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 DGA

Winning the Florida Governor’s Mansion would be a bright spot that could wash away a lot of the pain Democrats are expected to be feeling on November 3rd.  An Alex Sink victory in the critical battleground state would have redistricting and 2012 campaign implications.

From Chris Cillizza:

The Democratic Governors Association has transferred another $500,000 to the Florida Democratic Party, bringing its investment in the open seat gubernatorial race to $6 million.In addition to the latest cash infusion, DGA Chairman Jack Markell will be in the Sunshine State today to campaign with state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) in Broward County.

With all the attention and money being lavished on it, it’s no secret that Florida is perhaps Democrats’ top priority as a pickup opportunity at the gubernatorial level.

Not only has Florida been among the swingiest states in the last three presidential elections, it’s also slated to gain two seats in the 2011 reapportionment and whichever party controls the governorship will have significant say over the line drawing process.

Polling suggests that Sink and wealthy former health care CEO Rick Scott (R) are running neck and neck, and, despite Scott’s significant personal wealth, the Republican Governors Association has spent considerable money in the state and continues to fund ads bashing Sink.

The DGA’s continued investment in Florida — particularly in light of the RGA’s considerable cash edge in the final weeks of the campaign — make clear that the party is going for broke in the Sunshine State.

Categories : DGA, Florida
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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.

The national media and the cable chattering classes obsess over whether the US House will be led by a Speaker Boehner and whether a Republican wave can wash away the Democrats’ Senate majority in the November midterms. The Beltway-centric focus of the punditocracy’s groupthink overlooks the critical and undeniable importance of the races that will actually make a difference in the lives of average Americans for the next decade – the gubernatorial contests.

In today’s WaPo Dan Balz makes the point that with 24 open seat contests (many governors are bumping up against term limits) and only a handful of incumbents not facing serious challengers the partisan makeup of the nation’s gubernatorial map is likely to look much different than it does today.

~ Washington Post graphic (note: Minnesota is incorrectly colored blue, the incumbent Tim Pawlenty is a Republican)

The stakes for both parties couldn’t be higher, Balz writes:

Nick Ayers, the executive director of the Republican Governors Association, offers this preview of what’s at stake in the 37 gubernatorial races in November. Between now and Election Day, the association and its Democratic counterpart will be engaged in “a $100 million-plus chess match for control of the foundation of American politics for the next 10 years.”

If that sounds like hyperbole, it isn’t. The Washington political community is understandably obsessed with the battle for control of Congress that will play out between now and November and the implications for how President Obama may govern in the second half of his first term. But no one at this weekend’s summer meeting of the National Governors Association underestimates the potentially greater significance of the outcomes in the states this fall.

Everything from implications for redistricting to 2012 presidential politics to contrasting styles of Republican and Democratic governance that will be put before the American people will be affected by what happens in the races for governor. As Nathan Daschle, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, put it, “It’s the most important gubernatorial election in a generation.”

Daschle noted that many of the House seats that switch parties this November could shift back in two years. “Gubernatorial politics, particularly in a year like this, are long-term structural changes,” he said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates in many regions are buffeted by the same winds facing House and Senate Democrats and most prognosticators predict Republicans to pick up many Governor’s Mansions across the country.  The University of Minnesota recently raised the possibility the GOP could reach it’s highest gubernatorial total since the days of Warren Harding.

Democrats appear in trouble from coast-to-coast, but the party’s problems are particularly acute in the traditional presidential battlegrounds of the Midwest. Losing control across the swath of states stretching from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin through Michigan, Ohio and into Pennsylvania is a very real possibility. Congressional redistricting in these states with shrinking delegations will help shape the congressional majority for the coming decade.

While Republicans have turned to wealthy self-financers (Meg Whitman in California), embraced a crop of diverse female nominees (Nikki Haley in SC and Susana Martinez in NM), they’ve also seen fractious primaries, especially in Iowa. The Florida and Georgia primaries could derail GOP hopes of holding onto those burgeoning Southern states where the 2010 Census count will result in new congressional seats.

Beyond redistricting, the loss of governor’s mansions could undermine the Obama Administration in two ways. As Balz points out, it could make the 2012 electoral map much more challenging for the president as he seeks re-election. Republican governors (think Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004) were critical in helping George W. Bush’s presidential aspirations.

Additionally, there’s the specter of Republicans in state capitals across the country hindering the implementation of Obama’s Democratic agenda. As GOP governors and attorneys general have already shown regarding healthcare (and now immigration in Arizona), they can erect structural and legal obstacles to federal policies they oppose. Emboldened Republican governors (think Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie as prototypes), will be jockeying for a national spotlight to become the spokesperson – or leader – of the Republican opposition.


IL: AdMonitor – The DGA vs. The RGA

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The national gubernatorial organizations have joined the battle in the campaign between Democrat Pat Quinn and Republican Bill Brady with dueling ads.

With the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial dominating Illinois politics, the RGA has an obvious line of attack. Blagojevich’s presence in the daily headlines is a headache for Quinn. The more Illinois voters are reminded of the corruption that permeates their politics, the more it hurts incumbents.

They’ve launched two ads linking Quinn to his impeached predecessor. The second ad proclaims, “As governors, Quinn and Blagojevich have failed us.”

The Day After Tomorrow from Republican Governors Association on Vimeo.

For their part, the DGA has produced an Internet ad asking, “Where’s Bill Brady?” attacking Brady for  missing a majority of legislative votes thus far this year. Somehow, I think the RGA’s got the more powerful message at this point.

Categories : AdMonitor, DGA, Illinois, RGA
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DGA on Record Fundraising Pace

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Hotline reports (h/t SSP) the Democratic Governor’s Association raised $11.6 million over the first six months of 2009, an increase of $400,000 from the same period last year. With only two races this year (as opposed to 11 in 2008), the national organization should be pretty flush when defending the Democratic Governor’s Mansions in New Jersey and Virginia this fall. On the horizon, of course, is the intense 2010 battlefield, when 37 states will hold gubernatorial races.

“Our extraordinary fundraising demonstrates that the 2009 and 2010 governors’ races are at the center of the political landscape,” said MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer, chairman of the DGA. “The DGA is the only organization devoted exclusively to electing governors who will advance President Obama’s efforts to create jobs and fight for the middle class – while also working to ensure a fair redistricting process. Our donors reached deep to contribute, and we are grateful for their generosity. These results are even more impressive given the difficult fundraising climate, and builds on the strong foundation we have already laid to protect our majority.”

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