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 Michigan

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
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
27

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.

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.

Aug
07

Pollapalooza Saturday

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Georgia: This Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial runoff between Sarah Palin’s Karen Handel and Mike Huckabee’s Nathan Deal is too close to call, according to a new poll by InsiderAdvantage. The two are tied with 46% of the vote, with 8% still undecided. (Polling conducted 8/5, 514 Likely GA Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

Michigan: The voters had barely finished casting their ballots in the Wolverine State gubernatorial primaries when Razzmatazz Reports took their first snapshot of the general election contest between Democrat Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder.  The GOP businessman leads the Lansing mayor 49%-37%. The 12-point margin is unchanged from the one previous look the same pollster took at the then-hypothetical matchup in early June, when Snyder led 42%-30%. (Polling conducted 8/4, 500 Likely MI Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Rhode Island: A new Brown University survey of the Ocean State’s three-way gubernatorial contest finds Democrat Frank Caprio and Independent Lincoln Chafee in a virtual tie with Caprio at 28% and Chafee at 27%. Republican John Robitaille is a virtual non-factor in the contest garnering only 8%. Nearly a third of respondents remain undecided. (Polling conducted 7/27-30, 702 RI voters, MoE +/-3.7%)

South Dakota: The prolific gang over at RazzleDazzle Reports takes another look at the South Dakota race and find Republican Dennis Daugaard opening a more than two-to-one advantage over Democratic challenger Scott Heidepriem, 59%-27%. It has been nearly four decades since a Democrat won there, but can the gap really be that big? (Polling conducted 8/3, 500 Likely SD Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

Jul
30

MI: The Politics of Bailouts

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President Obama visited Detroit today in an effort to reshape the public perception about one of his administration’s most contentious policies – the government takeover of Chrysler and GM.

Is it a coincidence that he’s in the state the weekend before the state’s voters go to the polls in next Tuesday’s primary? The open seat governor’s mansion has been rated as a prime Republican pick-up opportunity given the state’s economic “Lost Decade,” where the once-proud industrial behemoth had suffered the wrenching decline of its manufacturing sector. Could the president’s use of the bully pulpit change that calculus?

On the stump he’s trumpeting the dramatic turnaround of the once-teetering auto giants – a message of hope unfamiliar to Michiganders who’ve grown accustomed to depressing economic news over the past decade. The state no longer tops the nation in unemployment rate and the auto industry is hiring new employees – and even working through the traditional summer shutdown period.

A forceful case can be made that the president’s leadership has saved the auto industry (and the state of Michigan) from a prolonged depression. If the president can explain how this is a validation of Democratic economic philosophy of strategic and limited intervention that helped the middle class he may rewrite the narrative in the Michigan gubernatorial contest.

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Jul
24

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 7/24/10

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Connecticut: Ted Kennedy, Jr is appearing in a campaign commercial supporting Ned Lamont’s gubernatorial bid.  He also received the backing of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus.

Michigan: With the August 3rd primaries rapidly approaching Michigan politicians are making their picks.  Detroit Mayor Dave Bing endorsed House Speaker Andy Dillon on the Democratic side while former Gov. William Milliken backed Rick Snyder in the crowded GOP field. Rep. Pete Hoekstra received the backing of the 90,000-member Teamsters union. Even ‘Joe the Plumber’ has weighed in on the GOP race, picking Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who has also won the support of Michigan’s political GOP spouses.

Rhode Island: Frank Caprio’s guber campaign is calling in one of the Democratic Party’s biggest headliners, former President Bill Clinton. Caprio’s path to the Democratic nod was cleared recently when AG Patrick Lynch abandoned his bid but he still has a tough three candidate contest ahead against Republican John Robitaille and Independent Linc Chafee.

Tennessee: Guber wannabe Zach Wamp says that if the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections don’t go the right way, states may have to consider seceding from the union over healthcare mandates.

Wisconsin: A week ago, Democrat Tom Barrett was touting his 2010 fundraising haul as the best in state history. Turns out Republican rival Scott Walker is raking in the cash at a slightly faster pace. Walker’s $2.5 million bested Barrett’s $2.4M. The Democrat, who unlike Walker, has no significant primary opposition, can take comfort in the fact he’s got more money stashed in the bank.

Jul
21

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 7/21/10

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Colorado: As Rocky Mountain Republicans ponder how to clean up the mess that is their gubernatorial contest, independent candidate Jason Clark is trying to become a viable alternative. It’s quite a step up from advertising on Craig’s List for a Light Guv running mate.

Hawai’i: Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman finally resigned as mayor and officially launched his gubernatorial bid against Democratic rival Neil Abercrombie. It’s a rivalry that’s been around for quite a long time – the former Congressman defeated Hannemann in a Democratic primary for his old House seat way back in 1986.

Massachusetts: Did Deval Patrick pull “a Sanford?”

Massachusetts II: Could Tim Cahill resurrect his floundering guber candidacy by winning over social conservatives? In a move that only hurts GOP guber wannabe Charlie Baker, an anti-abortion group, Massachusetts Citizens for Life backed Cahill’s independent bid.

Michigan: Former GOP Rep. Joe Schwarz, who had flirted with an indie guber run this year, has backed the “nerd” in the GOP primary, former Gateway exec Rick Snyder. He also urged Democrats to cross-over and participate in the Republican contest, despite the presence of a race between Andy Dillon and Virg Bernero on the Democratic side.

Nebraska: In the ‘why did they bother? file’  RazzleDazzle Polling reports that GOP incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman has a commanding lead over Democratic sacrificial lamb Mike Meister, who only became a candidate in the heavily Republican state within the last 10 days after the party’s nominee dropped his bid.

Pennsylvania: After hiding in his bunker for eleven days, GOP guber nominee Tom Corbett finally addressed his controversial comments on the long-term unemployed in a public forum.

South Carolina: They’re playing the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” tax return game in South Carolina. Democrat Vince Sheheen has released ten years of his returns and has challenged Nikki Haley to do the same.

West Virginia: According to the WaPo’s Fix, the maneuvering to replace Gov. Manchin has begun in earnest. With no Light Gov-in-waiting, the Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin will be replace him if he wins the special US Senate race this November. How long he will serve is unknown, as state law requires a special election but is vague on when it should be held once a vacancy occurs.