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 Alaska

Sep
17

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/17/10

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Alaska: Sarah Palin may find it less expensive to go moose hunting if Democrat Ethan Berkowitz becomes Alaska’s next governor. He’s proposing allowing Alaskans to buy lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

Illinois: Former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar (who hasn’t always had kind words for his party’s current guber pick, Bill Brady) is planning on endorsing Brady against Democrat Pat Quinn.

Kansas: Following a rather informal debate in front of a live audience at the Kansas State Fair between Democrat Tom Holland and Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, it doesn’t seem another debate is in the cards.

Maryland: In a post-primary radio interview, GOP nominee Bob Ehrlich was less-than-gracious in his efforts to unify his base. Will his failure to acknowledge Tea Party fave Brian Murphy as an up-and-comer in the state GOP hurt him among the conservative base in November?

New York: Guber nominee Andrew Cuomo is one of the only Democrats who seems to be in cruise control for the general election. Despite being the heavy favorite, all is not calm in Gotham, as Cuomo is expressing some discomfort over his Democratic colleagues running for comptroller and attorney general.

Rhode Island: Frank Caprio continues his slide toward the right. He’s come out in support of extending all of the Bush tax cuts set to expire, regardless of income.

Tennessee: What would Tennessee politics be without a little Basil for flavor? We don’t have to find out because Basil Marceaux is running as a write-in!

Texas: Rick Perry – that fearless hunter of suburban coyotes – has been endorsed by the NRA.

Wisconsin: Badger State Republicans have fielded the largest field of candidates for the General Assembly in a generation. They’re contesting in 85 of 99 districts, the most since 1986.

Sep
04

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 9/4/10

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Alaska: The Alaska Independence Party, which got a lot of exposure when Sarah and Todd first burst onto the political scene (remember their calls for Alaskan secession?) – is mulling over whether to endorse Republican Bill Walker as their gubernatorial candidate.

Colorado: Fellow Tea Party favorite GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck is the latest Republican to abandon the sinking ship that is Dan Maes’ gubernatorial campaign.

Florida: The national governors’ groups are going all in in the Sunshine State. The Fox News-backed RGA has announced it’s sending $2 million as part of the party’s efforts to unify after the bruising Bill McCollum/Rick Scott primary brawl. The DGA has answered with a pledge of $1 million to support Alex Sink’s candidacy.

Iowa: Could DeCoster’s rotten eggs destroy Democratic chances in the Hawkeye State this November?

Maryland: Underdog Brian Murphy certainly knows his target audience as he runs his bare-bones, long shot primary challenge to Bob Ehrlich. His first (and likely only) television ad is airing during Glenn Beck’s 5 o’clock happy hour on Fox News.

Maryland II: It may be a function of high name ID for both presumed guber nominees or it may be the expense of going up on TeeVee in the DC media market, but both Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich have both yet to pull the trigger and begin advertising in the vote-rich DC suburbs.

Massachusetts: After trailing both his opponents in the money race throughout the campaign, Gov. Deval Patrick seriously picked up the pace in August.

Minnesota: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be helping GOP guber nominee Tom Emmer raise money. Considered a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, Jindal’s trip north brings him into the territory of another (more) likely presidential contender, MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

New Mexico: The sudden resignation of the chairman of the Educational Retirement Board over a controversial loan has sparked accusations over public ethics between the gubernatorial campaigns. Democrat Diane Denish – who has spent a lot of time trying to separate herself from Gov. Bill Richardson and the ethical troubles surrounding his Santa Fe political cadre – has already donated personal contributions from the disgraced Richardson appointee to a non-profit that supports early-childhood education professionals (although she’s keeping donations from his law firm).

Oregon: Political observers are beginning to ponder the possibility that Oregon voters may not get a debate between gubernatorial hopefuls John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley.

South Carolina: Nikki Haley – former GOP golden boy Mark Sanford’s protege is trying to differentiate herself from how Sanford governs and is pointing out decisions he’s made with which she disagrees. Sanford has had a rocky relationship with the Republican legislature and many in the party establishment have been hesitant to embrace Haley because they fear a similarly antagonistic relationship. To ease those worries, Haley is promising to work with the legislative branch – and will defer to the lawmakers on the creation of the state budget.

Sep
03

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/3/10

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Alaska: Democrat Ethan Berkowitz received the endorsement of Alaska’s AFL-CIO.

California: The defense attorney in a high-profile child molestation trial has excused GOP guber wannabe Meg Whitman from the jury pool. The trial – which could take up to a month – would’ve forced Whitman to essentially abandon the campaign trail in the closing weeks of her race against Jerry Brown.

California II: MegaBucks Whitman’s $100 million dollar primary campaign still wasn’t the most expensive California campaign, when measured by cost-per-vote. The $65 per vote was $5 short of Al Checchi’s failed 1998 Democratic gubernatorial primary run.

Colorado: Tom Tancredo’s insurgent candidacy has raised $200K since he first announced in July.

Florida: Hoping to put the contentious immigration issue on the back burner, Hispanic Republicans are urging Rick Scott to put job creation and the economy at the center of his general election strategy.

