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 Minnesota

Oct
14

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 10/14/10

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California: It looks like Jerry Brown bumbled his way through a non-apology at the third and last debate against Meg Whitman. He mishandled the required “I’m sorry” so badly when the ‘Meg is a whore’ thing came up that he’s got NOW demanding the staffer who uttered the words be fired.

Georgia: Mike Huckabee will be returning to Atlanta for an Oct 21 Nathan Deal fundraiser.

Illinois: The money spigot is turned on in the final weeks of the closely fought gubernatorial contest. Since Oct. 4, both Bill Brady and Pat Quinn have raised over $1.3 milllion, with huge influxes coming from Haley’s RGA gang ($585K) for Brady and the SEIU ($750K) for Quinn.

Illinois II: Democrats are nervous that disgraced former Light Guv nominee Scott Lee Cohen (who’s mounting an independent guber candidacy) could siphon off black voters because of the visibility of his Light Guv dance partner, Baxter Swilley a longtime Democratic activist who could attract enough votes to the Cohen ticket to tip the race to downstate Republican Bill Brady.

Massachusetts: When Paul Loscocco decided to give up his position as independent Tim Cahill’s Light Guv dance partner it looked like Charlie Baker (who Loscocco endorsed as he jumped ship) would be the primary beneficiary as it looked like the gubernatorial contest would come down to a two-candidate choice between Baker and Gov. Deval Patrick. The controversy that has ensued, however, seems to be taking a toll on Baker.  A Suffolk University poll shows 17% of voters less likely to support Baker and 19% less likely to vote for Cahill. Winner? Patrick.

Minnesota: Is Minnesota the frontline of the GOP’s civil war? With a relatively robust history of viable third party candidates, the GOP’s lurch to the right has provided an opportunity for Tom Horner – a former GOP legislator to mount a credible run for governor on the Independence Party line. He’s attracting a significant amount of support from former Republican officeholders whose public endorsements are meant to send a message to a rightward marching state GOP – ‘watch your middle.’

New Mexico: One of Republican guber nominee Susana Martinez’s biggest donations came from Clayton Williams Energy – an oil and gas company in Midland, TX. Clayton Williams once ran – and lost – a Texas gubernatorial race against Democrat Ann Richards – a campaign where he gained notoriety for his sexist sense of humor when he told a “joke” about rape. Seizing an opportunity, Democrat Diane Denish’s campaign demanded Martinez return the $15,000 donation. Martinez quickly redirected the $20,000 from Williams and his interests to a rape crisis center.

Rhode Island: In a development that threatens to derail Lincoln Chafee’s independent run for governor, the former US Senator’s campaign manager has resigned after acknowledging he received unemployment checks while he was on the campaign payroll. This comes after news Chafee’s Senate campaign had failed to pay taxes for five years.

South Carolina: Blogger Will Folks is back. Nikki Haley is “refusing to sign a sworn affidavit offering her version of the “truth” pertaining to a pair of claims that she had romantic encounters outside the bounds of her 13-year marriage.”

Texas: The spokeswoman for former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina – who briefly made national headlines in a meteoric rise (and crash on Glenn Beck) during the GOP primary – is claiming Rick Perry has been ducking debates against Democrat Bill White because he fears Libertarian Kathie Glass, not the Democrat.

Sep
04

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 9/4/10

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Alaska: The Alaska Independence Party, which got a lot of exposure when Sarah and Todd first burst onto the political scene (remember their calls for Alaskan secession?) – is mulling over whether to endorse Republican Bill Walker as their gubernatorial candidate.

Colorado: Fellow Tea Party favorite GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck is the latest Republican to abandon the sinking ship that is Dan Maes’ gubernatorial campaign.

Florida: The national governors’ groups are going all in in the Sunshine State. The Fox News-backed RGA has announced it’s sending $2 million as part of the party’s efforts to unify after the bruising Bill McCollum/Rick Scott primary brawl. The DGA has answered with a pledge of $1 million to support Alex Sink’s candidacy.

Iowa: Could DeCoster’s rotten eggs destroy Democratic chances in the Hawkeye State this November?

Maryland: Underdog Brian Murphy certainly knows his target audience as he runs his bare-bones, long shot primary challenge to Bob Ehrlich. His first (and likely only) television ad is airing during Glenn Beck’s 5 o’clock happy hour on Fox News.

Maryland II: It may be a function of high name ID for both presumed guber nominees or it may be the expense of going up on TeeVee in the DC media market, but both Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich have both yet to pull the trigger and begin advertising in the vote-rich DC suburbs.

Massachusetts: After trailing both his opponents in the money race throughout the campaign, Gov. Deval Patrick seriously picked up the pace in August.

