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 Budget


Guber Quick Hits, 2/3/11

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California: Gov. Jerry Brown’s strategists are considering pursuing holding his proposed special election to extend taxes exclusively by mail. It’s not clear whether ‘going postal’ would help or hurt the chances of winning.

Florida: Politico writes about Gov. Rick Scott’s desire to muzzle the media.

Iowa: Of the nine finalists nominated to fill the three Supreme Court vacancies, one donated to Gov. Terry Branstad’s winning campaign while another made a contribution to Chet Culver.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie, the darling of small government tea partiers, has signed two bills that “increase his dominion” over recession-ravaged Atlantic City.

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry is delivering the keynote address at next week’s CPAC gathering.

Texas II: Could the budget hole be so deep that it threatens funding for high school football?

Virginia: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested an expedited Supreme Court review of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law. Since most legal observers expect a denial from the high court, you have to wonder about Cuccinelli’s motivation. Keeping his name in the headlines on this issue positions him as the GOP front-runner for the 2013 gubernatorial race.

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to the blizzard yesterday, urging motorists to stay off the roads and closed state offices to the public, but then told state workers they had to come to work or take a vacation day.

And from beyond the StateHouses:

Are we heading for a fourth wave election? One prognosticator thinks the Dems may be able to catch a wave in 2012.

With the Census Bureau reporting that racial minorities accounted for 85% of the nation’s population growth over the past decade, Latino activists expect “a minimum of nine additional Latino-majority House seats” when redistricting is said and done.

Is there room for two Mormons in the 2012 GOP presidential primary?


Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 9/16/10

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Arkansas: Democratic incumbent Mike Beebe’s campaign has been endorsed by 73 of Arkansas’ 75 sheriffs.

California: Today marks the day the Golden State’s budget impasses moves into record-setting territory, as it surpasses the previous record set in 2008. To mark the occasion, Democratic guber wannabe Jerry Brown unveiled a proposal that would start next year’s budget plan from scratch. Is “zero-based budgeting” workable or simply an election year gimmick?

Florida: Rick Scott has made it clear he’s opposed to Obama’s stimulus spending, arguing during the guber primary that he would “fight all the stimulus money.” It’s somewhat awkward, then, that a firm he’s heavily invested in just received $36.1 million in Recovery Act funding to build a fiber-optic network in rural Louisiana.

Iowa: Hawkeye State Dems are hoping to use Sarah Palin’s upcoming visit to rally the base.

Iowa II: A piece of information that seems to be counterintuitive to the prevailing political narrative over the GOP’s huge enthusiasm gap. Democratic requests for absentee ballots in Iowa outnumber Republicans by nearly 3-1.

Nebraska: Democrat Mike Meister is trying to make the placement of TransCanada’s proposed oil pipeline across the Ogallala Aquifer an issue in his campaign against Gov. Dave Heineman. Meister says running it across the aquifer is too risky while Heineman says he isn’t focused on the issue.

Nevada: Rory (the younger) Reid has indicated he would sign a state budget that included tax increases, if it came across his desk. This represents a significant shift in the tax-averse Silver State, where candidates of all ideological stripes adhere to a no new tax mantra. With Rory trailing Republican Brian Sandoval badly in every public poll, is this shift a profile in courage or an act of political desperation?

New Mexico: Bill Clinton is doing yeoman’s work this campaign season. He’ll be joining Diane Denish on the trail next month.

Oregon: After falling far behind Republican Chris Dudley in the race for big campaign checks, Democrat John Kitzhaber has begun raking in donations from the state’s unions.

Vermont: After the drawn-out Democratic primary, it’s probably not all that surprising Peter Shumlin has less money in the bank than Lt. Gov Brian Dubie, who had no opposition in the GOP primary. But his $62,000 is a lot less than the $410,000 Dubie’s got in his warchest.