Kansas: Former Flroida Gov. Jeb Bush joined Sam Brownback on the campaign trail this week.

Maryland: What’s a long-time foe of early voting to do when he’s on the ballot and early voting gets underway? If you’re Bob Ehrlich, you (kinda) accept the new reality and urge supporters to join you in voting early. If you’re one of his opponents, you don’t miss the opportunity to point out the former governor’s hypocrisy.

Nevada: According the WaPo’s Fix, the enthusiasm gap seen favoring Republican candidates during the current election cycle is widest in the Silver State, where Brian Sandoval and Rory Reid are tied among registered voters but Sandoval holds a wide (50-39%) lead among likely voters.

Oregon: John Kitzhaber has been falling behind GOP challenger Chris Dudley in amassing large checks from campaign donors. Kitzhaber is trying to close the gap by gathering big checks from labor groups, including a $100,000 check from AFSCME.

South Carolina: Conservative stalwart Sen. Jim DeMint has released a web video that challenges GOP guber nominee Nikki Haley on school choice. One of her signature issues as a legislator has been expanding parental choice in education but she recently said it would not be a priority for her if she becomes governor, surprising many conservatives. Is DeMint trying to get her back on point?

Utah: Democratic challenger Peter Corroon is raising impressive sums for a Utah Democrat, but he’s spending it nearly as fast as he brings it in.

Aug
27

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 8/27/10

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Alaska: While GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski’s shocking primary loss (pending absentee ballots) dominated Alaska political news, Gov. Sean Parnell cruised to a primary victory under the radar. Unhappy with the results, Bill Walker, one of his vanquished opponents, is considering a write-in candidacy.

Idaho: Democratic guber challenger Keith Allred has made Butch Otter’s education funding cuts a central focus of his candidacy, arguing that Otter overstated the severity of the state’s budget problems in making severe cuts. New numbers showing Idaho in better-than-anticipated revenue numbers appear to validate his view.

Maine: Democratic guber wannabe Libby Mitchell has withdrawn from two candidate forums, citing the omission of two unenrolled candidates – Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott. The first of those forums, a discussion about cross-border issues facing the state, went on without her Thursday.

Michigan: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing endorsed his fellow mayor and Democrat Virg Bernero’s guber bid.

Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland is getting help from an unusual source for most Democrats. The Buckeye Firearms Association has sent a bus out on the campaign trail touting their support of Strickland’s reelection bid against Republican John Kasich.

Texas: Bill White has been practically frothing at the mouth to take on Rick Perry in a Lone Star debate but the incumbent has been setting preconditions (and running out the calendar) so it comes as no surprise that White accepted an invite from Texas media outlets while the incumbent declined.

Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert’s 39-year-old son has been accused of stalking and harassing a the younger sister of a woman he was once charged with stalking and assaulting in 2005.

Vermont: The three-way photo finish in the Democratic primary is heading to a recount, as Peter Shumlin edged out Doug Racine by a razor-thin margin of 197 votes. Deb Markowitz finished in third – less than 700 votes behind Shumlin.

Aug
13

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 8/13/10

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Alaska: Citing the tragic death of former Sen. Ted Stevens in a plane crash along Alaska’s southwest coast, Gov. Sean Parnell suspended his campaign activity. As a result, the Commonwealth North sponsored GOP gubernatorial debate between Parnell, Bill Walker and Ralph Samuels has postponed until August 23rd, the day before the primary election.

Florida: The GOP primary fight between Bill McCollum and Rick Scott has gotten so personal that McCollum is publicly doubting whether or not he would support Scott if he wins the nomination.

Georgia: Mike Huckabee is taking (at least partial) credit for Nathan Deal’s razor-thin victory in the GOP runoff over Sarah Palin’s Peach State Mama Grizzly, Karen Handel.

Massachusetts: Former GOP guber wannabe Chrisy Mihos has been fined a ‘whopping’ seventy grand for repeated campaign violations. It’s the highest such fine in Bay State history.

Nevada: What constitutes a formal debate? In GOP guber wannabe Brian Sandoval’s world answering three impromptu questions from your rival counts.

New York: Look for the Union Label ~ the Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Andrew Cuomo and Bob Duffy keeps racking up the labor endorsements.

Oregon: Republican Chris Dudley accepted his first debate, but there’s one catch – it’s not one of the seven proposed by Democrat John Kitzhaber.

Wyoming: Colin Simpson – the scion of a Wyoming Republican political dynasty - picked up the support of another GOP political dynasty’s patriarch, George H. W. Bush.

Aug
11

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 8/11/10

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Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell has temporarily suspended his election campaign in the aftermath of the plane crash that killed former Senator Ted Stevens.

California: GOP guber wannabe MegaBucks Whitman’s effort to woo critical Latino voters has sparked a feud among conservative talk radio hosts. LA radio talkers “John and Ken” have been highly critical of eMeg’s move to the middle on the contentious issue of immigration. Sacramento talk jockey Eric Hogue is denouncing his conservative colleagues for creating “a summer radio ratings stunt.”

