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

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Archive for Alabama

Sep
12

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 9/12/10

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Alabama: Bradley Byrne – who at one point was the odds-on favorite to win the GOP guber primary before he was upset by Robert Bentley in a run-off – has become a partner at a law firm that he had come under fire for hiring while he served as Alabama’s two-year college Chancellor. He had been criticized over the $102, 395 the firm was paid to seek federal grants because the firm failed to land a single grant.

Arkansas: Gov. Mike Beebe is hosting a private fundraiser today with a roster of pro athletes with Arkansas ties, including LA Angels outfielder Tori Hunter and Atlanta Hawks Joe Johnston.

California: Meg Whitman is using a clip of former President Bill Clinton from a 1992 Democratic presidential debate in which candidate Clinton attacked rival Jerry Brown for raising taxes during his gubernatorial tenure. Despite the fact the state of California has declared Clinton’s statement untrue, Whitman’s camp won’t stop airing the ad.

Florida: Does Gov. Charlie Crist need Alex Sink to pull him to victory?

Kansas: From the “this isn’t a surprise file” – the largest government workers union in Kansas has endorsed Democrat Tom Holland’s guber run against Sen. Sam Brownback.

Maryland: The 2010 elections marked the debut of early voting in the Free State – and it was far from a resounding success. Less than 2% of the state’s eligible primary voters cast ballots during the early voting period.

Oregon: GOP guber nominee Chris Dudley is facing questions about whether he dodged Oregon income taxes during the 1990s when he played for the NBA’s Trail Blazers.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato is pushing for a state tax on the extraction of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. He says Republican rival Tom Corbett’s opposition to the tax (and its much-needed revenue to help balance the budget) is because Corbett is doing the bidding of his energy industry backers.

South Carolina: Nikki Haley’s accounting skills – one of the foundations of her candidacy – continue to be called into question.

Utah: Democratic challenger Peter Corroon is accusing Gov. Gary Herbert of favoring big political donors in appointments and awarding of state contracts.

Sep
09

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 9/9/10

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Alabama: Democrat Ron Sparks was joined on the campaign trail by former presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wesley Clark who said, “Ron Sparks is better experienced and better equipped than anybody I know in this state and certainly better than anyone in this race to be your next governor.”

California: Jerry Brown has agreed to a third debate against Republican Meg Whitman in Fresno.

California II: One might think that in the aftermath of a deep recession caused by a Wall Street meltdown that Main Street has yet to recover from (especially in housing bubble-ravaged California) ties to Wall Street would not be considered a political strength. But Meg Whitman isn’t exactly hiding her Wall Street ties.

Colorado: Colorado Springs is the bastion of conservatism in the Rocky Mountain State – the news that Democrat John Hickenlooper has the support of 52% of voters in the city is yet another indication of how badly the Republicans have fumbled their opportunity to pick up the governor’s seat.

Colorado II: Unlike in many other gubernatorial contests where the debates about the debates is a back and forth that results in fewer and fewer forums between the candidates, the two major party candidates in Colorado have agreed to an impressive nine event debate schedule.

Connecticut: Republican Tom Foley has agreed to a series of four televised debates – one on each of the local Connecticut affiliates of the major television networks. His Democratic rival Dan Malloy, however, wanted to meet as many as 19 times.

Florida: It appears to be the time to get serious about the debates in states across the country. Rick Scott and Alex Sink appear to have reached agreement on two guber debates (although Sink wanted five) and have both indicated they will be making their income tax returns public soon.

Florida II: Has Alex Sink ‘gone rogue’ on the Democrats by supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts?

Georgia: Republican Nathan Deal has partially released his tax returns, but the timing (right before the long Labor Day weekend) and the missing pieces raise more questions about his family finances. Democrat Roy Barnes had previously released 25 years of returns and posted them on his website.

Pennsylvania: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is back in the Keystone State this week helping fellow Republican Tom Corbett raise money for his guber bid.

Rhode Island: RI Future, a progressive website in the Ocean State that worked to defeat former Sen. Lincoln Chafee when now-Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ousted the moderate Republican has now taken another look at Chafee and finds that he’s the right choice for governor in 2010. Of course, he’s no longer got that “R” label attached to his name.

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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Sep
06

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 9/6/10

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Alabama: Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Ron Sparks is raising eyebrows over his comments supporting the reelection of Republican Richard Shelby to the US Senate.

Hawaii: The gubernatorial contest is taking on a religious tone, as Hawaii GOP chairman Jonah Kaauwai asked local pastors to bar Democrat Mufi Hannemann from public appearances in their churches.

Idaho: Republicans in the state legislature are trying to minimize the role Democratic guber wannabe Keith Allred played in a 2006 property tax reform effort that resulted in most Idahoans paying lower property taxes. Are they worried that Allred could actually be a contender to upset incumbent Butch Otter?

