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 New Jersey


Guber Quick Hits, 2/3/11

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California: Gov. Jerry Brown’s strategists are considering pursuing holding his proposed special election to extend taxes exclusively by mail. It’s not clear whether ‘going postal’ would help or hurt the chances of winning.

Florida: Politico writes about Gov. Rick Scott’s desire to muzzle the media.

Iowa: Of the nine finalists nominated to fill the three Supreme Court vacancies, one donated to Gov. Terry Branstad’s winning campaign while another made a contribution to Chet Culver.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie, the darling of small government tea partiers, has signed two bills that “increase his dominion” over recession-ravaged Atlantic City.

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry is delivering the keynote address at next week’s CPAC gathering.

Texas II: Could the budget hole be so deep that it threatens funding for high school football?

Virginia: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested an expedited Supreme Court review of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law. Since most legal observers expect a denial from the high court, you have to wonder about Cuccinelli’s motivation. Keeping his name in the headlines on this issue positions him as the GOP front-runner for the 2013 gubernatorial race.

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to the blizzard yesterday, urging motorists to stay off the roads and closed state offices to the public, but then told state workers they had to come to work or take a vacation day.

And from beyond the StateHouses:

Are we heading for a fourth wave election? One prognosticator thinks the Dems may be able to catch a wave in 2012.

With the Census Bureau reporting that racial minorities accounted for 85% of the nation’s population growth over the past decade, Latino activists expect “a minimum of nine additional Latino-majority House seats” when redistricting is said and done.

Is there room for two Mormons in the 2012 GOP presidential primary?

Regardless of political ideology, there are a few tasks Americans expect their government to perform – and perform well.

Whether it’s battling wildfires out West, cleaning up after tornadoes in the Plains, or digging out from snowstorms in the Midwest and East, most Americans expect a quick and efficient response from all levels of government. When the response is inadequate (think Bush and Katrina), there are often political consequences for elected officials.

This week’s paralyzing blizzard that left some Jersey Shore residents stranded without heat and food could cause serious political damage to New Jersey’s Chris Christie. The darling of national conservatives for his ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach to governing went on vacation (as did his Light Gov) despite worsening weather forecasts.  Poll numbers were already showing Christie’s home-state popularity declining. Going AWOL during a crisis can’t help.  It’s unlikely voters will quickly forget that their leaders were vacationing while they and their neighbors spent days digging out from under the snow drifts.

The lack of plows and passable streets serve as a vivid illustration of what happens when governments slash spending and cut public payrolls. The government (and the cut-and-run governor) won’t be able to help.

Categories : New Jersey
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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.


Guber Quick Hits, Monday 5/24/10

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Florida: McCollum is calling in the “big guns” already. Don’t think they expected to need Jeb Bush in the primary, but here he is, calling the AG a “principled conservative with a record of doing what’s right for Florida.”

Iowa: Bob Vander Plaats’ resume is coming under fire just two weeks before the Hawkeye State primary. The Sioux City Journal reports the GOP guber wannabe was allegedly fired from Opportunities United, a non-profit group he led in the early 2000s. Not the kind of news you want as the underdog in a campaign against a former governor running ahead of you in the polls.

Maryland: Gov. Martin O’Malley is fully embracing the Obama Administration as he starts his reelection effort. It’s a complete departure from Creigh Deeds’ approach in last year’s Virginia guber contest. Granted, Maryland is far more Democratic than the Old Dominion, but O’Malley seems to understand his success depends on an energized base, as AU’s Alan Lichtman wrote recently.

Massachusetts: Boston radio station WRKO has rescheduled a mid-June debate to accommodate Gov. Deval Patrick’s schedule. The new time, however, means independent Timothy Cahill won’t be participating due to a prior engagement. It could be a good thing for Cahill, a former Dem-turned-indy, who has been the target of a sustained RGA-led media campaign. The radio and television attacks have taken a toll. Cahill’s numbers have plummeted in a three-way guber matchup. While being on the outside looking in is not usually the advised political strategy, it may serve him well this election cycle. For the Cahill camp having Baker and the GOP direct their fire toward the incumbent can’t come soon enough.

