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 Debates

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
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
10

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.

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.

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
02

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 9/2/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman has released an ad targeted at Jerry Brown’s Bay Area stronghold in which she questions his accomplishments while mayor of Oakland between 1999-2007.

Colorado: GOP guber wannabe Dan Maes continues providing fodder for late night comedians. Now, he’s a super secret agent – at least in his own head he is.

Florida: The Sunshine State’s first gubernatorial debate of the general election between Alex Sink and Rick Scott will focus exclusively on children’s issues.

Massachusetts: Independent guber wannabe Tim Cahill had to admit this week that he’s failed to pay state taxes on interest earned by his campaign accounts over the past decade. Cahill owes the state approximately $15,000 – a major embarrassment to the candidate, especially considering he’s been the state treasurer for nearly two full terms.

Minnesota: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine was in Minneapolis campaigning for Mark Dayton, one of the party’s best hopes to pick up a gubernatorial seat currently held by the GOP.

Nebraska: Gov. Dave Heineman is catching some grief from editorial boards as well as Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson for the pressure he’s applied to education groups to support his efforts to opposed the new health care reform.

New Hampshire: Time to make the donuts? Gov. John Lynch has asked the state’s AG to look into some questionable donations to Republican challenger John Stephen’s guber campaign. The donations – most of which came from Dunkin Donuts franchises in Connecticut and Massachusetts – appear to exceed limits allowed under state law.

Oregon: Mitt Romney has been on a ten-week, 25-state political barnstorming tour across America. This week, The Mittster is in Oregon helping Chris Dudley’s gubernatorial campaign.

Rhode Island: Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Frank Caprio has joined Linc Chafee in opposing the loan deal Gov. Don Carcieri gave to former Red Sox pitcher Kurt Schilling’s video game company.

Texas: Rick Perry has set a debate deadline for Bill White. Perry has been dodging debates since the March primary – saying he won’t participate until his Democratic challenger releases all of his income tax returns. Now, he says if White doesn’t provide the information by September 15th, there will be no debate.


Sep
01

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 9/1/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman may end up on a jury after all.

Iowa: The massive, nationwide egg recall has become an issue in the Iowa gubernatorial contest, as Republican Terry Branstad has denounced the Democratic AG Tom Miller of cutting a deal with Jack DeCoster – the egg producer identified as a ‘habitual violator’ of state environmental laws – and linking that leniency to a $10,000 campaign donation to Miller. Miller claims Branstad’s got the facts wrong – but has returned the campaign donation. Governor Chet Culver has tried to pass the oversight responsibility off to the feds.

Maine: Independent guber wannabe Elliot Cutler is finding a middle ground when it comes to environmental policy in the Pine Tree State. He doesn’t support rolling back the state’s environmental regulations but he does want to eliminate the Board of Environmental Protection – whose 10 citizen members are an obstacle blocking  Maine’s economic growth.

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is looking for votes in unexpected places in his rematch against Gov. Martin O’Malley, the WaPo reports.

Michigan: The Tea Party of Michigan is appealing last week’s court decision that blocked the party from fielding candidates on November’s ballot. The party, which Republicans criticize as a Democratic Party-inspired effort to drain votes from GOP candidates, was tossed from the ballot because the font on the party’s petitions was the incorrect size for the “THE” in the party’s name.

Minnesota: After backing Republican Tim Pawlenty’s successful gubernatorial bids in 2002 and 2006, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis switched parties this time around and is backing DFL nominee Mark Dayton.

Nevada: GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle is questioning why GOP guber nominee Brian Sandoval didn’t stand up to former Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2003 when the governor challenged a voter-passed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. It’s not usually a good thing to see separation between a party’s top nominees on a statewide ballot, but Sandoval may not mind having some distance between himself and Angle as he aims for support from the middle.

New Mexico: GOP nominee Susana Martinez is vowing to repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana law if she’s elected governor.

