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

800px-governors_by_party

Archive for New York

Rep. Peter King, the dean of the Empire State Republican congressional delegation (actually the only member of the GOP caucus prior to the November elections), shared some political insights with his newly-elected colleagues about the ways of Washington. But, according to the New York Times, it’s Albany and the intrigue in the state capital that these new congress-critters need to keep an eye on.

Mr. King, a Republican from Long Island, talked to them about the importance of sticking together and about difficult votes ahead.

But then he turned to a subject that the rookies in the room had thought little about: redistricting. In a few weeks, lawmakers in Albany will begin talks on how to redraw New York’s Congressional map and eliminate two districts.

It was clear that these fresh-faced politicians were not prepared for what may be the ultimate insiders’ game.

“I told them to get ready,” Mr. King said, recalling the meeting. “That process turns friend against friend.”

The redistricting battle is looming as an early test of the anti-establishment sentiment that carried many novice politicians to victory in the 112th Congress. While more senior House members are already working their ties in statehouses back home to protect their districts, many freshmen are just waking up to what is coming.

Are they really? Is their knowledge about civics so limited that they don’t understand what the Census does every decade?

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Oct
16

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 10/16/10

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California: Sarah Palin is in the Golden State this weekend on a campaign swing to mobilize the already rabidly over-excited conservative base. Notable in their absence are the two women at the top of the California GOP ticket. With a recent Field Poll showing two-thirds of California voters would be less inclined to vote for a Palin-endorsed candidate, both eMeg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have found someplace better to be at her side.

California II: On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Jerry Brown had no hesitation about embracing one of his party’s biggest headliners – and an old rival. Former President Bill Clinton and Brown didn’t exactly embrace one another at a UCLA rally Friday night, but they did talk about their accomplishments and long history of fighting for Democratic ideals.

Florida: Back in 1997 when the FBI was conducting its investigation into the massive Medicare fraud at Rick Scott’s Columbia/HCA hospital chain, Scott himself was sued by the Florida State Board of Administration accusing Scott and others of insider trading and of profiting from a culture of corruption. The state’s suit never came to trial because it was shelved in favor of a larger federal case that resulted in a record $1.7 billion in fines against the company.  The questions about whether Scott knew about the pervasive fraud going on under his nose (how could he not?) were never answered. It’s stunning that this is the man the Republicans nominated to govern a state whose elderly electorate is so dependent on Medicare.

Georgia: How’s this for chutzpah? Former Congressman Nathan Deal is defending his use of federal staff and resources for his own personal gain as “constituent services.”

Illinois: The path to victory for both Democrat Pat Quinn and Republican Bill Brady travels through the suburban ‘collar’ counties outside Chicago. More than 40% of the state’s voters reside in the region, which is home base to neither the downstate Brady or the Chicagoan Quinn. But with little more than two weeks remaining until election day, neither candidate has spent much time in the critical swing region.

New Mexico: Bill Clinton – who’s campaigning around the country as if it’s his and not Barack Obama’s legacy at stake – hit the campaign trail for guber wannabe Diane Denish. At a rally in northern New Mexico, the former president tried to shore up Denish’s lagging support among the state’s critical (and normally Democratic) Hispanic population by echoing the Denish campaign’s message that Martinez is a tool of Texan political interests.

New York: It appears that when it comes to the bottom line, there isn’t a religious or moral conviction that Carl Paladino won’t toss aside in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Ohio: Democrat Ted Strickland is banking on using the early voting data to help them identify and mobilize their less enthusiastic base, but the Wall Street Journal reports that early voting patterns in Democratic Cuyahoga and Republican Warren Counties are looking similar to those seen in 2008. Could the ‘enthusiasm gap’ we’ve heard so much about over the past nine months be smaller than the media has led us to believe?

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato won the backing of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan, non-profit public-education advocacy group.

South Carolina: The RGA is running ads in the Haley-Sheheen gubernatorial contest. Either Haley and Rupert’s gang over at the RGA simply has so much money they don’t know what to do with, or they’re worried about Nikki Haley’s frontunner status in the Palmetto State guber contest isn’t as solid as one would expect in such a GOP-friendly election year in a deeply Republican state.