Wisconsin: Mark Neumann won more counties than Scott Walker in Tuesday’s GOP primary, but he lost overall because Walker dominated him in the populous suburban Milwaukee counties, a region that has become the key for Republican victories in the Badger State.


Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/10/10

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Arizona: One of the conditions for qualifying for Clean Elections campaign financing under Arizona law is participating in a Clean Elections-sponsored debate. After showing up (at least in body) and receiving her $1.7 million-plus check, Gov. Jan Brewer has decided she can’t risk this again. Turns out there are a lot of other GOP candidates following Brewer’s lead.

California: As the Golden State’s annual budget delay dance stretches toward record-setting territory, the state Controller has announced the state won’t have to start issuing IOUs until early October, which is later than previous estimates. Not sure if this is good news or bad news, as some observers believe IOUs would’ve stepped up the pressure on the legislature to finally get a deal done.

Colorado: The sinking ship that is GOP guber nominee Dan Maes’ campaign lost another deckhand this week when the volunteer campaign treasurer- who had been on board for just three weeks – resigned. The official reason Bob Balink jumped ship was because the commute was too long.

Connecticut: Mitt Romney joined fellow millionaire Tom Foley on the campaign trail in tony Greenwich.

Hawaii: The largest public worker union in the state is trying to explain the controversial decision to back Mufi Hannemann over Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic guber primary.

Massachusetts: A ‘furious exchange’ over the state’s role in rescuing health insurance company Pilgrim Health exploded during this week’s gubernatorial debate. Gov. Deval Patrick asserted that Baker – who ran Pilgrim at the time – was rescued thanks to state aid. Baker denied the governor’s version of history. Turns out it depends on what you mean by state aid. According to a local taxpayer watchdog group, no taxpayer money was used in reversing the fortunes of the health insurer, but the state did play a central role in helping make sure the company didn’t fail.

Pennsylvania: The Republican Governor’s Association moved $1.5 million from its Wisconsin PAC to its Pennsylvania PAC in July. It’s an intriguing move, considering both seats are widely viewed as strong pick-up opportunities for the GOP.

Rhode Island: Could news that Democratic guber wannabe Frank Caprio contemplated switching parties last winter as he prepared for his campaign push Democratic voters into independent Linc Chafee’s camp come this November?

Texas: Despite numerous denials he’s got his eyes on the White House, Gov. Rick Perry’s new book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington will be published right after the midterm elections (and Perry hopes his own record-setting reelection).

Vermont: The Democratic Party has filed a campaign finance complaint against Brian Dubie and the RGA, claiming they illegally coordinated to create a television ad supporting Dubie’s gubernatorial campaign.


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?


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.


Guber Quick Hits, Tues, 6/22/10

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California: Assembly Democrats have proposed borrowing billions to help ease the state’s $19.1 billion budget shortfall but Attorney General (and Dem guber nominee) Jerry Brown’s office last week advised it may not pass legal muster if it’s challenged in court. Now comes word that Treasurer Bill Lockyer won’t be able to sell such bonds on Wall Street without the AG’s blessing.

Florida: The GOP establishment continues to circle the wagons in defense of Bill McCollum as he faces an all-out assault from outsider Rick Scott. Dick Armey is the latest insider to endorse the former congressman.

Georgia: With polls showing former Gov. Roy Barnes pulling away from the Democratic gubernatorial field, the AJC’s Political Insider asks “Can Roy Barnes win without a Democratic runoff?

Kansas: Sen. Sam Brownback’s proposal to create an “Office of the Repealer” has drawn national media attention and found a receptive response among the Kansas electorate. But local media is wondering why he doesn’t provide specific recommendations about what he proposes to repeal.

Maryland: Eight years ago, Republican Bob Ehrlich lifted Michael Steele out of obscurity by naming him his Light Guv running mate. This time there are few clues as to who Ehrlich might choose as his dance partner.

Nebraska: Frustration over the divisive immigration issue has resulted in the voters of Fremont, NE passing an ordinance banning the harboring, hiring of and renting to illegal immigrants. City leaders warn of challenges in implementing the new ordinance and the possibility of higher taxes to pay for it’s enforcement.

