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 Clean Elections


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, Sat 8/14/10

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Arizona: Democrat Terry Goddard is spending his Clean Elections grant for the primary at a much slower pace than his Republican counterpart, Jan Brewer.

Iowa: Former Des Moines School Board member Jonathan Narcisse – who flirted with running in the Democratic primary against Gov. Chet Culver – reports he’s gathered the required signatures to qualify for the ballot as an independent.

Iowa II: Campaigning like it’s 1982. Embattled Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, trailing former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad by large margins in every publicly released poll of the contest, has turned to his father – a former US Senator – to help him on the campaign trail.

Maine: Talk about party unity. Democratic guber nominee Libby Mitchell has enlisted the support of her former primary foes to head her policy committees.

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich has proposed a series of five debates (three on the radio, two on the TeeVee) against Democratic incumbent Martin O’Malley. O’Malley, clearly hoping to elevate the profile of long-shot candidate Brian Murphy,  says he’s happy to debate the Republican nominee  - once the GOP primary determines a winner.

Texas: Rick Perry has steadfastly refused to debate Democratic challenger Bill White until White releases every scintilla of his personal financial and tax information. Now, he’s announced he won’t meet with any Lone Star State editorial boards prior to the election.

Wyoming: Matt Mead has invested nearly $900K of his own money in his effort to win the GOP guber nod in the Cowboy State. That’s a huge sum in the nation’s least populous state, where a closely contested primary victory could require less than 50,000 votes.


CT: Courts and Clean Elections

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Three separate court decisions regarding Connecticut’s new Clean Elections public financing system were released on Tuesday.

The Republican primary has been in limbo while former Ambassador Tom Foley challenged Lt. Gov Michael Fedele’s right to spend over $2.1M in public money his campaign has already received. A  state court ruled in favor of Fedele’s campaign, although Foley is appealing the ruling to the State Supreme Court.

In a crucial court ruling that will have a dramatic impact on the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele won a lawsuit Tuesday that will allow him to spend more than $2 million against Greenwich multimillionaire Tom Foley in an increasingly bitter race.

The nine-page ruling marks a watershed in the Republican primary as Fedele will now be able to compete on television and in paid advertisements against Foley, who has already poured more than $2 million into his campaign.

With exactly one month left until the August 10 primary, Fedele will be spending about $2 million in one month – one of the highest totals in state history.

While Fedele was celebrating the state court ruling, a separate decision by a federal appeals court struck down the “millionaire’s amendment” provision of the law that provides additional public money to candidates facing self-funding wealthy candidates, such as Foley.

Foley believes the federal decision means Fedele should be required to return nearly $1 million that was granted as a result of Foley’s spending. Fedele’s campaign says state law doesn’t require him to return funds he has already received.

Foley’s response? See you in court.

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Guber Quick Hits, Sat 7/10/10

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Arizona: Wealthy GOP guber wannabe Bux Mills filed legal papers Friday to block efforts by Jan Brewer from soliciting private donations to support her campaign. He argues her previous acceptance of public funds requires her to remain within the parameters of Arizona campaign finance law.

Arizona II: State Treasurer Dean Martin “suspended” his GOP gubernatorial bid, saying a contested primary “would be a distraction” to solving the state’s problems. All I can say is it must’ve gotten really cold there in Jan Brewer’s shadow as she rose in the polls demagoguing the immigration issue.

Illinois: If both major party guber candidates don’t show up for a debate, why even bother?

Nevada: Way ahead in the polls, GOP guber nominee Brian Sandoval won’t debate Rory (the younger) until the fall.

New Mexico: Susana Martinez wants to end the state’s three-year-old medical marijuana program. (h/t New Mexico Independent)

Oregon: Republican nominee Chris Dudley continues his trailblazing in the fundraising race against Democratic nominee John Kitzhaber.

Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert will travel to DC next week to participate in a gathering sponsored by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop attacking the Obama Administration’s “War on Western Jobs.”

Wisconsin: Democratic guber wannabe Tom Barrett will undergo a third surgery on the hand he injured when he attempted to defend a woman and her baby granddaughter from attack last summer.


Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 7/9/10

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Connecticut: Democrat Dannell Malloy quickly praised a Massachusetts federal judge’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. Will this become an issue in the gubernatorial contests throughout New England?

Connecticut II: Republican Michael Fedele should soon be rolling in publicly-financed campaign dough. Due to receive a public grant of nearly $2.2 million, he proclaims he’s ‘ready to rock‘ in the GOP primary against Tom Foley and Oz Griebel. But Foley has filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from transferring the funds.

Florida: In redistricting news, a Leon County judge struck Amendment 7 from Florida’s November ballot. The Republican-backed amendment had been called a “poison pill” that would’ve undermined the intent of Amendments 5 and 6 which seek to reform the way the Sunshine State draws it’s legislative and congressional districts. Incoming State Senate President Mike Haridopolos responded to the decision by saying if 7 was flawed, it must mean Amendments 5 & 6 are as well and should be removed from the ballot.

Hawaii: Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann picked up the endorsement of one of Hawaii’s largest unions, the United Public Workers.

Massachusetts: Republican Charlie Baker’s gubernatorial campaign now has more money in the bank than either of his major rivals, Deval Patrick and Timothy Cahill, after Cahill spent more than $400K on campaign ads early this summer.

