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 Kentucky

Dec
29

PollWatch: PPP Ranks the Gubers

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Public Policy Polling provides a run-down of the gubernatorial polling they’ve done throughout 2010.

The nation’s most popular (of the 30 polled by the PPP gang) is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin – who’s now ducking votes as a Senator in DC. The least popular is California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been making noise about wanting to move east to work on green issues at the federal level.

Of the governors up for re-election in 2011-12, Democratic incumbents Steve Beshear (KY) and Jay Nixon (MO) are looking pretty good at this point, as is Republican Bobby Jindal (LA). North Carolina’s Bev Perdue could be facing a tough reelection battle, especially considering how the GOP flipped the state legislature in the 2010 GOP tsunami.

Looking back, it could be argued that unpopular incumbent governors could’ve been a drag on their party’s nominees in the 2010 contests. PPP observes:

-Four Governors ended the year (and their terms) in the under 30% approval club. The least popular in the country at least in our polling is Arnold Schwarzenegger at a -38 spread (25/63). The other folks reaching this unwelcome unpopularity level are Bill Richardson at a -37 spread, Jim Gibbons at a -36, and John Baldacci at -29. It’s not a coincidence that 3 out of 4 of these guys saw the Governor’s office in their state flip to the other party last month.

Jul
30

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 7/30/10

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Florida: President Obama will be headlining an August 18th fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel. Unlike in Georgia where Democratic guber nominee Roy Barnes is keeping his distance from the president when he’s in Atlanta this Monday, Alex Sink will be on the stage with the president, who will be in South Florida after spending some vacay time with the First Family on the Gulf Coast.

Kentucky: Democrat Steve Beshear has his first Republican challenger of the 2011 campaign. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett is hoping to win Tea Party support and is a ardent supporter of charter schools.

Nevada: Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who once toyed with running for governor as an independent himself, has chosen to remain silent about whether he supports Republican Brian Sandoval or Democrat Rory (the younger) Reid for governor, despite endorsing Harry (the Elder) Reid in the state’s mega-wattage Senate race.

Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland is another Democrat embracing the president on the campaign trail, as he will be appearing with the president when he delivers a speech on the economy and headlines an August 18th fundraiser.

Wisconsin: GOP guber wannabes Scott Walker and Mark Neumann will be meeting in at least two debates in August before the September primary.

Jul
28

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 7/28/10

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California: Less than a month after ending furloughs for state workers, the Governator is bringing them back saying they’re here to stay until there’s a budget deal, which is now 28 days late.

Kentucky: Bluegrass State voters won’t be voting for governor until 2011, but Republicans are jockeying for position to take on Democrat Steve Beshear despite his impressive $2 million campaign warchest.

Maine: A minor skirmish has broken out over comments Republican Paul LePage made that were interpreted as a slam on Democratic nominee Libby Mitchell’s age.

Oklahoma: Could a last-minute endorsement by legendary football coach Barry Switzer have powered Lt. Gov. Jari Askins’ surprising victory over front-runner Drew Edmondson in the Democratic primary?

South Carolina: Democrat Vincent Sheheen is beefing up his campaign team as he ramps up his effort to defeat the Palmetto Mama Grizzly, Nikki Haley.

Tennessee: As one of his opponents walks back talk of secession and another tries to explain what he meant when he called Islam a “cult,” Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announces a long slate of elected officials from across Tennessee who are supporting his gubernatorial run. He’s the best-financed and leading in all the polls – will sanity prevail on election day?

Jul
20

Guber Quick Hits, Tues 7/20/10

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Iowa: GOP guber nominee Terry Branstad is setting a frantic fundraising pace, as he’s raised $2.1 million in six weeks, although at least $500K is from Uncle Haley’s RGA.  But Branstad isn’t the only Hawkeye feeling the national love. A full third of the money incumbent Gov. Chet Culver has raised since 2009 has come from the DGA.