Sep
29

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 9/29/10

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California: MegaBucks has a new radio ad out in which she’s morphed into a movie critic. She urges every citizen to go see the new documentary “Waiting for Superman,” an intriguing political tactic that could force rival Jerry Brown into the box she wants him in. It’s the one with the Union Label, of course.

Colorado: The implosion that is the Dan Maes candidacy could have long-term repercussions for the state GOP, as a distant third-place finish becomes a distinct possibility.

Florida: Democrat Alex Sink is getting help from an unlikely source. Former Republican guber contender Bill McCollum is defending Sink from GOP nominee Rick Scott’s attacks blaming Sink for mismanaging the state’s investment portfolio during the 2007 stock market crash.

Georgia: Nathan Deal can’t seem to put a lid on the can of worms that his daughter’s financial problems have opened. A federal judge has reopened her 2009 bankruptcy filing because her husband failed to disclose an earlier 2001 bankruptcy that would make him ineligible to discharge his debts. Polls had shown Deal weathering the negative headlines, but he had to be hoping this could fade from the headlines. Doesn’t look like that’ll be the case.

Maine: Even though Paul LePage seems to be cruising to victory in the gubernatorial contest, the Tea Party-induced schism within the state GOP remains. Mark Ellis, who served as state party chair between 2007-2009 has publicly endorsed independent candidate Shawn Moody.

Maryland: There’s one incumbent governor not shunning the leader of the Democratic Party. President Obama has cut a radio ad in support of Martin O’Malley and he’s planning on joining him on the campaign trail in early October.

New Mexico: President Obama’s fall campaign swing brought him to the Land of Enchantment, where Democratic Light Guv Diane Denish didn’t run for cover like some other Democratic candidates have done.

New York: After watching this interview, I’m not sure whether voters will be repelled by Carl Paladino or whether he becomes the perfect receptacle for their boiling anger over the mess in Albany. The one thing I am sure of is the previously-sleepy NY Gov contest will be entertaining.

Oregon: Republican Chris Dudley may be a newcomer to politics but he’s proving to be a prolific fundraiser. He’s now outraised Democratic rival John Kitzhaber by a more than 2-1 margin.

Vermont: Are outside consultants transforming the traditionally placid political climate in bucolic Vermont? Locals are worried the Dubie-Shumlin contest has taken Vermonters down an unwanted path.

Sep
17

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/17/10

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Alaska: Sarah Palin may find it less expensive to go moose hunting if Democrat Ethan Berkowitz becomes Alaska’s next governor. He’s proposing allowing Alaskans to buy lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

Illinois: Former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar (who hasn’t always had kind words for his party’s current guber pick, Bill Brady) is planning on endorsing Brady against Democrat Pat Quinn.

Kansas: Following a rather informal debate in front of a live audience at the Kansas State Fair between Democrat Tom Holland and Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, it doesn’t seem another debate is in the cards.

Maryland: In a post-primary radio interview, GOP nominee Bob Ehrlich was less-than-gracious in his efforts to unify his base. Will his failure to acknowledge Tea Party fave Brian Murphy as an up-and-comer in the state GOP hurt him among the conservative base in November?

New York: Guber nominee Andrew Cuomo is one of the only Democrats who seems to be in cruise control for the general election. Despite being the heavy favorite, all is not calm in Gotham, as Cuomo is expressing some discomfort over his Democratic colleagues running for comptroller and attorney general.

Rhode Island: Frank Caprio continues his slide toward the right. He’s come out in support of extending all of the Bush tax cuts set to expire, regardless of income.

Tennessee: What would Tennessee politics be without a little Basil for flavor? We don’t have to find out because Basil Marceaux is running as a write-in!

Texas: Rick Perry – that fearless hunter of suburban coyotes – has been endorsed by the NRA.

Wisconsin: Badger State Republicans have fielded the largest field of candidates for the General Assembly in a generation. They’re contesting in 85 of 99 districts, the most since 1986.

Sep
17

NY: What’s that Smell?

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Tea Party UpState upstart Carl Paladino shocked the GOP establishment this past Tuesday by trouncing Rick Lazio in the guber primary. He tapped into an anger at the GOP establishment. Now, he’s targeting the dysfunctional Albany statehouse in a creative, memorable way.

He’s sending out 180,000 mailers that smell like trash.

