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 Idaho


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.


Guber Quick Hits, Tues 8/31/10

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Arkansas: Wealthy businessman (and GOP guber wannabe) Jim Keet has been dodged over the past week by tax questions. Among other offenses, he admitted to taking a property exemption to which he wasn’t entitled. But perhaps his biggest offense wasn’t the avoidance of taxes, but the way he blamed everyone else – including his wife – for the mistakes.

California: Now that she’s actually registered to vote, MegaBucks Whitman found herself in the Redwood City jury pool and spent Monday afternoon as a potential juror. I wasn’t aware that royalty were required to dirty themselves with such proletarian tasks.

Idaho: Incumbent Gov. Butch Otter is hammering Democratic challenger Keith Allred’s lack of government experience, despite the national anti-insider political climate.

Nebraska: Anne Boyle – a longtime stalwart of Nebraska Democratic politics (a dying breed, perhaps?) – has joined the Democratic gubernatorial ticket as Mike Meister’s Light Guv dance partner and she’s come out swinging at Gov. Dave Heineman as a bully who has threatened to punish people who don’t support his political agenda.

Rhode Island: A cornerstone of Republican Victor Moffitt’s guber bid is a proposal to build a half-billion dollar aquarium in the Ocean State.

South Carolina: Republican Nikki Haley received the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America in her guber race against Vincent Sheheen.

Texas: More evidence that the GOP is using immigration as a mid-term election issue to mobilize the base – after the White House said President Obama wouldn’t be available to meet with Gov. Rick Perry one-on-one to discuss border security issues, the governor declined an offer to meet with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the White House’s top border security adviser to discuss border security concerns. It’s easier to grandstand and score political points than it is to sit down and work on solutions, I guess.

Utah: In Mormon-dominated Utah, Democratic guber wannabe Peter Corroon’s Light Guv running mate Sheryl Allen – a Republican and a Mormon - is accusing fellow Mormon Gov. Gary Herbert of using religion as a wedge issue in the gubernatorial race against Corroon, a Catholic.


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.


Pollapalooza Thursday

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Arkansas: A poll from Razzmattaz Reports shows a much closer race than the conventional wisdom anticipates for incumbent Democrat Mike Beebe. They’ve got little-known restauranteur Jim Keet within 10 points of the popular Democrat, at 50-40%. Before dismissing this poll, it should be noted this is the second public poll showing Beebe falling to the 50% threshold. Could the Democratic brand be dragging him down? (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 AR likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Florida: Public Policy Polling has Democrat Alex Sink ahead of both potential Republican candidates, Bill McCollum and Rick Scott. She leads the former congresscritter (and Clinton impeachment manager) McCollum, 37-23% and the former healthcare executive Scott, 36-30%. Former Democrat Bud Chiles, whose independent candidacy could pose a problem for Sink, is currently polling in the mid-teens. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 900 FL voters, MoE +/- 3.26%)

The Democrat’s lead may be more a function of the Republicans sinking rather than Sink rising. The intense, negative campaign being waged on Sunshine State television has seriously weakened both GOP candidates. Of the four candidates, only Sink boasts a net positive favorability rating. From PPP’s press release:

The Republican primary battle is taking its toll on both McCollum and Scott. Both candidates are undoubtedly better known than Sink, but it is not necessarily in their favor. 41% of Florida voters have an unfavorable opinion of Scott and 51% have an unfavorable opinion of McCollum.

Georgia: The busiest pollster in America has a quick look at the potential Georgia gubernatorial matchups. Only 24 hours after the primary ended (and the GOP run-off began), RazzleDazzle Reports that former congresscritter Nathan Deal is the stronger Republican against Democratic nominee Roy Barnes. Deal leads Barnes 49-43% while Karen Handel and Barnes are essentially tied, at 45-44%. (Polling conducted 7/21, 500 GA likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Idaho: Could Republican incumbent Butch Otter actually face a serious challenge from Democrat Keith Allred? Razzmattaz Reports – essentially the only polling outfit looking at the race in scarlet red Idaho – shows Allred creeping up on Otter. Two months ago he trailed by 22 points. He’s shaved 5 points off that deficit and now trails 53-37%. It’s also important to note that Allred has actually been outraising Otter. (Polling conducted 7/15, 500  ID likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Nevada: Will the son be paying for the sins of the father? It appears that while Reid the Elder may survive to serve another term in the US Senate, his kid Rory will be the Reid Silver State voters punish at the polls this November. PPP has dismal numbers for Reid the Younger in his gubernatorial contest against former federal judge Brian Sandoval, 52-38%. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 630 NV voters, MoE +/- 3.9%)