Minnesota: Tom Emmer’s campaign continues getting bashed over his ill-conceived proposal to cut waiters hourly wages.

Nebraska: Democrats are still searching for a gubernatorial candidate.

Texas: All the threads of evidence in the mystery about who provided the funding to get the Green Party certified on the Lone Star ballot point to Rick Perry’s camp. It turns out this might not be the first time Perry has employed this tactic.


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, 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.”


Guber Quick Hits, Sun 6/27/10

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Connecticut: Larry DeNardis, a former congressman who ran for the GOP guber nod this year, endorsed Tom Foley in his contest against Oz Griebel and Michael Fedele.

Florida: The Florida Medical Association passed over former health care exec Rick Scott and endorsed Bill McCollum in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Georgia: Millionaire outsider Ray Boyd, who had been denied entry into the GOP gubernatorial primary after refusing to take the party’s loyalty oath, has abandoned his independent guber bid.

Maine: A conservative website questions whether independent candidate Eliot Cutler’s ties to Maine are sufficient to become governor.

Rhode Island: Despite raising over $2.1 million for his gubernatorial bid, Democratic candidate Frank Caprio received a favorable decision from the state’s Elections Board opening the possibility he could receive public matching funds. His Democratic rival Patrick Lynch called the decision “ludicrous.”

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry has declared today a “Day of Prayer in Texas for the Gulf Coast.”

Texas II: At their state convention over the weekend, Lone Star Democrats decided to keep their confusing and controversial “Texas Two-Step” presidential nominating process.

Vermont: Progressive Party chair Martha Abbott is running for governor to lose. She aims to win the party’s nomination on Aug. 24 and then withdraw to make sure a progressive candidate doesn’t siphon votes from the Democratic nominee.


Guber Quick Hits, Mon 6/21/10

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Alabama: After falling further behind in the GOP primary recount, guber hopeful Tim James accepted the obvious and ended his campaign Monday afternoon.

Arizona: GOP guber wannabe Buz Mills probably has the inside track on getting the NRA’s endorsement in his guber primary bid after he was elected to the powerful gun lobby group’s Executive Committee.

Connecticut: Ned Lamont chipped another $1 million of his personal funds into his campaign which triggered another public financing grant of $312,500 to fellow Democrat Dannell Malloy.

Florida: We now know just how much coin Rick Scott’s got – financial disclosure report filed Friday say he’s worth $218 million.

Illinois: Pawnbroker and ousted Democratic Light Guv nominee Scott Lee Cohen filed signatures today (the deadline) for his independent gubernatorial run.

Iowa: GOP insiders are lobbying Terry Branstad to pick Rod Roberts as his Light Guv running mate.

Minnesota: Of the five major candidates running for governor, only Republican Tom Emmer opposes legalizing same-sex marriage.

South Carolina: Slightly awkward – Nikki Haley will be celebrating her anticipated run-off victory at the South Carolina State Museum, an institution she voted to cut $1.64 million in state funding from just a week ago.

South Dakota: GOP nominee Dennis Daugaard picked former state House Speaker Matt Michels to be his Light Guv running mate. The selection means that all four men on the major party gubernatorial tickets hail from southeastern SD.

Texas: Some longtime Lone Star Republicans are crossing party lines to support Bill White’s guber bid.

Texas II: Despite it’s claim to being the fiscally responsible party, the Texas GOP finds itself struggling to pay off its debt.


Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 6/10/10

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Alabama: According to Doc’s Political Parlor, it’s unclear whether a recount in the razor thin GOP gubernatorial primary contest is required under state law – or who’s responsible for paying for it. Likely that Tim James, who trails Robert Bentley by less than 200 votes will have to foot the bill. The run-off is June 22 – it’s unclear when the campaigns will know who’s actually going to be on the ballot.

Arizona: The US Supreme Court has thrown a wrench into the state’s gubernatorial contest by suspending the release of publicly-financed matching funds while they review a challenge to the state’s Clean Elections statute. Gov. Jan Brewer, who had planned to run as a Clean Elections candidate, now finds her campaign cut off from financing and is being urged to call a special legislative session to rectify the situation. Self-financing businessman Owen “Buz” Mills has already spent $2.3 million of his own money on his campaign, although polls show he hasn’t gained traction against Brewer.

Colorado: When it comes to the issue of choice, GOP guber wannabe Scott McInnis is pulling his best “Alberto Gonzalez.” He can’t recall his decade sitting on the board of Republicans for Choice.

South Carolina: It must be cold there in Sarah’s shadow. Mitt Romney, who backed Nikki Haley before she was a national figure (read: before Sarah made the trek to Columbia) is rushing to the state to campaign with Haley in her run-off against Rep. Gresham Barrett. Romney, who has been meticulously spreading his PAC money around to build a foundation for a 2012 run must be frustrated by Sarah, who simply swooped in, and singlehandedly changed the race’s dynamics and garnered all the credit for Haley’s surge.

Tennessee: Longshot guber wannabe Joe Kirkpatrick abandoned his Tea Party-inspired effort to win the GOP nomination and endorsed Ron Ramsey.

Texas: Democrat Bill White is calling Gov. Rick Perry a “part-time” governor who had no official events on his schedule for 24 of 74 business days between January and mid-May.

Vermont: The Vermont AFL-CIO endorsed state Senator Doug Racine in the five-way Democratic gubernatorial contest after all the candidates addressed the group’s annual convention this past weekend.