Kansas: Sam Brownback is cruising to the Republican gubernatorial nomination according to a new Survey USA poll. The most surprising thing is that Joan Heffington is actually garnering almost 20% of GOP primary voters. It begs the question, “what’s the matter with Kansas?”

Kentucky: Bluegrass State voters won’t be electing a governor until 2011, but rumors are already circulating about potential GOP candidates who might take on Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear.

Maryland: Everyone who’s anyone in Maryland politics will be on the Eastern Shore Wednesday at the 34th annual J. Millard Crab & Clam Bake in Crisfield.

Michigan: GOP guber wannabe Pete Hoekstra is joining Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party caucus.

Minnesota: The state chapter of the National Organization for Women, which had earlier endorsed Matt Entenza in the DFL guber primary contest, decided to add Margaret Anderson Kelliher to their endorsement slate. It seems strange that if they had planned on multiple endorsements all along, why weren’t they announced at the same time?

Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland picked up the support of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio in his reelection effort.

Texas: President Obama is planning a Lone Star State fundraising road trip to Houston and Austin. Gubernatorial candidate Bill White won’t be at his side, as his spokeswoman says the former Houston mayor’s schedule that week is “jam packed.”

Jul
08

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/8/10

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Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell “visibly squirmed” when asked which candidate he supported in Alaska’s GOP US Senate primary. Could he be afraid of incurring the Wrath of Palin if he voiced support for incumbent Lisa Murkowski over Sarah’s preferred candidate?

California: The political game of “chicken” that defines the dysfunctional Golden State’s annual budget stalemate has led to the state controller suing to block the governor from reducing every state employee’s pay to the federal minimum wage. Is it time for one of the guber wannabes to step up and offer a solution to this year’s installment of “The Waiting Game” or are they content to keep their fingers crossed that some magical elixir will wash away all the debt?

Florida: Multi-millionaire Rick Scott has filed a lawsuit against Florida’s campaign finance system’s “millionaire’s amendment” as a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. The amendment, which kicks in if Scott spends over the $24.9  million cap for the primary, seems to be pretty expensive free speech, if you ask me.

Hawaii: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports a gay tourist boycott of the Aloha State may materialize in response to Gov. Linda Lingle’s veto of the civil unions bill.

Kentucky: PPP is out with an early look at Democrat Steve Beshear’s reelection chances. Voters appear apathetic about the governor’s job performance (38% approve, 35% disapprove, 26% with no opinion) and is in virtual dead heats against potential GOP challengers.

New York: Accidental Gov. David Paterson is praising Democratic Light Guv candidate Bob Duffy as an “outstanding choice” who would be a superb governor if he had to unexpectedly become the Empire State’s chief executive. But let’s be honest here, Paterson hasn’t set the expectations bar very high.

Ohio: Tonight’s the night of reckoning. LeBron decides whether he stays in Cleveland or abandons his hometown Cavaliers. If he leaves does that inflict a mortal wound on Republican John Kasich who dismissed the King’s importance? Or does Ted Strickland get blamed for not doing enough to keep LeBron home (maybe they could build a border fence or something?)

Oregon: The Independent Party of Oregon’s 55,000 members have begun receiving notices in the mail providing them information as to how to log on and participate in the state’s first primary election for a minor party.

Pennsylvania: Democratic nominee Dan Onorato is trumpeting an impressive $1 million raised over the past month.

Not since President Obama took on the entire GOP House delegation back in January has there been live political theater like Kentucky GOP nominee Rand Paul’s appearance on Rachel Maddow last night.

Paul seems to think the discussion of race in this nation is purely theoretical, an intellectual exercise with no real world applications.  I knew I was in for a humdinger of an interview once he rambled into how Boston made desegregation illegal in the 1840s, somehow thinking that erased the racial discrimination in New England 120 years before the Civil Rights Act. Say what?

Democrats must be licking their chops over a suddenly more attractive pick-up opportunity and Mitch McConnell must be second-guessing himself over bullying Bunning out of the Senate.

and it just went on and on and on….Paul did his best to make the hole he was in even deeper. Read More→

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