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 Labor

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
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
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
01

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 9/1/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman may end up on a jury after all.

Iowa: The massive, nationwide egg recall has become an issue in the Iowa gubernatorial contest, as Republican Terry Branstad has denounced the Democratic AG Tom Miller of cutting a deal with Jack DeCoster – the egg producer identified as a ‘habitual violator’ of state environmental laws – and linking that leniency to a $10,000 campaign donation to Miller. Miller claims Branstad’s got the facts wrong – but has returned the campaign donation. Governor Chet Culver has tried to pass the oversight responsibility off to the feds.

Maine: Independent guber wannabe Elliot Cutler is finding a middle ground when it comes to environmental policy in the Pine Tree State. He doesn’t support rolling back the state’s environmental regulations but he does want to eliminate the Board of Environmental Protection – whose 10 citizen members are an obstacle blocking  Maine’s economic growth.

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is looking for votes in unexpected places in his rematch against Gov. Martin O’Malley, the WaPo reports.

Michigan: The Tea Party of Michigan is appealing last week’s court decision that blocked the party from fielding candidates on November’s ballot. The party, which Republicans criticize as a Democratic Party-inspired effort to drain votes from GOP candidates, was tossed from the ballot because the font on the party’s petitions was the incorrect size for the “THE” in the party’s name.

Minnesota: After backing Republican Tim Pawlenty’s successful gubernatorial bids in 2002 and 2006, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis switched parties this time around and is backing DFL nominee Mark Dayton.

Nevada: GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle is questioning why GOP guber nominee Brian Sandoval didn’t stand up to former Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2003 when the governor challenged a voter-passed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. It’s not usually a good thing to see separation between a party’s top nominees on a statewide ballot, but Sandoval may not mind having some distance between himself and Angle as he aims for support from the middle.

New Mexico: GOP nominee Susana Martinez is vowing to repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana law if she’s elected governor.

South Carolina: Democrat Vincent Sheheen has proposed a series of five Lincoln-Douglas debates with Republican nominee Nikki Haley.

Texas: Democrat Bill White is hoping to tap into some of the anti-incumbent anger roiling the nation this year by calling for a referendum to limit the Lone Star State governor to two four-year terms. Could it be the tactic that reminds people of just how long Rick Perry has been sitting pretty in the Austin Governor’s Mansion? It didn’t work for Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary, but could it resonate among the broader electorate?

Vermont: While GOP guber nominee Brian Dubie awaits the winner of the Democratic recount he hasn’t shied away from attacking all the Democrats still standing as ‘pro-tax’ and has challenged the eventual winner to a series of a dozen debates. In the meantime, the Democrats have unified – and are campaigning together as they await the recount.

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.

Aug
01

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 8/1/10

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Florida: Bill McCollum’s quest to prove his social conservative bona fides continues – he’s received the backing of former presidential candidate and family values stalwart Gary Bauer.

Hawai’i: The state’s largest private sector construction union, the 7,000 member Carpenters Union endorsed Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s guber bid in the Democratic Primary. His opponent, former US Rep. Neil Abercrombie, received the backing of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association.

Minnesota: Margaret Anderson Kelliher received the endorsement of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato reports raising more than $3.3 million since he won the May primary.

Vermont: The Professional Firefighters of Vermont endorsed Republican Brian Dubie.

Wisconsin: President Obama is going to be spending a lot of the dog days of August on the campaign and fundraising circuit. He’ll be in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. He’ll also be in Milwaukee August 16th to host an economic event and headline a fundraiser for Democratic guber wannabe Tom Barrett.

Jul
11

Guber Quick Hits, Sun 7/11/10

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Connecticut: Democrat Ned Lamont wanted as many debates as possible back in 2006 when he was challenging Sen. Joe Lieberman. Now he’s the frontrunner for the Democratic guber nod and he has backed out of a previously-scheduled televised debate against Dannell Malloy. He argues he’s appeared at numerous joint forums during the primary campaign and doesn’t see the need to appear at the debate. When your a wealthy candidate who can puff up your image and get your message out with campaign commercials, risking a public gaffe when the voters are actually paying attention (and the cameras are rolling) doesn’t seem worth the risk, apparently.

Michigan: The Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Democrat Andy Dillon’s gubernatorial bid. But the MI House Speaker may have a difficult path to a general election victory if he wins the Dem nod.  The president of the Michigan AFL-CIO is warning that the state’s labor  movement may not unite behind a Dillon candidacy.

Rhode Island: The Moderate Party of Rhode Island has sued the state to block the release of public campaign cash to the Democrats and Republicans arguing the distribution formula amounts to an unfair subsidy to the major parties. As a newly-recognized political party, the Moderates don’t stand to receive any funding.

South Carolina: Palmetto State Dems are borrowing a (failed) line of attack used by John McCain against Obama in 2008. They’re going after GOP guber nominee Nikki Haley’s ‘celebrity‘ status, a rather silly and pointless exercise, in my opinion.

Tennessee: Three weeks before the GOP primary, the Knoxville News Sentinel makes its editorial pick – backing hometown favorite son Mayor Bill Haslam.

Jun
24

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 6/24/10

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Alabama: Third-place finisher Tim James endorsed second-place finisher Robert Bentley in the GOP guber run-off against Bradley Byrne.

Connecticut: The Nutmeg State’s largest teachers’ union, the 40,000-member Connecticut Education Association endorsed Democrat Ned Lamont in the guber primary.

Michigan: Moderate Rep. Vern Ehlers has endorsed his more conservative colleague Pete Hoekstra’s guber campaign, as polls show Hoekstra losing ground to a surging Mike Cox.

Minnesota: Former DFL guber wannabe Susan Gaertner is backing former House minority leader Matt Entenza over DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

Nevada: Political journalist Jon Ralston asks whether Nevadans will see any substance during this campaign when so much is at stake?

Nevada II: Silver State lawmakers have approved funding for the official portrait of Gov. Jim Gibbons despite being totally broke.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie says he’s happy in Trenton and isn’t planning on pursuing national ambitions in 2012.

New York: Long-shot GOP guber wannabe Carl Paladino certainly likes controversy. He’s now calling Gov. David Paterson a life-long drug addict.

Ohio: Republican John Kasich may have made a huge strategic blunder by attacking Ted Strickland’s humble beginnings in rural Appalachian Ohio.

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.