Minnesota: DFL guber hopeful (and former US Senator) Mark Dayton picked his Light Guv dance partner today. He went north to Duluth for his choice, Yvonne Prettner Solon, who joins the list of best candidate names of the 2010 cycle, but doesn’t top Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s pick, John Gunyou.

New Jersey: A crowd estimated at 35,000 angry protesters converged on Trenton vowing to vote legislators out of office if they fail to overturn Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of the “millionaire’s tax.”

The rally, organized by unions and other groups, was held two days after Christie vetoed the “millionaire’s tax” just moments after the Legislature approved it. He maintains that it would be a temporary fix, and that New Jersey has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Pennsylvania: Now that BonusGate figure Brett Cott has been sentenced to five years in prison, AG Tom Corbett has withdrawn a subpoena seeking the identities of two twitter accounts that had been critical of the guber wannabe’s handling of the case. Was the decision that the real reason, or was it because Corbett’s camp realized they had started a political firestorm among privacy advocates?


Quick Hits, Monday 5/10/10

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Colorado: The New York Times reports that the Democratic Party’s Mile High hopes for turning Colorado into a permanent part of their coalition have dimmed.

The unstable situation facing Mr. Obama and his party is a stark contrast to the mood less than two years ago at the national convention. Democratic strategists believe their party’s popularity will rise as the health care law begins taking effect and the economy improves.

But registered Democrats have fallen by 30,000 since November 2008, a drop of about 4 percent, according to the Colorado secretary of state. And since April, when the state began allowing new voters to register online, more Republicans than Democrats have done so. As of May 1, the state had 849,572 Republicans, 813,126 Democrats and 752,503 voters not affiliated with either party.

Florida: A new Mason-Dixon poll shows that Floridians have swung dramatically against offshore drilling. A year ago, residents supported oil drilling off the coast by a 55-31 margin. This week, as oil swirls around in the Gulf of Mexico, the numbers have flipped. Only 35% support more drilling while 55% are opposed.

Nevada: Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing comes close to the ineptitude of Nevada’s celibate Governor. The fact that Jim Gibbons still has an outside chance of winning the GOP nomination speaks volumes about Silver State politics.

New Jersey: Chris Christie’s Education Commissioner dismissed the news that NJ ranked at the top of national rankings in student performance in both reading and math as “irrelevant.”  He went on to describe public education as a “wretched system” in need of a total overhaul.  That’s what people want from their officials. Take a system that’s working and “reform” it. Buyer’s remorse, yet, New Jersey?

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Thursday’s Must Reads

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Virginia: The WaPo discusses the love-hate relationship Virginia politicians (mostly Republicans) have with Uncle Sam. They like to denounce federal deficits and stimulus packages but they’re the biggest pigs at the trough sucking up the cash. Did you know that ten cents of every dollar the federal government spends anywhere on Earth is spent in Virginia? I sure didn’t.

Ohio: Overlooked in the election results from Tuesday’s primaries was the surprisingly easy passage of State Issue 1 on the Buckeye State ballot. Belying the narrative that Americans are fed up with big government and stimulus spending, 60% of Ohio voters approved authorizing the state to issue $700 million in general-obligation bonds to keep the job-creating, high-tech Third Frontier investment program alive for three more years. Even GOP guber wannabe John Kasich had indicated he supported the program.

Huh? Hasn’t the GOP been telling us all along that government doesn’t create jobs?

Money Bombs Fizzle? – The Texas Tribune takes a look at campaign “money bombs” as a campaign tool. Sure, they raise money fast and often provide a media hit, but it’s not clear they translate into the one thing that matters: votes.

The Enthusiasm Gap Materializes: For months, we’ve heard about how conservatives and Republican voters are far more fired up to get out and vote in the 2010 midterms. Tuesday’s voting provided the first hard evidence that Democrats have a challenging task ahead – Democratic turnout was off nearly everywhere compared to the 2006 midterms.

It’s All About the Kids? – Harold Meyerson observes in the WaPo that  it’s students who are paying the highest price as states around the country make budget decisions. How do we build a 21st century workforce when we choose to shortchange our children’s future? Not only are we saddling future generations with unmanageable debt, we’re not giving them the tools to figure out how to deal with it. Meyerson writes:

One of the precious few points of consensus in our polarized land is that we need to do a better job educating our kids. But consensus, apparently, gets you only so far. In red states and blue, in urban, suburban and rural districts with unionized and non-unionized teachers, the story is the same: The worst recession since the 1930s is clobbering the nation’s schools.