Minnesota: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be helping GOP guber nominee Tom Emmer raise money. Considered a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, Jindal’s trip north brings him into the territory of another (more) likely presidential contender, MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

New Mexico: The sudden resignation of the chairman of the Educational Retirement Board over a controversial loan has sparked accusations over public ethics between the gubernatorial campaigns. Democrat Diane Denish – who has spent a lot of time trying to separate herself from Gov. Bill Richardson and the ethical troubles surrounding his Santa Fe political cadre – has already donated personal contributions from the disgraced Richardson appointee to a non-profit that supports early-childhood education professionals (although she’s keeping donations from his law firm).

Oregon: Political observers are beginning to ponder the possibility that Oregon voters may not get a debate between gubernatorial hopefuls John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley.

South Carolina: Nikki Haley – former GOP golden boy Mark Sanford’s protege is trying to differentiate herself from how Sanford governs and is pointing out decisions he’s made with which she disagrees. Sanford has had a rocky relationship with the Republican legislature and many in the party establishment have been hesitant to embrace Haley because they fear a similarly antagonistic relationship. To ease those worries, Haley is promising to work with the legislative branch – and will defer to the lawmakers on the creation of the state budget.

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.


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
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.

Independence Party guber wannabe Tom Horner is aiming for the moderate, ‘common-sense’ middle in his first ad of the general election campaign against DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican (and Target-sponsored) nominee Tom Emmer.

It’s visually arresting.

And it doesn’t hesitate to hit one right up the middle.

Horner voices over the cross-eyed image with,

“For the past few years, the Republicans and the Democrats have only been looking one direction.

Too far to the right. Or too far to the left.

Most of us would agree that we need a governor with a vision to get Minnesota going  in the right direction.

I’m Tom Horner. I’ll show you why common sense solutions make good sense for Minnesota.”

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Aug
18

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 8/18/10

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Florida: The GOP establishment continues to rally to Bill McCollum’s defense, as Mike Huckabee becomes the latest GOP powerbroker to endorse the embattled candidate.

Massachusetts: GOP guber wannabe Charlie Baker is taken to task over his failure to denounce GOP candidates aligned with the ‘birther’ movement.

Minnesota: The national media has obsessed on stories about Democratic candidates shunning the president when he visits (Roy Barnes in Georgia, Bill White in Texas) and downplayed stories about local candidates like DFL guber nominee Mark Dayton wanting the president to campaign with them.

Pennsylvania: Keystone State Republicans successfully knocked Tea Party guber wannabe John Krupa from the November ballot but the Libertarian hopeful says she’s confident she can withstand the GOP’s signature challenge.

Tennessee: GOP guber nominee Bill Haslam may be getting the NASCAR vote (weren’t NASCAR dads a cherished demographic in a recent election cycle?) as he picked up the endorsement of NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip.

Vermont: Progressives have been blamed for handing Republican candidates the governorship in recent elections. A group of leading Progressives have publicly endorsed the candidacy of Democrat Doug Racine.

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
11

Guber Quick Hits, Mon 8/9/10

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Florida: Indpendent guber wannabe Bud Chiles has some questions to answer about his associations with a charity some view as a cult.

Minnesota: Despite polls showing his bid to win the DFL guber nod tomorrow are slim, Matt Entenza keeps pumping his personal fortune into his campaign.

Pennsylvania: Could Gov. Rendell become the token progressive on Fox News following his departure from the governor’s mansion?

South Carolina: Nikki Haley seems to have problems filing her taxes on time. Might not be that big of a deal if she weren’t basing her gubernatorial bid on her business acumen as an accountant.

The emerging conventional wisdom among the chattering classes is that yesterday’s landmark legal ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker that California’s Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution on both due process and equal protection grounds places Democrats, particularly President Obama, in an unenviable political predicament heading into the November mid-terms.

The president, who has skillfully ducked and bobbed around the contentious issue, is probably thankful he’s not on the ballot this time around. The decision may hurt a handful of already endangered congressmen by further motivating the conservative base, but considering how the question of marriage equality has roiled state capitals for a decade now, but will it affect the governor’s contests?

Over at 538 there are a couple of relevant posts about the decision’s potential affects. Nate analyzes whether or not gay marriage could be resurrected as a potent force as it was in 2004 following Massachusetts historic legalization of same-sex marriage. He observes that the Tea Party’s relative silence on the issue has been a wise political strategy, even if its been accidental. The GOP Establishment, however, has shown an eagerness to push their anti-gay marriage position.

And that’s where the GOP might overreach.

After watching Pat Buchanan foaming at the mouth like it was the 1992 GOP convention this morning, it seems the issue may prove far too tempting for the homophobes to prevent themselves from showing their rabid homophobia – and potentially turning off moderate (and younger voters).

As another 538 post graphically shows, gay marriage is gaining support in every state (except Utah). While it garners majority support in only a handful of states, conservatives should tread lightly in revealing their inner Archie Bunkers, or they could further alienate younger voters and actually give them a reason to go to the polls this November. Could Pat Buchanan once again help motivate otherwise apathetic voters to get to the polls again? Nate wonders whether or not Sarah Palin will be able to refrain herself from jumping into the fray…

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