New York: Andrew Cuomo continues to be the safest bet for Democrats as they look toward the 2010 elections. A survey from RazzleDazzle Reports shows Cuomo holding a better than two-to-one advantage over both Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino. Cuomo, a well-known quantity in the Empire State remains astonishingly popular in a year where politicians of all stripes are targets of voter rage. He’s sporting a 64-33% favorable/unfavorable number. (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 NY likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)


Guber Quick Hits, Mon 7/19/10

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Connecticut: One of the state’s largest labor coalitions, the SEIU, is throwing its weight behind Democrat Dan Malloy in his primary contest against front-runner Ned Lamont.

Florida: The state Republican establishment continues it’s efforts to save the sinking guber campaign of Bill McCollum, with soon-to-be-senate president Mike Haridopolos chipping in $50K to McCollum’s Florida First Initiative 527.

Idaho: Democratic challenger Keith Allred is on the campaign trail holding a series of  ’town hall’ meetings with real voters. Incumbent Butch Otter has taken a starkly different approach in his reelection campaign, as he ducked the only public debate of the primary campaign.

Illinois: The two major party guber contenders start the second half of the year on equal financial footing.

Minnesota: The MN chapter of the National Organization for Women passed over Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the first woman to win a major-party guber nomination in the state, to endorse Matt Entenza.

Vermont: Democratic guber wannabe Peter Shumlin is getting support from medical providers because he’s the only candidate advocating a single-payer health care bill.

Wyoming: Democrat Dave Freudenthal explains his idea to sell state-controlled parcels of Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming: GOP guber candidate Ron Micheli is providing a new twist to the “compassionate conservative” label, as he finds himself embroiled in a controversy after writing a letter of support for a convicted rapist.

Over the weekend, the Idaho state Republican convention adopted a party platform that advocated a loyalty oath and a call for repeal of the 17th Amendment which provided for the direct election of US Senators.

Why, you may ask would they want to turn back the clock a century and return to a system that was fraught with patronage and back-room deals?

Proponents of repeal, including many gathered at the GOP convention, believe that making senators accountable to state legislatures would end runaway federal spending and give states a say in the affairs of the federal government.

It’s lost on me why these conservatives would put their faith in the state legislature over their faith in the individual voter.

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Guber Quick Hits, TGIF, 6/25/10

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Idaho: The idea of an independent state militia didn’t go over all that well when Oklahoma legislators contemplate it recently. But that’s not stopping delegates to the Idaho GOP state convo from possibly including a state militia plank in their party platform.

Illinois: Pat Quinn is losing his chief spokesman, who is taking a leave of absence to pursue political office in his own right.

Maine: State ethics officials are launching an investigation into who was behind a mysterious automated call the eve of the GOP guber primary that criticized Waterville Mayor Paul LePage on his stance regarding civil unions.

Massachusetts: Citing a scheduling conflict, Republican Charlie Baker won’t appear at a candidates’ forum focused on environmental issues. When offered a chance to name a new date, the campaign declined. Sounds more like ducking a potentially hostile crowd more than a scheduling problem.

New Hampshire: Republican John Stephen reported raising an impressive $664,795 between March and June. While that may seem like chump change to someone running in California or Florida, it’s serious money in the Granite State.

Oklahoma: Mary Fallin was recently named one of Palin’s “mama grizzlies.” Now she’s got another 2012 presidential contender, Tim Pawlenty, on the campaign trail with her.

Texas: Bill White got the backing  of Bill Clinton yesterday. Will the former president make a difference? Only if he gets out and stumps for White.

Democratic challenger Keith Allred may be a more serious challenger to incumbent Idaho Gov. Bruce Otter than would be expected in a Red State in a Red Year.

Allred out-raised Otter in the three week period following the May 10 primary and now has more cash in the bank.

