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 Education

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.

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.

Alabama’s gubernatorial candidates are on the TeeVee airwaves and their choice of issues reveals the vast differences between the two major parties. The Democrat’s message is about investment and hope for a better future while the Republican opts to play on people’s fears, worry and frustration over

One of the issues Democrat Ron Sparks hopes can propel him to an unexpected victory in the Alabama gubernatorial contest against Republican Robert Bentley is the creation of a state lottery to help Alabama’s children pay for a college education. Bentley chooses to

In the Democrat’s ad, Sparks’ campaign plays a grainy clip of Bentley denouncing the idea of an education lottery making the argument that it’s not the government’s responsibility to provide a college education, nor does every child deserve to go to college. Sparks responds that every child deserves a chance.

Bentley, who emerged from a fractious GOP primary where one of his opponents, Tim James, garnered national attention with his “We Speak English Here” campaign ad, has chosen immigration as his post-Labor Day general election opening message airing across the state’s airwaves. To his credit, it’s a softer, more mature message, but it’s still built on fear, not hope.

Bentley also blames the problem of illegal immigration on voters’ favorite bogeyman – the federal government. There’s no question immigration is a federal issue – and state politicians (in the current economic and political climate there are both Republicans and Democrats running for governor across the country denouncing the federal failures on securing the borders) banging the drums on the issue in an election year is more about posturing and winning votes than anything else.

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Sep
03

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/3/10

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Alaska: Democrat Ethan Berkowitz received the endorsement of Alaska’s AFL-CIO.

California: The defense attorney in a high-profile child molestation trial has excused GOP guber wannabe Meg Whitman from the jury pool. The trial – which could take up to a month – would’ve forced Whitman to essentially abandon the campaign trail in the closing weeks of her race against Jerry Brown.

California II: MegaBucks Whitman’s $100 million dollar primary campaign still wasn’t the most expensive California campaign, when measured by cost-per-vote. The $65 per vote was $5 short of Al Checchi’s failed 1998 Democratic gubernatorial primary run.

Colorado: Tom Tancredo’s insurgent candidacy has raised $200K since he first announced in July.

Florida: Hoping to put the contentious immigration issue on the back burner, Hispanic Republicans are urging Rick Scott to put job creation and the economy at the center of his general election strategy.

Kansas: Former Flroida Gov. Jeb Bush joined Sam Brownback on the campaign trail this week.

Maryland: What’s a long-time foe of early voting to do when he’s on the ballot and early voting gets underway? If you’re Bob Ehrlich, you (kinda) accept the new reality and urge supporters to join you in voting early. If you’re one of his opponents, you don’t miss the opportunity to point out the former governor’s hypocrisy.

Nevada: According the WaPo’s Fix, the enthusiasm gap seen favoring Republican candidates during the current election cycle is widest in the Silver State, where Brian Sandoval and Rory Reid are tied among registered voters but Sandoval holds a wide (50-39%) lead among likely voters.

Oregon: John Kitzhaber has been falling behind GOP challenger Chris Dudley in amassing large checks from campaign donors. Kitzhaber is trying to close the gap by gathering big checks from labor groups, including a $100,000 check from AFSCME.

South Carolina: Conservative stalwart Sen. Jim DeMint has released a web video that challenges GOP guber nominee Nikki Haley on school choice. One of her signature issues as a legislator has been expanding parental choice in education but she recently said it would not be a priority for her if she becomes governor, surprising many conservatives. Is DeMint trying to get her back on point?

Utah: Democratic challenger Peter Corroon is raising impressive sums for a Utah Democrat, but he’s spending it nearly as fast as he brings it in.

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
23

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 8/23/10

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California: Elections have consequences. Meg Whitman has promised she will pursue the appeal of federal judge Vaughn Ward’s decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional.  Both current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic guber nominee (and current AG) Jerry Brown have refused to pursue an appeal and support the resumption of same-sex marriages.

Georgia: All is forgiven, apparently. The Georgia Association of Educators has endorsed former Gov. Roy Barnes’ campaign. Barnes was dumped from office in 2002 when teachers across the state abandoned him after he attempted reform that was wildly unpopular with them.

Illinois: Another departure for Pat Quinn’s struggling campaign. The other day, it was the Accidental Governor’s media firm. Today, it’s his chief of staff, who resigned after ethics questions were raised about political emails coming from his government account.

Maryland: It looks like there are limits to Sarah Palin’s magic. In deepest blue Maryland, even GOP primary voters don’t seem to be responding to her surprising guber endorsement.

Michigan: Mitt Romney endorsed GOP nominee Rick Snyder’s guber effort. The former (and future?) presidential hopeful had backed the wrong horse (Pete Hoekstra) in the GOP primary. As one of his (many) home states, having an ally in the governorship in Michigan could prove critical to Romney’s hopes of winning the 2012 GOP presidential sweepstakes.

Minnesota: Could Emmer marginalize himself? As the state most recently governed by a third party candidate (remember Jesse Ventura?), third party candidates for governor receive much more media attention (and voter support) than in many other states. This past Thursday, DFL nominee Mark Dayton and Independence Party nominee Tom Horner met in their first one-on-one guber debate. Emmer was off raising money. By ceding the stage to the two, does Emmer elevate Horner (a former moderate Republican) in the eyes of Minnesota voters? As Emmer and figures like Michele Bachmann pull their party to the fringe, could Horner become a more viable alternative for some disaffected voters?

Pennsylvania: Tea Party fave Sam Rohrer was easily defeated in May’s GOP guber primary by AG Tom Corbett but that isn’t stopping Rohrer’s supporters from launching a write-in campaign.