The mail piece features the faces of seven Democrats who have been caught up in scandal in recent years. Never mind that some of the faces pictured are no longer in Albany (Eliot Spitzer) or aren’t in state government (Charlie Rangel), the headline on the piece screams, “Something STINKS in Albany”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's campaign sent out 180,000 of these foul-scented mailers in the days leading up to the September 14th primary. (Photographer:  Joh Ficurilli)

Categories : New York, Tea Party
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Aug
13

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 8/13/10

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Alaska: Citing the tragic death of former Sen. Ted Stevens in a plane crash along Alaska’s southwest coast, Gov. Sean Parnell suspended his campaign activity. As a result, the Commonwealth North sponsored GOP gubernatorial debate between Parnell, Bill Walker and Ralph Samuels has postponed until August 23rd, the day before the primary election.

Florida: The GOP primary fight between Bill McCollum and Rick Scott has gotten so personal that McCollum is publicly doubting whether or not he would support Scott if he wins the nomination.

Georgia: Mike Huckabee is taking (at least partial) credit for Nathan Deal’s razor-thin victory in the GOP runoff over Sarah Palin’s Peach State Mama Grizzly, Karen Handel.

Massachusetts: Former GOP guber wannabe Chrisy Mihos has been fined a ‘whopping’ seventy grand for repeated campaign violations. It’s the highest such fine in Bay State history.

Nevada: What constitutes a formal debate? In GOP guber wannabe Brian Sandoval’s world answering three impromptu questions from your rival counts.

New York: Look for the Union Label ~ the Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Andrew Cuomo and Bob Duffy keeps racking up the labor endorsements.

Oregon: Republican Chris Dudley accepted his first debate, but there’s one catch – it’s not one of the seven proposed by Democrat John Kitzhaber.

Wyoming: Colin Simpson – the scion of a Wyoming Republican political dynasty - picked up the support of another GOP political dynasty’s patriarch, George H. W. Bush.

Aug
12

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 8/12/10

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California: San Diego Charges owner Alex Spanos – a longtime GOP donor – has donated $20,000 to Democrat Jerry Brown’s guber campaign. The donation is even more unusual considering Brown opposed Spanos in a 2008 land use dispute in Stockton.

Colorado: It says a lot about the current state of Republican politics when Tom Tancredo sounds like the voice of reason on immigration policy.

Maryland: Incumbent Martin O’Malley’s campaign war chest dwarfs that of Bob Ehrlich. The Democrat has $6.7 million in the bank while the Republican is hoping to have about $3 million for the upcoming rematch of their 2006 campaign.

Nevada: Tired of his GOP opponent Brian  (“my kids look American”) Sandoval ducking debates, Rory (“I ain’t no Senator’s Son”) Reid forces an impromptu debate at a candidate luncheon.

New York: The bumbling in Albany continues, as Gov. David Paterson signed the wrong budget earlier this month.

Tennessee: Democratic guber wannabe Mike McWherter is accusing GOP nominee Bill Haslam of ‘ducking debates.’ Since this happens in nearly every race where there is a perceived front-runner, is this news?

Vermont: Democratic guber hopeful Matt Dunne’s latest TV ad includes a photo of the candidate with longtime Democratic Senator Pat Leahy but the senator’s office denies the appearance is an endorsement of any kind. The liberal icon is remaining neutral in the five-way Democratic primary.

Wisconsin: Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge endorsed Scott Walker in the GOP primary saying the Milwaukee County Executive has “a proven record of leadership.”

Jul
29

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/29/10

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California: Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t beat the man he replaced seven years ago, according to new numbers from Public Policy Polling.

Colorado: Embattled GOP guber wannabe Dan Maes is denying that he’s dropping out of the race, as robocalls targeting his campaign supporters claim.

Florida: Embattled GOP guber wannabe Bill McCollum announced yesterday that the Florida Chamber of Commerce set precedent by backing his gubernatorial campaign.

Iowa: GOP guber wannabe Terry Branstad’s campaign Winnebago is a campaign No No!

Minnesota: Does threatening to kill  your estranged wife kill a political career these days?

New York: Rick Lazio’s floundering gubernatorial campaign may face senior staff departures.

