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

800px-governors_by_party

Archive for California

Feb
18

Guber Quick Hits – 2/18/13

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CALIFORNIA: California’s public-worker unions were a powerful and integral partner in helping Gov. Jerry Brown persuade voters to pass his tax hikes last November. The Golden State’s finances are now on a much firmer footing. As he prepares to enter contract negotiations with these workers, will he be able to withstand the unions’ desires to receive an increased share of the state’s treasury?

FLORIDA: Following the death of her husband Bill McBride, it doesn’t look like 2010 Democratic guv nominee Alex Sink is interested in a rematch against Rick Scott.

ILLINOIS: With a recent poll showing incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn languishing at 23% support among Democratic primary voters (and trailing AG Lisa Madigan by 9 points), it shouldn’t be a surprise that a bipartisan roster of big name Illini politicos are lining up to replace him. The most devastating development may be the desertion of his running mate, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon who doesn’t want to be on the ticket with him. Will anyone?

LOUISIANA: Another day, another quote from Bobby (the intern who wants to be president) Jindal on what ails the Republican Party.

NEBRASKA: Sen. Mike Johanns’s retirement announcement after a single term in DC positions term-limited Governor Dave Heineman as the early front-runner, but don’t be surprised if there’s a contentious GOP primary battle.

NORTH CAROLINA: Pat McCrory, the Tar Heel state’s first Republican governor in two decades (and the first to have a GOP-controlled legislature),will deliver his first State of the State speech tonight. Will he deliver a conservative wish-list or will he attempt to moderate the Tea Party-fueled extremism that fueled legislation in the most recent session?

PENNSYLVANIA: The conventional wisdom is that Rep. Allyson Schwartz is all but certain to jump into the race to challenge embattled Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Fueled by a DGA poll showing the Democrat leading the incumbent by 8 points and sitting on top of pile of campaign cash put her in a strong position to make Corbett a one-term wonder.

TENNESSEE: Last December, Mother Jones named Tennessee’s GOP-dominated state legislature the nation’s worst (and let’s face it, there was a TON of competition). This year, it seems they want to hold onto the dubious title, as Republican legislators have filed a bevy of states’ rights bills in Nashville.

TENNESSEE II: Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher bill is getting mixed reviews.

TEXAS: Every time I see one of these stories about Rick Perry’s extremely cozy relationship with the business community I wonder why there isn’t sustained outrage over his lavish lifestyle, especially if it’s financed with taxpayer money.

WISCONSIN: An editorial from The Cap Times points out that when Scott Walker opted out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion last week , he claimed his move would help nearly a quarter of a million Wisconsinites find health insurance coverage and cut the state’s uninsured population by nearly 50%. But the biggest (and cruelest) lie of them all is that he claims that under the health insurance exchanges will be available for $19 a month???!!

EJ Dionne: When Republicans were problem-solvers

On the 2016 trail: Bobby Jindal in St. Louis

Feb
03

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?

Today’s the day Jerry Brown lets Californians in on the specifics of his budget framework to pull the nation’s largest state back from the financial brink. The SacBee reports that the blueprint includes reducing public employee salaries by 8-10% and across-the-board budget spending cuts but appears to be contingent on California voters approving higher taxes in a special election to be held in November.

Will Jerry have better luck with ballot initiatives than the Governator did during his term?

Brown’s press conference is streaming live now at calchannel.com

Categories : California
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Dec
29

PollWatch: PPP Ranks the Gubers

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Public Policy Polling provides a run-down of the gubernatorial polling they’ve done throughout 2010.

The nation’s most popular (of the 30 polled by the PPP gang) is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin – who’s now ducking votes as a Senator in DC. The least popular is California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been making noise about wanting to move east to work on green issues at the federal level.

Of the governors up for re-election in 2011-12, Democratic incumbents Steve Beshear (KY) and Jay Nixon (MO) are looking pretty good at this point, as is Republican Bobby Jindal (LA). North Carolina’s Bev Perdue could be facing a tough reelection battle, especially considering how the GOP flipped the state legislature in the 2010 GOP tsunami.

Looking back, it could be argued that unpopular incumbent governors could’ve been a drag on their party’s nominees in the 2010 contests. PPP observes:

-Four Governors ended the year (and their terms) in the under 30% approval club. The least popular in the country at least in our polling is Arnold Schwarzenegger at a -38 spread (25/63). The other folks reaching this unwelcome unpopularity level are Bill Richardson at a -37 spread, Jim Gibbons at a -36, and John Baldacci at -29. It’s not a coincidence that 3 out of 4 of these guys saw the Governor’s office in their state flip to the other party last month.

