches in its first TeeVee commercial.

She hits hard and the timing couldn’t be better. The news that her opponent’s auto salvage business has been the focus of a federal grand jury reinforces one of the central message of her ad, Nathan Deal is “a corrupt relic of Washington, DC.”

One wonders about the wisdom of using Sarah Palin’s endorsement at this stage, considering how pollsters are showing Palin-endorsed candidates in California and New Hampshire struggling with independents in general election matchups. Does Handel think a hug from Sarah won’t be as toxic to Southern candidates in the fall?

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Georgia
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Guber Quick Hits, Wed 7/28/10

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California: Less than a month after ending furloughs for state workers, the Governator is bringing them back saying they’re here to stay until there’s a budget deal, which is now 28 days late.

Kentucky: Bluegrass State voters won’t be voting for governor until 2011, but Republicans are jockeying for position to take on Democrat Steve Beshear despite his impressive $2 million campaign warchest.

Maine: A minor skirmish has broken out over comments Republican Paul LePage made that were interpreted as a slam on Democratic nominee Libby Mitchell’s age.

Oklahoma: Could a last-minute endorsement by legendary football coach Barry Switzer have powered Lt. Gov. Jari Askins’ surprising victory over front-runner Drew Edmondson in the Democratic primary?

South Carolina: Democrat Vincent Sheheen is beefing up his campaign team as he ramps up his effort to defeat the Palmetto Mama Grizzly, Nikki Haley.

Tennessee: As one of his opponents walks back talk of secession and another tries to explain what he meant when he called Islam a “cult,” Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announces a long slate of elected officials from across Tennessee who are supporting his gubernatorial run. He’s the best-financed and leading in all the polls – will sanity prevail on election day?

An independent group is on the air slamming GOP nominee Tom Emmer on the issue of drunk driving.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota is running a commercial of a mother talking about the loss of her son and the outrage she feels over Emmer’s two DWI arrests and his attempt to reduce penalties for drunk driving.

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Minnesota
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Another Republican has gone back to the Rove/Giuliani mid-decade playbook. A couple of weeks ago it was Rick Lazio demagoguing about the mosque in Lower Manhattan.

Now, it’s Tennessee Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey who has taken the “terrorist under every turban” mantra a step further by questioning whether or not Islam is a “cult.”  Trailing Bill Haslam and secessionist C Streeter Zach Wamp in next week’s GOP primary, Ramsey is desperately trying to gain traction among the GOP base.

Someone needs to point out that Rudy Giuliani’s “9/11, verb, 9/11″ shtick didn’t work in 2008. Why do they think it might work now?

Categories : Tennessee, Terrorism
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