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Jul
22

Pollapalooza Thursday

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Arkansas: A poll from Razzmattaz Reports shows a much closer race than the conventional wisdom anticipates for incumbent Democrat Mike Beebe. They’ve got little-known restauranteur Jim Keet within 10 points of the popular Democrat, at 50-40%. Before dismissing this poll, it should be noted this is the second public poll showing Beebe falling to the 50% threshold. Could the Democratic brand be dragging him down? (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 AR likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Florida: Public Policy Polling has Democrat Alex Sink ahead of both potential Republican candidates, Bill McCollum and Rick Scott. She leads the former congresscritter (and Clinton impeachment manager) McCollum, 37-23% and the former healthcare executive Scott, 36-30%. Former Democrat Bud Chiles, whose independent candidacy could pose a problem for Sink, is currently polling in the mid-teens. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 900 FL voters, MoE +/- 3.26%)

The Democrat’s lead may be more a function of the Republicans sinking rather than Sink rising. The intense, negative campaign being waged on Sunshine State television has seriously weakened both GOP candidates. Of the four candidates, only Sink boasts a net positive favorability rating. From PPP’s press release:

The Republican primary battle is taking its toll on both McCollum and Scott. Both candidates are undoubtedly better known than Sink, but it is not necessarily in their favor. 41% of Florida voters have an unfavorable opinion of Scott and 51% have an unfavorable opinion of McCollum.

Georgia: The busiest pollster in America has a quick look at the potential Georgia gubernatorial matchups. Only 24 hours after the primary ended (and the GOP run-off began), RazzleDazzle Reports that former congresscritter Nathan Deal is the stronger Republican against Democratic nominee Roy Barnes. Deal leads Barnes 49-43% while Karen Handel and Barnes are essentially tied, at 45-44%. (Polling conducted 7/21, 500 GA likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Idaho: Could Republican incumbent Butch Otter actually face a serious challenge from Democrat Keith Allred? Razzmattaz Reports – essentially the only polling outfit looking at the race in scarlet red Idaho – shows Allred creeping up on Otter. Two months ago he trailed by 22 points. He’s shaved 5 points off that deficit and now trails 53-37%. It’s also important to note that Allred has actually been outraising Otter. (Polling conducted 7/15, 500  ID likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Nevada: Will the son be paying for the sins of the father? It appears that while Reid the Elder may survive to serve another term in the US Senate, his kid Rory will be the Reid Silver State voters punish at the polls this November. PPP has dismal numbers for Reid the Younger in his gubernatorial contest against former federal judge Brian Sandoval, 52-38%. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 630 NV voters, MoE +/- 3.9%)

New York: Andrew Cuomo continues to be the safest bet for Democrats as they look toward the 2010 elections. A survey from RazzleDazzle Reports shows Cuomo holding a better than two-to-one advantage over both Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino. Cuomo, a well-known quantity in the Empire State remains astonishingly popular in a year where politicians of all stripes are targets of voter rage. He’s sporting a 64-33% favorable/unfavorable number. (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 NY likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Jul
15

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 7/15/10

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Alabama: On one side much of the attention was on the notorious ads that went viral. On the other, the focus was on the historic nature of a candidate who shunned his base. Overlooked in the Alabama gubernatorial contest – the nice guys finished first. It has people hoping for a positive, issues-oriented campaign this fall.

California: Term-limited incumbent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is now just as unpopular as Gray Davis was when he was dumped by California voters in summer 2003.

Colorado: This is what a campaign death spiral looks like.

Florida: Rick Scott is banging the nativist drums. He’s urging the state legislature to take up the issue of immigration during the upcoming special session called by Gov. Charlie Crist to address the BP oil spill.

Minnesota: The Minnesota Progressive Project calls Emmer’s wildly vacillating position on wages and taxes for tipped workers ‘incoherent.’

New York: Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino says he’s gathered the necessary signatures to put him on the GOP primary ballot this September.

Pennsylvania: The company at the center of GOP guber wannabe Tom Corbett’s claims that the unemployed are sitting on their couches happily eating bon-bons tells a far different story.

Rhode Island: It looks like Democrats may avoid a bitter primary fight if reports that Patrick Lynch is planning to end his guber bid as early as today are true.

Texas: Democratic challenger Bill White reports having $9 million in the bank as of the end of June.