South Carolina: Democrat Vincent Sheheen has proposed a series of five Lincoln-Douglas debates with Republican nominee Nikki Haley.

Texas: Democrat Bill White is hoping to tap into some of the anti-incumbent anger roiling the nation this year by calling for a referendum to limit the Lone Star State governor to two four-year terms. Could it be the tactic that reminds people of just how long Rick Perry has been sitting pretty in the Austin Governor’s Mansion? It didn’t work for Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary, but could it resonate among the broader electorate?

Vermont: While GOP guber nominee Brian Dubie awaits the winner of the Democratic recount he hasn’t shied away from attacking all the Democrats still standing as ‘pro-tax’ and has challenged the eventual winner to a series of a dozen debates. In the meantime, the Democrats have unified – and are campaigning together as they await the recount.

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
26

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 8/26/10

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Hawaii: Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann picked up the backing of two of his former colleagues as the mayors of Kauai and the Big Island endorsed his guber primary bid. His opponent, former US Rep. Neil Abercrombie also picked up the support of a former colleague, as former Rep. Ed Case endorsed him.

Illinois: Tea Party in Obama’s home town? Republican Bill Brady’s campaign manager is helping fund Tea Party groups across Illinois.

Michigan: GOP guber nominee Rick Snyder – a former board member of The Nature Conservancy – has come under fire from some environmental groups over his selection of Brian Calley as his Light Guv dance partner.

New Hampshire: Gov. John Lynch has amassed an impressive $1.3 million campaign fundraising haul, although more than a third ($500K) has come from a personal loan made to his own campaign. Republican John Stephen has raised just under $1 million. Both have over $700K in the bank for the final two months of the campaign, although Stephen does have a competitive primary to win first on September 14th.

Oklahoma: Guber wannabes Mary Fallin and Jari Askins have agreed to two October debates.

Rhode Island: Former GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee – now running for governor as an independent – picked up the support of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Educators Association. The endorsement follows the lead of the state’s other major teachers union, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals – which backed Chafee in July.

South Carolina: More than thirty Palmetto State mayors endorsed Democrat Vincent Sheheen’s gubernatorial campaign, saying he would better listen to the needs of local leaders than would his opponent, Nikki Haley.

Aug
21

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 8/21/10

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California: At what point does a candidate become overexposed? The Jerry Brown camp has polling numbers saying MegaBucks Whitman’s saturation of the Golden State’s TeeVees has started a backlash among voters.

Florida: Even if Bill McCollum survives this Tuesday’s guber primary slugfest, the RPOF will turn to the general election campaign in a financially distressed state. Their federal campaign finance account which typically funds GOTV efforts, has been drained as the party establishment has poured everything into salvaging McCollum’s candidacy.

Illinois: Accidental Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign continues to unravel. It’s now parted ways with David Axelrod’s media firm.

Maryland: Trying to have it both ways. Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich has taken to touring the state criticizing over-regulation and government’s role in hindering economic growth but when a questioner points out some of the system he’s complaining about were signed into law by Ehrlich himself, he avoids the query and attacks the questioner.

Massachusetts: Sensing danger in the media’s recent midterm tea leaf reading, the White House is denying that Gov. Deval Patrick’s re-election effort is any sort of bellwhether for Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Oregon: The debate about debates between John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley continues. The Democrat wants a series of seven encounters while the former NBA Trail Blazer has accepted four – although the four he wants aren’t necessarily the Kitz wants. Round and round it goes as Oregon’s budget hole grows larger.

Pennsylvania: During the Democratic primary Philadelphia-area state senator Anthony Williams set Keystone State fundraising and spending records when a trio of school voucher proponents donated millions to his campaign. When Williams officially endorsed Democratic nominee Dan Onorato, many wondered whether those donors would open their checkbooks once again. It appears they haven’t.

Vermont: Brian Dubie makes it easier for his eventual Democratic opponent to run against the Dubya legacy.