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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Oct
16

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 10/16/10

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California: Sarah Palin is in the Golden State this weekend on a campaign swing to mobilize the already rabidly over-excited conservative base. Notable in their absence are the two women at the top of the California GOP ticket. With a recent Field Poll showing two-thirds of California voters would be less inclined to vote for a Palin-endorsed candidate, both eMeg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have found someplace better to be at her side.

California II: On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Jerry Brown had no hesitation about embracing one of his party’s biggest headliners – and an old rival. Former President Bill Clinton and Brown didn’t exactly embrace one another at a UCLA rally Friday night, but they did talk about their accomplishments and long history of fighting for Democratic ideals.

Florida: Back in 1997 when the FBI was conducting its investigation into the massive Medicare fraud at Rick Scott’s Columbia/HCA hospital chain, Scott himself was sued by the Florida State Board of Administration accusing Scott and others of insider trading and of profiting from a culture of corruption. The state’s suit never came to trial because it was shelved in favor of a larger federal case that resulted in a record $1.7 billion in fines against the company.  The questions about whether Scott knew about the pervasive fraud going on under his nose (how could he not?) were never answered. It’s stunning that this is the man the Republicans nominated to govern a state whose elderly electorate is so dependent on Medicare.

Georgia: How’s this for chutzpah? Former Congressman Nathan Deal is defending his use of federal staff and resources for his own personal gain as “constituent services.”

Illinois: The path to victory for both Democrat Pat Quinn and Republican Bill Brady travels through the suburban ‘collar’ counties outside Chicago. More than 40% of the state’s voters reside in the region, which is home base to neither the downstate Brady or the Chicagoan Quinn. But with little more than two weeks remaining until election day, neither candidate has spent much time in the critical swing region.

New Mexico: Bill Clinton – who’s campaigning around the country as if it’s his and not Barack Obama’s legacy at stake – hit the campaign trail for guber wannabe Diane Denish. At a rally in northern New Mexico, the former president tried to shore up Denish’s lagging support among the state’s critical (and normally Democratic) Hispanic population by echoing the Denish campaign’s message that Martinez is a tool of Texan political interests.

New York: It appears that when it comes to the bottom line, there isn’t a religious or moral conviction that Carl Paladino won’t toss aside in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Ohio: Democrat Ted Strickland is banking on using the early voting data to help them identify and mobilize their less enthusiastic base, but the Wall Street Journal reports that early voting patterns in Democratic Cuyahoga and Republican Warren Counties are looking similar to those seen in 2008. Could the ‘enthusiasm gap’ we’ve heard so much about over the past nine months be smaller than the media has led us to believe?

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato won the backing of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan, non-profit public-education advocacy group.

South Carolina: The RGA is running ads in the Haley-Sheheen gubernatorial contest. Either Haley and Rupert’s gang over at the RGA simply has so much money they don’t know what to do with, or they’re worried about Nikki Haley’s frontunner status in the Palmetto State guber contest isn’t as solid as one would expect in such a GOP-friendly election year in a deeply Republican state.

Oct
14

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 10/14/10

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California: It looks like Jerry Brown bumbled his way through a non-apology at the third and last debate against Meg Whitman. He mishandled the required “I’m sorry” so badly when the ‘Meg is a whore’ thing came up that he’s got NOW demanding the staffer who uttered the words be fired.

Georgia: Mike Huckabee will be returning to Atlanta for an Oct 21 Nathan Deal fundraiser.

Illinois: The money spigot is turned on in the final weeks of the closely fought gubernatorial contest. Since Oct. 4, both Bill Brady and Pat Quinn have raised over $1.3 milllion, with huge influxes coming from Haley’s RGA gang ($585K) for Brady and the SEIU ($750K) for Quinn.

Illinois II: Democrats are nervous that disgraced former Light Guv nominee Scott Lee Cohen (who’s mounting an independent guber candidacy) could siphon off black voters because of the visibility of his Light Guv dance partner, Baxter Swilley a longtime Democratic activist who could attract enough votes to the Cohen ticket to tip the race to downstate Republican Bill Brady.