Maryland: As Maryland voters begin early voting in next week’s primary, Bob Ehrlich’s campaign is pointing to a surge in fundraising during the most recent eighteen-day reporting period as evidence his candidacy is gaining momentum. Despite raising nearly $500K more than the incumbent O’Malley, the Democrat still holds a nearly 3-to-1 advantage in cash on hand.

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker is calling in the GOP heavy hitters to help raise money for his guber bid. Maverick (that’s a good thing in the Bay State, even if it caused him headaches in his reelection) John McCain and wonderboy and fellow Massachusetts politico Sen. Scott Brown are both headlining an Oct. 1 fundraiser in Boston.

Michigan: Former Gateway exec Rick Snyder poured $6 million of his own fortune into buying the GOP guber nod. His total spending of $7.6 million was roughly equal to what all the other campaigns spent combined.

Nevada: Bush’s Rasputin is riding to the GOP’s rescue in the Silver State, where Republicans keep finding ways to fumble their mid-term advantage to the Democrats. Can his infusion of cash and television ads push GOP to wins over the Reid mini-dynasty?

South Carolina: When it comes to the gubernatorial race, pro-choice voters don’t have a choice.

South Dakota: South Dakota politicians have a history of living life in the fast-lane – literally. Former Gov. Bill Janklow spent time in prison for vehicular manslaughter because he was driving too fast. This year’s crop of candidates include quite a few who like to push the pedal to the metal, including both guber contenders.

Wyoming: GOP guber nominee Matt Mead spent an eye-popping (by Wyoming standards, at least) $1.4 million to win the GOP primary.

Jul
29

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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Jul
16

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 7/16/10

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Alabama: Defeated Dem guber wannabe (and soon to be former congresscritter) Artur Davis is praising GOP nominee Robert Bentley. Looks like he was serious about getting out of politics for good.

Arkansas: Incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe is the only Democrat cruising to re-election this November. He’s ahead in the polls and most of the media focus in the state has been on the US Senate race. He’s also got $2.7 million in the bank to fend off his Republican challenger Jim Keet.

Georgia: According to a new Mason Dixon poll, 50% of Georgians are willing to pay higher taxes to fund schools. Where is all that anti-tax fervor the media keeps telling us about?

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn is rolling back raises for senior staff after taking a beating from opponent Bill Brady over the issue.

Maine: The mystery about who was behind the primary eve robo-calls attacking eventual GOP winner Paul LePage has been solved.

New Hampshire: Anti-gay marriage activists brought their national bus tour to the Granite State, protesting Gov. John Lynch’s decision to sign marriage equality legislation last year. They’re hoping their chants of “Lynch Lied” can undercut the incumbent’s quest for an unprecedented fourth term.

Pennsylvania: Dan Onorato is slamming “Clueless Tom Corbett” at a new website ridiculing the Republican for his comments saying the long-term unemployed don’t want to work.

Vermont: Republican Lt. Gov Brian Dubie has the GOP primary field to himself and he’s taken the opportunity to stake out a significant fundraising lead over the five Democrats jostling for their party’s guber nod.

Wisconsin: Democrat Tom Barrett has over $2.9 million in the bank for his gubernatorial campaign. He’s going to need it, if a recent Badger Poll is accurate. He trails either of his potential GOP rivals by double digits, although huge numbers of voters remain undecided.

Jul
15

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/15/10

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Alabama: On one side much of the attention was on the notorious ads that went viral. On the other, the focus was on the historic nature of a candidate who shunned his base. Overlooked in the Alabama gubernatorial contest – the nice guys finished first. It has people hoping for a positive, issues-oriented campaign this fall.

California: Term-limited incumbent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is now just as unpopular as Gray Davis was when he was dumped by California voters in summer 2003.

Colorado: This is what a campaign death spiral looks like.

Florida: Rick Scott is banging the nativist drums. He’s urging the state legislature to take up the issue of immigration during the upcoming special session called by Gov. Charlie Crist to address the BP oil spill.

Minnesota: The Minnesota Progressive Project calls Emmer’s wildly vacillating position on wages and taxes for tipped workers ‘incoherent.’

New York: Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino says he’s gathered the necessary signatures to put him on the GOP primary ballot this September.

Pennsylvania: The company at the center of GOP guber wannabe Tom Corbett’s claims that the unemployed are sitting on their couches happily eating bon-bons tells a far different story.

Rhode Island: It looks like Democrats may avoid a bitter primary fight if reports that Patrick Lynch is planning to end his guber bid as early as today are true.

Texas: Democratic challenger Bill White reports having $9 million in the bank as of the end of June.

Jul
12

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 7/12/10

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Alabama: Mike Huckabee has lent his voice to Robert Bentley’s run-off effort, recording a robo-call going out over the campaign’s final weekend.

Florida: It looks like the fight to reform the redistricting process in Florida might end up before the state’s Supreme Court.