Allred said in a news release that the recent fundraising report could carry over to his governing style, if he is elected.  “Not only are we raising more, but we’re spending less than Butch Otter’s campaign,” Allred said in a news release.  “I hope Idahoans are taking note: I’ll be running Idaho’s government in much the same way.”

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Guber Quick Hits, Sun 5/30/10

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Arizona: In a move that took Attorney General Terry Goddard by surprise, the former Maricopa County Attorney publicly announced Goddard was not a target of an investigation into a 2006 plea agreement with former state Treasurer David Peterson. The former prosecutor wanted to remove any suspicion that may have been hanging over Goddard’s run for governor. Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office refuted the statement, saying Goddard and other employees remained targets of the probe, which is now under review by the US Department of Justice’s Office of Public Integrity.

Connecticut: Dan Malloy, trailing Ned Lamont in the polls and unable to match the self-financing Greenwich millionaire’s deep pockets, has challenged his fellow Democrat to 17 debates. That’s one for every city or town that has daily newspaper in the Nutmeg State. That’s also more than one a week before the August 10th primary.

Hawaii: In perhaps the least surprising candidate announcement since last week when Andrew Cuomo jumped into the NY race, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann finally made it official. He’s running for the Democratic guber nomination against old rival Neil Abercrombie.

Idaho: If Butch Otter’s underwhelming victory over perennial candidate Rex Rammell brought hope to Democrat Keith Allred’s campaign, the news that Rammell won’t support the incumbent in November must have them dreaming of an upset. Their impressive fundraising pace means they’ll have the ability to go toe-to-toe with Otter financially.

Maryland: Meet Bob Ehrlich’s version of Joe the Plumber, Steve Kolbe. Perhaps aware of just how silly this story is, the Ehrlich campaign sought to distance themselves from the story while embracing it at the same time.

With cooked up press events dominating all levels of politics, Ehrlich was quick to point out that his campaign did not “manufacture” this one. “This event just occurred,” he said. This is unscheduled politics.”

Michigan I: Rep. Pete Hoekstra lifted one of John McCain’s (failed) talking points from the 2008 presidential campaign.

Michigan II: GOP candidate Rick Snyder is on the campaign trail touting  his nerdy version of “tough love” to Michigan business groups. It’s the end of the world as they know it.

Minnesota: DFLer Matt Entenza is the final major party guber hopeful to make his Light Guv running mate selection. He’s shaking up the race by going outside the political sphere and naming former TV  news anchor Robyne Robinson as his political dance partner.

New Mexico: Susana Martinez has received substantial backing (to the tune of $450,000) from a Swift Boat funder and his wife.

South Carolina: In the unfolding Nikki Haley “He said, she said” saga it’s getting harder to believe she’s telling the whole truth. Blogger Chris Folks has released phone records showing 600 phone calls between the two. The most suspicious – late at night, with some lasting until dawn – occurred in the summer of ’07.

South Dakota: Tea Party candidate Gordon Howie and his wife have received over $300K in farm subsidies over the past fifteen years. What was that about the evils of big government? I could see how his Tea Party supporters might have overlooked his failure to pay nearly $60K in property taxes. Starving the beast is one thing. Suckling from it is quite another.

Tennessee: GOP guber hopeful Zach Wamp does his best Schwarzenegger impersonation, pumps up the testosterone, and warns Tennessee voters to not elect a “sissy wannabe as your next governor.”


ID: The Lonesome Primary

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There’s not all that much to see here, at least guber-wise.

Incumbent Butch Otter does have what probably amounts to nothing more than token opposition in the GOP primary. Perennial candidate and rancher Rex Rammel and Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman are both challenging him from the right. They’re upset with Otter over his attempt to raise gas taxes and other driving fees to help fund transportation projects.

As one of the leaders of the healthcare lawsuit against the federal government, it might seem strange that there’s even any room on Otter’s right.

The one wrinkle in today’s polling may be what’s going on with the GOP primary for the 1st Congressional District. Does embattled establishment pick (at one time) and Palin-backed Vaughn Ward survive the plagiarism charges to take on Democrat Walt Minnick? Politico has an interesting story about how the Ward controversies (and one Tea Party group’s endorsement of Minnick) have splintered the Tea Party vote in the district.

Perhaps the only question looking at the guber results will be to see how the Tea Party turnout in the district affects the statewide contest.

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