Aug
15

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 8/15/10

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California: The recent revelations about the scandalous salaries being earned in tiny and impoverished Bell, California have become another source of voter outrage at government waste. Both gubernatorial candidates have tried to spin the scandal to their own advantage. Now, the Orange County Register is revealing that AG Jerry Brown is entitled to a very generous annual pension – but no one is certain just how much.

Michigan: Sour grapes anyone? Pete Hoekstra is blaming his defeat in the GOP gubernatorial contest on Michigan Right to Life’s failure to endorse him and demanding that the anti-abortion organization’s director be fired.

Minnesota: Former Sen. Mark Dayton is rounding up the union support that went to defeated DFL rival Margaret Anderson Kelliher during the primary.

Oregon: “None of the above” was the winner in thirteen races decided in the Independent Party of Oregon’s online primary. The party seems to have a schizophrenic tendency to accompany it’s ‘throw the bums out’ mentality as they nominated former Gov. John Kitzhaber – a longtime health care reform advocate while simultaneously backing a congressional candidate who favors repealing the health care legislation and rejects Darwinism.

Pennsylvania: State Senator Anthony Williams – who set fundraising and spending records during the Democratic gubernatorial primary - endorsed nominee Dan Onorato who embraced some of Williams’  school voucher proposals. Will the well-heeled school choice backers who fueled Williams’ spending frenzy be as generous to Onorato?

Rhode Island: In the 3-way gubernatorial contest, union support is lining up behind the Democrat Frank Caprio. The latest to endorse the state treasurer is the 10,000 member Rhode Island chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Utah: Despite hosting a meet-and-greet for Democratic guber nominee Peter Corroon and his GOP light guv running mate Sheryl Allen, former Republican Olene Walker won’t be endorsing any candidate in this year’s gubernatorial contest.

Jun
18

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 6/18/10

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Arkansas: Republican guber wannabe Jim Keet is trying to make his campaign against incumbent Mike Beebe a referendum on President Obama. In a radio ad, he calls the governor Obama’s “silent partner” who has refused to oppose the president even when his policies hurt the Arkansas economy.

Maryland: Bob Ehrlich will soon leave his controversial Saturday morning call-in radio gig, but he’s found an able (and supportive) replacement – his wife Kendall.

Maryland II: Republicans preach the mantra of “local control” until they don’t like the decisions made locally. Bob Ehrlich wants to create a system where local school boards could be overruled if they reject charter school applications.

Nevada: Democratic guber wannabe Rory Reid thinks the state’s education system can be adequately funded without raising taxes. The leaders of the state’s teachers unions disagree.

New York: Carl Paladino is using a web poll to determine the name of his third party effort he wants to add to New York’s ballot. It’s a brilliant way to build his list – and identify people who may be willing to provide the signatures necessary to get his party on the ballot.

Oklahoma: Mary Fallin has been added to Sarah Palin’s list of “mama grizzlies.

Tennessee: Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam has raised $8 million for his guber bid, far out-pacing all other contenders.

Wisconsin: A coalition of Badger State Tea Party groups will not endorse either Republican guber candidate until after their Tea Party debate, scheduled for August 29th. Both Mark Neumann and Scott Walker plan to show up and beg for the nod.

May
06

Thursday’s Must Reads

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Virginia: The WaPo discusses the love-hate relationship Virginia politicians (mostly Republicans) have with Uncle Sam. They like to denounce federal deficits and stimulus packages but they’re the biggest pigs at the trough sucking up the cash. Did you know that ten cents of every dollar the federal government spends anywhere on Earth is spent in Virginia? I sure didn’t.

Ohio: Overlooked in the election results from Tuesday’s primaries was the surprisingly easy passage of State Issue 1 on the Buckeye State ballot. Belying the narrative that Americans are fed up with big government and stimulus spending, 60% of Ohio voters approved authorizing the state to issue $700 million in general-obligation bonds to keep the job-creating, high-tech Third Frontier investment program alive for three more years. Even GOP guber wannabe John Kasich had indicated he supported the program.

Huh? Hasn’t the GOP been telling us all along that government doesn’t create jobs?

Money Bombs Fizzle? – The Texas Tribune takes a look at campaign “money bombs” as a campaign tool. Sure, they raise money fast and often provide a media hit, but it’s not clear they translate into the one thing that matters: votes.

The Enthusiasm Gap Materializes: For months, we’ve heard about how conservatives and Republican voters are far more fired up to get out and vote in the 2010 midterms. Tuesday’s voting provided the first hard evidence that Democrats have a challenging task ahead – Democratic turnout was off nearly everywhere compared to the 2006 midterms.

It’s All About the Kids? – Harold Meyerson observes in the WaPo that  it’s students who are paying the highest price as states around the country make budget decisions. How do we build a 21st century workforce when we choose to shortchange our children’s future? Not only are we saddling future generations with unmanageable debt, we’re not giving them the tools to figure out how to deal with it. Meyerson writes:

One of the precious few points of consensus in our polarized land is that we need to do a better job educating our kids. But consensus, apparently, gets you only so far. In red states and blue, in urban, suburban and rural districts with unionized and non-unionized teachers, the story is the same: The worst recession since the 1930s is clobbering the nation’s schools.

Florida: Will the Man Without a Party wield his veto pen again? Pro-choice advocates could join teachers in the Charlie Crist Coalition if he does.

New Jersey: Former Gov. Jon Corzine’s decade long campaign finance spending spree has come to an end. It’s not sour grapes over being tossed from office last November that has caused him stop writing checks. It’s some of the clean government reforms he signed as governor may prohibit him, as the CEO of MF Holdings, to make contributions to Trenton officeholders.