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 AdMonitor

A series of bad headlines for Mama Grizzly Nikki Haley the polls in her guber contest against Democrat Vincent Sheheen have shown a much closer-than-anticipated race where the Democrat is within striking distance.

Sheheen, who’s been hammering away at the frontrunner on the TeeVee, comes out with yet another ad highlighting Nikki’s habit of “misleading” voters and finally comes right out and calls her a liar. Despite using that four-letter word, the Sheheen camp manages to end the ad on a positive note.  The compare/contrast between the two candidates is pretty clear.

“With Nikki Haley, the more we learn the worse it gets…

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In a devastating new minute-long ad from the Brown campaign, MegaBucks Whitman shows she’s studied the GOP sound bites and is simply regurgitating the party’s campaign talking points. It’s as if she learned at the knee of Arnold (or at least those of his high-priced handlers) as to which poll-tested phrases might seduce weary Californians into electing a ‘moderate’ Republican with business experience to take over the state.

If Californians had thought the Meg mantra sounded familiar, Jerry Brown’s new ad shows them they had indeed heard it all before. With Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings in the toilet, Meg certainly doesn’t want to be linked too closely to the Governator.

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Democrat Terry Goddard’s newest TeeVee ad really goes after Gov. Jan Brewer’s connections to the owners of private prisons doing business in the state.

The private prison profiteers have a direct line to “Brewer for Governor,” Goddard’s camp claims in the ad.

Goddard wants to undercut Brewer’s law-and-order creds by linking her to the violent prison break earlier this summer. The story of convicts who went on a deadly rampage across the Interior West garnered national headlines.  Goddard would like it to become a central issue in the governor’s race.

Goddard’s effort might persuade voters who respond to reality-based arguments, but it’s unlikely to convince  voters who have Brewer-induced nightmares of  beheaded bodies littering the Arizona desert and rampaging gangs of illegal immigrants pillaging the cities and towns.

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Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is back on his heels in his bid to win election to the office he inherited from Rod Blagojevich. A confluence of political forces (not the least of which is Blago) and continued economic bad news has put him on the endangered governor’s list.

He’s got a new TeeVee ad (complete with grainy video and ominous music) attacking Republican challenger Bill Brady labeling him a “millionaire politician” who “somehow” hasn’t paid any federal income taxes in recent years.

Quinn faces an angry electorate where being an insider (especially in scandal-weary Illinois) is a huge obstacle. He’s stumbled into one self-induced crisis after another since he assumed office.

It’s unclear whether Quinn can effectively seize the populist mantle, as he’s trying to do in this ad. But, it may be all he’s got this late in the game.

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Illinois
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Democrat Vincent Sheheen goes all out in this attack ad on rival Nikki Haley.

Is she an outsider? Or Mark Sanford’s hand-picked successor?

If she’s for transparency, why did she hide $42,000 in consulting fees from her financial disclosure reports?

How can she be a fiscal conservative if she’s advocating a grocery tax?

What kind of an accountant files her personal taxes late for five straight years?

All of that squeezed into 30 seconds. Ouch.

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Accidental Governor Jan Brewer’s abysmal and uncomfortable to watch debate performance from a few weeks ago has now become a series of campaign ads for Democratic challenger AG Terry Goddard.

“Is this the best Arizona can do?” is a powerful tag line that undermines Brewer’s claims to competent leadership. The ads use tape of Brewer mumbling incoherently interspersed into a narrative about the real problems facing Arizona.

The governor’s own words make her look clueless.

Two of the ads take on issues Brewer has made the foundation of her campaign – security and the economy (and smartly avoids the red-hot immigration issue that has propelled Brewer to national prominence.) The third ad takes on her ‘mis-statement’ about beheadings in the desert.

In the security ad, Goddard’s camp highlights the recent prison break from a private prison in Arizona and the links between Brewer’s campaign and the private prison industry. Simply because Jan Brewer says you’re safer doesn’t make it so.

On the economic ad, Brewer is left speechless in response to a litany of bad economic news. It challenges her debate assertion that “Arizona has been brought back from the abyss” and wonders what it is that Jan has done.

“We have, uhm, did what was right for Arizona,” simply doesn’t cut it.