New Mexico: Susana Martinez’ campaign spokesman had a really bad day Sunday. He got arrested for DWI early in the morning and was fired as a result before the end of the day. Martinez really had no choice. In campaign ads earlier this summer, Democratic opponent Diane Denish had accused the Ana Dona County DA of cutting deals with DWI offenders.

New York: Republican Rick Lazio is offering to share his tax returns if opponent Andrew Cuomo shows his, too.

Ohio: Following last month’s endorsement by the powerful NRA, Democrat Ted Strickland picked up the support of the Buckeye Firearms Association in his campaign against former US Rep. John Kasich.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato will be calling in one of the party’s biggest weapons, former President Bill Clinton, to campaign on his behalf. Clinton’s presence was credited with helping Dems win the special election to replace the late John Murtha.

South Carolina: Despite a spike in out-of-state donations to Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial campaign after Sarah Palin’s endorsement, the Republican nominee still trails Democrat Vincent Sheheen in the money race.

Jul
05

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 7/5/10

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Alabama: The state teachers union is questioning Bradley Byrne’s charitable foundation’s potentially illegal diversion of $200,000 to a Republican political operative.

Alaska: Someone up in the Last Frontier either has a sense of humor or hasn’t been paying attention to the anti-Obama rhetoric that spews from demagogue Glenn Beck every night.

Arizona: Jan Brewer’s latest outrageous claims about illegal immigration – that beheaded bodies are littering the desert – have been refuted by local law enforcement.

California: Democrat Jerry Brown wants voters to help him fix California’s “constipated” government.

Connecticut: Former GOP guber rivals Michael Fedele and Mark Boughton have combined their donor bases as part of their gubernatorial ticket to help qualify for public financing. They’re going to need it to catch up to uber-wealthy Greenwich businessman Tom Foley who holds big leads in most public polls.

Florida: After bashing each other for being the more pro-gay candidate, Bill McCollum scored the endorsement of the Florida Family Policy Council leader over rival Rick Scott.

Iowa: After flirting with mounting a primary challenge to Chet Culver, local publisher Jonathan Narcisse tells the Des Moines Register he’s back – and running as in independent this November.

Kansas: Gov. Mark Parkinson – a former state GOP chair and donor to Sam Brownback – has endorsed Democrat Tom Holland citing his proven track record of bipartisan accomplishment.

Nevada: It’s become a distinct possibility that Rory could lose the support of Nevada’s firefighters union to Republican Brian Sandoval.

New Hampshire: Republican guber nominee John Stephen cancelled the bikini-clad babes who were going to add some spice to a July 11th fundraiser after Democrats decried the event as an affront to women.

New Mexico: Will an all-Hispanic GOP gubernatorial ticket cause conservative Republican voters to abandon their party this November?

Oregon: Proving once again that cutting spending is more difficult than the rhetoric suggests, former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley (and GOP guber wannabe) is lobbying Portland’s schools against cutting funding for PE.

Pennsylvania: GOP guber hopeful Tom Corbett is refusing a request by an environmental group to return a $3,000 donation from Anadarko Petroleum, one of the companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Tennessee: In a game of who’s got the biggest Tea Party guest list, GOP guber wannabes trade lists.  First, it was Ron Ramsey touting how many Tea Partiers thought he was cool. Not to be outdone, Bill Haslam rolled out his roster a few days later.

Wyoming: Elderly pitchman Wilfred Brimley has cut a radio ad endorsing GOP candidate Rita Meyer. Here’s the audio in which he praises Meyer as a staunch supporter of state’s rights and her promise “to do her utmost to keep the federal government out of our business and most of all, out of our wallets.”

Jul
01

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 7/1/10

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Alabama: Dick Morris, the keynote speaker at the GOP Summer Dinner not-so-subtly advocated voting for one candidate over another in the GOP guber primary.

California: It’s the first day of another fiscal year and once again California’s dysfunctional political system has failed to reach agreement on this year’s budget, which has a projected shortfall of $19.1 billion.

Connecticut: Talk about off-message – GOP guber wannabe Tom Foley has been in getting unwanted headlines about a decades-old arrests over road rage incidents. Now he’s got his ex-wife signing an affidavit he never abused her.

Georgia: Insurance Commissioner (and GOP guber wannabe) John Oxendine raised over $800K during the past two months.

New York: David Paterson is swearing off politics at the end of his disastrous partial term as New York’s Accidental Governor.

Ohio: Good news for Democrat Tom Strickland as he seeks reelection. The Buckeye State finished the  fiscal year with a $139 million surplus. That’s a headline few governors have been able to celebrate in recent years.

Pennsylvania: Ed Rendell tells Politico that fellow Democrat Dan Onorato is the underdog in the race to replace him.

Texas: The players in next year’s biggest congressional redistricting contest have been cast. Lt. Gov. David Dewhirst has appointed the 11-member Senate Select Committee on Redistricting six months before the legislature convenes so the members can travel the state and get input from Texans on how best to redraw political boundaries.