Florida: Does Rick Scott prove the adage, ‘once a cheater, always a cheater?’ More allegations of overbilling Medicare surface in the closing weeks of the contentious GOP guber primary.

Iowa: The Hawkeye State guber contest between current Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will have a series of three head-to-head debates, according to the Branstad campaign.

Iowa II: Despite some social conservatives waving the white flag of surrender over same-sex marriage following federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s Prop 8 decision, vanquished guber wannabe Bob Vander Plaats is digging in and vowing an all-out effort to oust the three ‘activist justices’ who brought gay marriage to the Hawkeye State. Tim Pawlenty has jumped on the “dump the judges” bandwagon as he positions himself for a 2012 presidential run.

Kansas: Despite being shellacked by Sam Brownback in the GOP guber primary, crazy Joan Heffington vows to soldier on as a write-in candidate.  (8/10)

Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick wants a series of eight debates between Labor Day and Election Day.

Pennsylvania: Proving that the Tea Party tempest may be a Pandora’s box the GOP may come to regret opening, the conservative supporters of Tea Party fave Sam Rohrer have launched a write-in effort for governor. GOP nominee Tom Corbett treated Rohrer as little more than a nuisance during the primary. Will the race between Corbett and Democrat Dan Onorato be tight enough that Rohrer’s effort could drain enough conservative support to tip the race?

Jul
08

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/8/10

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Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell “visibly squirmed” when asked which candidate he supported in Alaska’s GOP US Senate primary. Could he be afraid of incurring the Wrath of Palin if he voiced support for incumbent Lisa Murkowski over Sarah’s preferred candidate?

California: The political game of “chicken” that defines the dysfunctional Golden State’s annual budget stalemate has led to the state controller suing to block the governor from reducing every state employee’s pay to the federal minimum wage. Is it time for one of the guber wannabes to step up and offer a solution to this year’s installment of “The Waiting Game” or are they content to keep their fingers crossed that some magical elixir will wash away all the debt?

Florida: Multi-millionaire Rick Scott has filed a lawsuit against Florida’s campaign finance system’s “millionaire’s amendment” as a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. The amendment, which kicks in if Scott spends over the $24.9  million cap for the primary, seems to be pretty expensive free speech, if you ask me.

Hawaii: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports a gay tourist boycott of the Aloha State may materialize in response to Gov. Linda Lingle’s veto of the civil unions bill.

Kentucky: PPP is out with an early look at Democrat Steve Beshear’s reelection chances. Voters appear apathetic about the governor’s job performance (38% approve, 35% disapprove, 26% with no opinion) and is in virtual dead heats against potential GOP challengers.

New York: Accidental Gov. David Paterson is praising Democratic Light Guv candidate Bob Duffy as an “outstanding choice” who would be a superb governor if he had to unexpectedly become the Empire State’s chief executive. But let’s be honest here, Paterson hasn’t set the expectations bar very high.

Ohio: Tonight’s the night of reckoning. LeBron decides whether he stays in Cleveland or abandons his hometown Cavaliers. If he leaves does that inflict a mortal wound on Republican John Kasich who dismissed the King’s importance? Or does Ted Strickland get blamed for not doing enough to keep LeBron home (maybe they could build a border fence or something?)

Oregon: The Independent Party of Oregon’s 55,000 members have begun receiving notices in the mail providing them information as to how to log on and participate in the state’s first primary election for a minor party.

Pennsylvania: Democratic nominee Dan Onorato is trumpeting an impressive $1 million raised over the past month.

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.”

Jun
26

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.

Jun
20

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 6/20/10

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Alaska: Gov Sean Parnell is calling for federal compensation for Alaskans put out of work because of the federal moratorium on new offshore drilling.

Colorado: Despite a recent finding that the Rocky Mountain State was the top Tea Party state in America, the Colorado Republican Party has experienced a decline in registered voters.

Connecticut: In a blast from the Nutmeg State’s past, former Gov Lowell Weicker slammed state leaders for their ”insane fiscal practice” of borrowing to cover operating expenses and described Gov. Jodi Rell as “disinterested.”

Iowa: GOP guber nominee Terry Branstad is narrowing down his list of potential running mates. The Des Moines Register reports former Iowa State wrestling coach Jim Gibbons, who recently lost a congressional primary contest, is a new name being considered.

Michigan: Democratic Speaker Andy Dillon is taking some hits for hiring a Chicago ad firm to create his first guber TV ad, which touts his support for “hire Michigan first” legislation.

New Mexico: Republican guber nominee Susana Martinez has denied rumors circulating in the blogosphere that she’s the daughter of illegal immigrants.

Pennsylvania: Republican Tom Corbett’s lack of a serious primary challenge helps him start the general election campaign against Dan Onorato with a significant money advantage.

Utah: Democrat Peter Corroon is keeping pace with Accidental Governor Gary Herbert in the gubernatorial money race.

Vermont: Democrat Doug Racine received the backing of the Vermont State Employees Association. The VSEA doesn’t usually endorse in primaries but the public sector layoffs and pay cuts imposed during the current economic crisis led the union to make a choice in the crowded Democratic field.