Oregon: The Independent Party of Oregon has an astounding 77 candidates seeking its gubernatorial nomination, including Democratic nominee John Kitzhaber.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato wants to debate GOP nominee Tom Corbett fourteen times – twice in each of the Keystone State’s seven media markets.


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.


Must-Reads, Friday 5/21/10

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California: It seems the only way to play the game of politics in the Golden State is to have billions in your bank account. Could the web be the great equalizer?

Rand Paul’s Big League Debut: The Atlantic’s Joshua Green, who spent time on the campaign trail in Kentucky prior to Tuesday when Rand Paul won the GOP Senate nod, believes a big factor in Paul’s win and subsequent meltdown this week has to do with the “diminished local press corps.” Political journalists (if there are any left in this Internet Age) failed to adequately challenge Paul during the campaign.  When he met Rachel as the nominee, it was a surprise to Dr. Paul that his talking point answers weren’t enough.

Rethinking the Enthusiasm Gap: PPP’s Tom Jensen says the gap between Republican and Democratic interest in 2010 midterms may be driven by Democratic satisfaction just as much as it is by GOP anger. Love it when the conventional wisdom is turned upside down!

The GOP’s Swing to the Right: Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson explains why the GOP is in danger of over-reaching. It’s Obama’s fault. Do these guys take responsibility for anything?

April’s Revenue Mean More Stormy Sessions Ahead: States across the country are reporting lower-than-expected income tax revenue in the critical month of April, further darkening the fiscal picture for state lawmakers and governors.


Quick Hits, Monday PM, 5/17/10

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Florida: In what would be another finger in the eye to the GOP, Charlie Crist is hinting he may veto an anti-abortion bill sitting on his desk. Is it smart politics or simply sour grapes?

Florida II: It looks like Lawton Chiles III is going to challenge Alex Sink for the Democratic nod. He’s told the AP to expect an announcement within the next couple of weeks.

Maryland: This weekend’s Preakness provided Gov. Martin O’Malley a chance to strut more than usual, as Pimlico’s recent rescue from an bankrupt owner means the 135-year-old race, the second jewel of the Triple Crown is likely to remain in Maryland.

Minnesota: Governor (and presidential wannabe) Tim Pawlenty is claiming victory in his budget showdown with DFL lawmakers as they reached a last minute agreement to close a $3 billion gap in the state budget.

Texas: Another example of fiscal conservatism in action. Gov. Rick Perry has spent over $600,000 on rent and utilities over the past two years as the Governor’s Mansion is renovated and repaired.

Utah: Hoping to avoid making an immigration bill more punitive to business interests, Gov. Gary Herbert has reconsidered calling a special session to make adjustments to recently passed legislation. The controversy ignited by Arizona’s implementation of it’s strict new immigration law made it risky politically for Herbert to re-open debate on the law.

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GOP guber nominee Bill Brady is up first on TeeVee in the critical Chicagoland market. The voter-rich region is crucial to Gov. Pat Quinn’s reelection chances. If Brady can make inroads in the Democratic region, it makes the Republican’s path to victory in November much easier.

The ad focuses on lowering taxes (and making it more difficult to raise them in the future) and reforming state government with term limits and campaign finance reform. A pretty obvious opening salvo for a challenger in a scandal-scarred state facing enormous budget challenges.

Derailing the super majority proposal to raise taxes could be relatively easy. All the Democrats need to do is point to California, where a similar law has contributed to the ever-worsening fiscal crisis in the Golden State. While it may sound good in theory, in practice, the super majority requirement simply empowers the minority party to reek havoc on the budget process, creating an annual stalemate that further worsens the state’s fiscal position.

I’d imagine the ads Chicago sees from Quinn’s team will focus on an entirely different set of issues.

Categories : AdMonitor, Budget, Illinois
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