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 Endorsements

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
13

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 10/13/10

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Florida: The Republican chair of the Florida Public Service Commission Nancy Argenziano burned more than a few bridges as she left office three months early to endorse Democrat Alex Sink’s guber bid. She didn’t mince words about Rick Scott (he’ll increase energy rates), her fellow Republicans (they’re “clowns”) and the PSC (a “fetid pit”). Just to make sure she’s persona non grata in GOP circles, she also backed Charlie Crist’s indy run for US Senate.

Georgia: Is this too much ‘inside baseball?’ Democrat Roy Barnes is claiming Nathan Deal’s campaign collected contributions from groups of companies and political committees that are affiliated with one  another and each group may legally give only $6,100 per election. The Barnes campaign is demanding Deal return nearly $137K as a result.

Illinois: Vice President Joe Biden spent yesterday campaigning with Gov. Pat Quinn at a rally dubbed “Putting Illinois Back to Work.”

Iowa: Democrats appear to be holding their own in absentee voting, compared with the absentee totals from 2006.

Maryland: Martin O’Malley is one of the Democratic incumbents not afraid to embrace his party’s heritage. Last week, it was President Obama making an appearance at an O’Malley campaign event. Next up is former President Bill Clinton, who will be helping raise money and headlining a Baltimore campaign rally.

Massachusetts: One of Republican challenger Charlie Baker’s central attack lines on Gov. Deval Patrick has been that he’s in the pockets of the state’s labor unions. This might explain why he isn’t trumpeting the endorsement he’s just received from the State Police Association, even though it would burnish the ‘law and order’ credentials politicians often seek.

Tennessee: Front-running Republican Bill Haslam continues pouring his personal fortune into his gubernatorial campaign, while his Democratic rival Mike McWherter isn’t as willing to invest more of his personal wealth into the contest. 

Texas: When does all of this big donor payback stuff begin to hurt Rick Perry among those enraged Tea Party types?

Utah: It appears ads attacking Democratic challenger Peter Corroon have been produced and focused grouped but nixed by Gov. Gary Herbert. One wonders if that simply reveals confidence in the polls showing the incumbent comfortably ahead, or a true desire to take the ethical high road?

Vermont: As tests reveal that radioactive leaks from the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear plant may have contaminated drinking water, Democrat Peter Shumlin is stepping up his demands that the plant owner must move more quickly on cleaning up the damage. He’s trying to make it one of the defining issues between himself and Republican guber nominee Brian Dubie.

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
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.

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
06

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 9/6/10

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Alabama: Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Ron Sparks is raising eyebrows over his comments supporting the reelection of Republican Richard Shelby to the US Senate.

Hawaii: The gubernatorial contest is taking on a religious tone, as Hawaii GOP chairman Jonah Kaauwai asked local pastors to bar Democrat Mufi Hannemann from public appearances in their churches.

Idaho: Republicans in the state legislature are trying to minimize the role Democratic guber wannabe Keith Allred played in a 2006 property tax reform effort that resulted in most Idahoans paying lower property taxes. Are they worried that Allred could actually be a contender to upset incumbent Butch Otter?

Maryland: As Maryland voters begin early voting in next week’s primary, Bob Ehrlich’s campaign is pointing to a surge in fundraising during the most recent eighteen-day reporting period as evidence his candidacy is gaining momentum. Despite raising nearly $500K more than the incumbent O’Malley, the Democrat still holds a nearly 3-to-1 advantage in cash on hand.

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker is calling in the GOP heavy hitters to help raise money for his guber bid. Maverick (that’s a good thing in the Bay State, even if it caused him headaches in his reelection) John McCain and wonderboy and fellow Massachusetts politico Sen. Scott Brown are both headlining an Oct. 1 fundraiser in Boston.

Michigan: Former Gateway exec Rick Snyder poured $6 million of his own fortune into buying the GOP guber nod. His total spending of $7.6 million was roughly equal to what all the other campaigns spent combined.

Nevada: Bush’s Rasputin is riding to the GOP’s rescue in the Silver State, where Republicans keep finding ways to fumble their mid-term advantage to the Democrats. Can his infusion of cash and television ads push GOP to wins over the Reid mini-dynasty?

South Carolina: When it comes to the gubernatorial race, pro-choice voters don’t have a choice.

South Dakota: South Dakota politicians have a history of living life in the fast-lane – literally. Former Gov. Bill Janklow spent time in prison for vehicular manslaughter because he was driving too fast. This year’s crop of candidates include quite a few who like to push the pedal to the metal, including both guber contenders.

Wyoming: GOP guber nominee Matt Mead spent an eye-popping (by Wyoming standards, at least) $1.4 million to win the GOP primary.

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.

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.