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


See You In November (Again)

By · Jul, 21 2010

Stateline points out that with Roy Barnes convincing (but totally anticipated) victory in yesterday’s Georgia Democratic primary, all five former governors seeking their old offices this year will appear on the November ballot.

Apparently the voter outrage at incumbents (or so the 2010 media narrative would like us to believe) doesn’t extend to former officeholders. We seem to have misty, water-colored memories of the way things were when Bob Ehrlich, Terry Branstad, Jerry Brown, John Kitzhaber and Barnes were in office.

The roster of former governors spans generations, as Brown is a throwback to the 70s, Branstad’s long tenure spanned the 80s and 90s, and Kitzhaber also held office way back in the 20th century. All of them left office voluntarily. Only Barnes and Ehrlich are back for redemption.

Primary success, however, may not translate into victory in November. Only Branstad is comfortably ahead in midsummer polling. As Stateline observes, Democrats, no matter how fondly they’re remembered, may not be able to overcome the electorate’s discontent with Democrats:

While the plethora of former governors suggests that primary voters trust old hands with the reins of state government this year, there are few guarantees about what will happen in November. What seems true at this early stage is that Democratic former governors — even in reliably Democratic states — are running into the same political headwinds that their party faces nationally.

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