Massachusetts: When Paul Loscocco decided to give up his position as independent Tim Cahill’s Light Guv dance partner it looked like Charlie Baker (who Loscocco endorsed as he jumped ship) would be the primary beneficiary as it looked like the gubernatorial contest would come down to a two-candidate choice between Baker and Gov. Deval Patrick. The controversy that has ensued, however, seems to be taking a toll on Baker.  A Suffolk University poll shows 17% of voters less likely to support Baker and 19% less likely to vote for Cahill. Winner? Patrick.

Minnesota: Is Minnesota the frontline of the GOP’s civil war? With a relatively robust history of viable third party candidates, the GOP’s lurch to the right has provided an opportunity for Tom Horner – a former GOP legislator to mount a credible run for governor on the Independence Party line. He’s attracting a significant amount of support from former Republican officeholders whose public endorsements are meant to send a message to a rightward marching state GOP – ‘watch your middle.’

New Mexico: One of Republican guber nominee Susana Martinez’s biggest donations came from Clayton Williams Energy – an oil and gas company in Midland, TX. Clayton Williams once ran – and lost – a Texas gubernatorial race against Democrat Ann Richards – a campaign where he gained notoriety for his sexist sense of humor when he told a “joke” about rape. Seizing an opportunity, Democrat Diane Denish’s campaign demanded Martinez return the $15,000 donation. Martinez quickly redirected the $20,000 from Williams and his interests to a rape crisis center.

Rhode Island: In a development that threatens to derail Lincoln Chafee’s independent run for governor, the former US Senator’s campaign manager has resigned after acknowledging he received unemployment checks while he was on the campaign payroll. This comes after news Chafee’s Senate campaign had failed to pay taxes for five years.

South Carolina: Blogger Will Folks is back. Nikki Haley is “refusing to sign a sworn affidavit offering her version of the “truth” pertaining to a pair of claims that she had romantic encounters outside the bounds of her 13-year marriage.”

Texas: The spokeswoman for former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina – who briefly made national headlines in a meteoric rise (and crash on Glenn Beck) during the GOP primary – is claiming Rick Perry has been ducking debates against Democrat Bill White because he fears Libertarian Kathie Glass, not the Democrat.

Sep
29

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 9/29/10

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California: MegaBucks has a new radio ad out in which she’s morphed into a movie critic. She urges every citizen to go see the new documentary “Waiting for Superman,” an intriguing political tactic that could force rival Jerry Brown into the box she wants him in. It’s the one with the Union Label, of course.

Colorado: The implosion that is the Dan Maes candidacy could have long-term repercussions for the state GOP, as a distant third-place finish becomes a distinct possibility.

Florida: Democrat Alex Sink is getting help from an unlikely source. Former Republican guber contender Bill McCollum is defending Sink from GOP nominee Rick Scott’s attacks blaming Sink for mismanaging the state’s investment portfolio during the 2007 stock market crash.

Georgia: Nathan Deal can’t seem to put a lid on the can of worms that his daughter’s financial problems have opened. A federal judge has reopened her 2009 bankruptcy filing because her husband failed to disclose an earlier 2001 bankruptcy that would make him ineligible to discharge his debts. Polls had shown Deal weathering the negative headlines, but he had to be hoping this could fade from the headlines. Doesn’t look like that’ll be the case.

Maine: Even though Paul LePage seems to be cruising to victory in the gubernatorial contest, the Tea Party-induced schism within the state GOP remains. Mark Ellis, who served as state party chair between 2007-2009 has publicly endorsed independent candidate Shawn Moody.

Maryland: There’s one incumbent governor not shunning the leader of the Democratic Party. President Obama has cut a radio ad in support of Martin O’Malley and he’s planning on joining him on the campaign trail in early October.

New Mexico: President Obama’s fall campaign swing brought him to the Land of Enchantment, where Democratic Light Guv Diane Denish didn’t run for cover like some other Democratic candidates have done.

New York: After watching this interview, I’m not sure whether voters will be repelled by Carl Paladino or whether he becomes the perfect receptacle for their boiling anger over the mess in Albany. The one thing I am sure of is the previously-sleepy NY Gov contest will be entertaining.

Oregon: Republican Chris Dudley may be a newcomer to politics but he’s proving to be a prolific fundraiser. He’s now outraised Democratic rival John Kitzhaber by a more than 2-1 margin.

Vermont: Are outside consultants transforming the traditionally placid political climate in bucolic Vermont? Locals are worried the Dubie-Shumlin contest has taken Vermonters down an unwanted path.

Sep
16

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.

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.