Florida: Will the Man Without a Party wield his veto pen again? Pro-choice advocates could join teachers in the Charlie Crist Coalition if he does.

New Jersey: Former Gov. Jon Corzine’s decade long campaign finance spending spree has come to an end. It’s not sour grapes over being tossed from office last November that has caused him stop writing checks. It’s some of the clean government reforms he signed as governor may prohibit him, as the CEO of MF Holdings, to make contributions to Trenton officeholders.


AdMonitor (NJ): Two Sets of Rules

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The Corzine camp keeps swinging away at Republican Chris Christie’s ethics and driving problems. It may be just me, but using the term “throwing his weight around” may step over the line as an unfair personal attack.

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Ever since Christopher Daggett qualified for campaign matching funds (and won a podium at the two officially sanctioned debates) one of the central questions in the New Jersey governor’s contest has been which major party candidate would the former EPA administrator would hurt the most.

Numbers released today by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling (pdf) show the independent candidate getting more support from Democrats than Republicans, but with most Daggett supporters saying Republican challenger Christie is their second choice, its unclear whether or not his presence on the ballot actually makes Democrat Jon Corzine’s re-election bid more difficult.

When PPP last surveyed the Garden State race, they neglected to include Daggett as an option. At that point (late July), Christie held a commanding double-digit lead. With Daggett a named option in the current poll, (and following two months of negative headlines for the Republican), Corzine is within nine points, with a surprising 13% supporting the independent. Whether or not these voters stay in Daggett’s camp, opt for their second choice or migrate back toward their partisan home will determine whether Corzine can emerge victorious in November.

NJ 2009 Governor Race (trend from July)
Christie 44 (50)
Corzine 35 (36)
Daggett 13 (n/a)
Undecided 7 (14)

From PPP:

It’s hard to say whether Daggett is hurting Christie or Corzine. He’s getting 15% of the Democratic vote to 7% of the Republican vote, but his supportes say their second choice  is Christie by a 48-32 margin. His supporters seem to be Democratic leaning voters who can’t quite bring themselves to vote for a Republican.

“It’s looking like is’t going to be tougher and tougher for Jon Jorzine to pull this thing out,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Hard attacks on Christie haven’t closed the gap enough and the presence of Daggett in the races is giving disaffected Democrats an outlet to cast a protest vote.”

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There are currently ten 2009-2010 gubernatorial races where the incumbent party is likely to lose the Governor’s Mansion. The top six likely to flip chairs were reviewed here. Numbers 6 through 10 appear below the fold. The top five Pick-Up Opportunities are all open seat contests. Only two incumbents (Nevada’s Jim Gibbons and New Jersey’s Jon Corzine) appear in our top ten list (at #7 and #9). 

Both 2009 races appear here, as Democrats continue trailing in both New Jersey and Virginia as Election Day quickly approaches. The Democratic Party has brighter prospects in the two western states of California and Nevada, while they are likely to struggle defending the open Governor’s Chair in Oklahoma, a state shifting toward the GOP at all levels of government. The contests in this group are all listed as “LEAN TAKEOVER,” meaning that while the challenging party is favored, there are scenarios in which the incumbent party can defend the governorship. For instance, if Nevada’s Gibbons retires or loses in a primary (both very likely scenarios), winning the Carson City Governor’s Mansion becomes a more difficult proposition for the Democrats. 

Analysis on gubernatorial races 6-10 can be found below the fold Read More→

Pollsters are scouring the Garden State hoping for fertile information about the gubernatorial race between Jon Corzine and Chris Christie. Where does the race stand as the campaigns and media get ready for the post-Labor Day dash to the finish line? Are the candidates gaining traction from the television and radio spots? Is Christie sustaining damage from the daily dose of bad news that marked most of August? Which candidate does Chris Daggett’s independent candidacy hurt the most?

At least four polls have been released over the past week and the only thing they agree on is that GOPer Christie leads incumbent Jon Corzine. But there is no consensus as to whether this race will become a Christie cakewalk or a down-to-the-wire nail-biter. Some say Christie has increased his lead over the incumbent while others see the race shifting in Corzine’s direction. The aggregate shows a slight tightening of the race.


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