And about that little white lie about the beheadings besieging the state? Goddard’s campaign can’t resist. Nor should they.

Categories : AdMonitor, Arizona
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Except Bob Ehrlich, who wants voters to believe there’s “a lot of difference between a fee and a tax.”

Most people see through that claim. And they also know that when a fee goes up, that’s the same as raising taxes.

In tight economic times with family budgets getting squeezed, most people are simply frustrated with higher fees and declining services.

Martin O’Malley has found an Ehrlich weakness and has teed up a powerful television spot exposing Ehrlich’s political doublespeak.

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Maryland
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Alabama’s gubernatorial candidates are on the TeeVee airwaves and their choice of issues reveals the vast differences between the two major parties. The Democrat’s message is about investment and hope for a better future while the Republican opts to play on people’s fears, worry and frustration over

One of the issues Democrat Ron Sparks hopes can propel him to an unexpected victory in the Alabama gubernatorial contest against Republican Robert Bentley is the creation of a state lottery to help Alabama’s children pay for a college education. Bentley chooses to

In the Democrat’s ad, Sparks’ campaign plays a grainy clip of Bentley denouncing the idea of an education lottery making the argument that it’s not the government’s responsibility to provide a college education, nor does every child deserve to go to college. Sparks responds that every child deserves a chance.

Bentley, who emerged from a fractious GOP primary where one of his opponents, Tim James, garnered national attention with his “We Speak English Here” campaign ad, has chosen immigration as his post-Labor Day general election opening message airing across the state’s airwaves. To his credit, it’s a softer, more mature message, but it’s still built on fear, not hope.

Bentley also blames the problem of illegal immigration on voters’ favorite bogeyman – the federal government. There’s no question immigration is a federal issue – and state politicians (in the current economic and political climate there are both Republicans and Democrats running for governor across the country denouncing the federal failures on securing the borders) banging the drums on the issue in an election year is more about posturing and winning votes than anything else.

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OR: AdMonitor – Who Would You Hire?

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That’s essentially the question posed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s first ad of the general election.

It raises questions about GOP rival Chris Dudley’s experience and his commitment to the state of Oregon.

Categories : 100 ADS, AdMonitor, Oregon
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Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 9/2/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman has released an ad targeted at Jerry Brown’s Bay Area stronghold in which she questions his accomplishments while mayor of Oakland between 1999-2007.

Colorado: GOP guber wannabe Dan Maes continues providing fodder for late night comedians. Now, he’s a super secret agent – at least in his own head he is.

Florida: The Sunshine State’s first gubernatorial debate of the general election between Alex Sink and Rick Scott will focus exclusively on children’s issues.

Massachusetts: Independent guber wannabe Tim Cahill had to admit this week that he’s failed to pay state taxes on interest earned by his campaign accounts over the past decade. Cahill owes the state approximately $15,000 – a major embarrassment to the candidate, especially considering he’s been the state treasurer for nearly two full terms.

Minnesota: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine was in Minneapolis campaigning for Mark Dayton, one of the party’s best hopes to pick up a gubernatorial seat currently held by the GOP.

Nebraska: Gov. Dave Heineman is catching some grief from editorial boards as well as Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson for the pressure he’s applied to education groups to support his efforts to opposed the new health care reform.

New Hampshire: Time to make the donuts? Gov. John Lynch has asked the state’s AG to look into some questionable donations to Republican challenger John Stephen’s guber campaign. The donations – most of which came from Dunkin Donuts franchises in Connecticut and Massachusetts – appear to exceed limits allowed under state law.

Oregon: Mitt Romney has been on a ten-week, 25-state political barnstorming tour across America. This week, The Mittster is in Oregon helping Chris Dudley’s gubernatorial campaign.

Rhode Island: Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Frank Caprio has joined Linc Chafee in opposing the loan deal Gov. Don Carcieri gave to former Red Sox pitcher Kurt Schilling’s video game company.

Texas: Rick Perry has set a debate deadline for Bill White. Perry has been dodging debates since the March primary – saying he won’t participate until his Democratic challenger releases all of his income tax returns. Now, he says if White doesn’t provide the information by September 15th, there will be no debate.