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 Pennsylvania


Guber Quick Hits, Wed 8/11/10

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Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell has temporarily suspended his election campaign in the aftermath of the plane crash that killed former Senator Ted Stevens.

California: GOP guber wannabe MegaBucks Whitman’s effort to woo critical Latino voters has sparked a feud among conservative talk radio hosts. LA radio talkers “John and Ken” have been highly critical of eMeg’s move to the middle on the contentious issue of immigration. Sacramento talk jockey Eric Hogue is denouncing his conservative colleagues for creating “a summer radio ratings stunt.”

Florida: Does Rick Scott prove the adage, ‘once a cheater, always a cheater?’ More allegations of overbilling Medicare surface in the closing weeks of the contentious GOP guber primary.

Iowa: The Hawkeye State guber contest between current Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will have a series of three head-to-head debates, according to the Branstad campaign.

Iowa II: Despite some social conservatives waving the white flag of surrender over same-sex marriage following federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s Prop 8 decision, vanquished guber wannabe Bob Vander Plaats is digging in and vowing an all-out effort to oust the three ‘activist justices’ who brought gay marriage to the Hawkeye State. Tim Pawlenty has jumped on the “dump the judges” bandwagon as he positions himself for a 2012 presidential run.

Kansas: Despite being shellacked by Sam Brownback in the GOP guber primary, crazy Joan Heffington vows to soldier on as a write-in candidate.  (8/10)

Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick wants a series of eight debates between Labor Day and Election Day.

Pennsylvania: Proving that the Tea Party tempest may be a Pandora’s box the GOP may come to regret opening, the conservative supporters of Tea Party fave Sam Rohrer have launched a write-in effort for governor. GOP nominee Tom Corbett treated Rohrer as little more than a nuisance during the primary. Will the race between Corbett and Democrat Dan Onorato be tight enough that Rohrer’s effort could drain enough conservative support to tip the race?


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.


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.


DNC Places it’s Guber Markers

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According to Politico’s Morning Score, the DNC has dispersed funds to state committees to be used in “targeted governor’s races:”

The DNC made a new wave of cash transfers to other Democratic committees, giving $833,333 each to the DSCC and DCCC, as well as $400,000 to the Florida Democratic Party, $333,333 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and $100,000 to the Maryland Democratic Party, a Democratic official said. That’s a total of $2.5 million in outlays, with the state party donations targeted at the governor’s races in those states. The DNC’s cash disbursements so far come to $1.5 million for the DSCC, $1.5 million for the DCCC and $1.5 million to state committees.

That’s a pretty heavy investment in Alex Sink, whose political fortunes are rising as the circus formerly known as the RPOF disintegrates into leaderless chaos.

Holding onto the Keystone State Governor’s Mansion is critical to Democrats in the coming decade, as Pennsylvania’s redistricting could be as tumultuous as last time around.

As far as Maryland, is the party hoping that an early infusion of money for O’Malley can bolster him against Erhlich? They certainly don’t want to spend too much money here defending what would be an easy hold in practically any other year.


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.


Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 7/16/10

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Alabama: Defeated Dem guber wannabe (and soon to be former congresscritter) Artur Davis is praising GOP nominee Robert Bentley. Looks like he was serious about getting out of politics for good.

Arkansas: Incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe is the only Democrat cruising to re-election this November. He’s ahead in the polls and most of the media focus in the state has been on the US Senate race. He’s also got $2.7 million in the bank to fend off his Republican challenger Jim Keet.

Georgia: According to a new Mason Dixon poll, 50% of Georgians are willing to pay higher taxes to fund schools. Where is all that anti-tax fervor the media keeps telling us about?

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn is rolling back raises for senior staff after taking a beating from opponent Bill Brady over the issue.

Maine: The mystery about who was behind the primary eve robo-calls attacking eventual GOP winner Paul LePage has been solved.

New Hampshire: Anti-gay marriage activists brought their national bus tour to the Granite State, protesting Gov. John Lynch’s decision to sign marriage equality legislation last year. They’re hoping their chants of “Lynch Lied” can undercut the incumbent’s quest for an unprecedented fourth term.

Pennsylvania: Dan Onorato is slamming “Clueless Tom Corbett” at a new website ridiculing the Republican for his comments saying the long-term unemployed don’t want to work.

Vermont: Republican Lt. Gov Brian Dubie has the GOP primary field to himself and he’s taken the opportunity to stake out a significant fundraising lead over the five Democrats jostling for their party’s guber nod.

Wisconsin: Democrat Tom Barrett has over $2.9 million in the bank for his gubernatorial campaign. He’s going to need it, if a recent Badger Poll is accurate. He trails either of his potential GOP rivals by double digits, although huge numbers of voters remain undecided.


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.


PA: Onorato Misses An Opportunity

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Republican guber nominee Tom Corbett gained national attention with his comments that the long-term unemployed were content to sit around and collect government paychecks rather than take the jobs that are available to them. He was roundly denounced in both local and national media for the ‘gaffe.’

Sensing an opportunity to gain some traction in a race polls show him trailing, Corbett’s Democratic opponent, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, seized the issue during a public appearance at the state Capitol:

“I don’t know what world Tom Corbett is living in. Our economy is struggling,” Mr. Onorato said. “Families in Pennsylvania are hurting and Harrisburg insiders like Tom Corbett aren’t doing anything to help them. Does Tom Corbett believe that Pennsylvania workers are lazy because an anonymous plumber or a candy company owner told him so?”

But, when pushed further on the issue of extending unemployment insurance, Onorato seems to have let Corbett off the hook.

Onorato hedged when asked about stalled legislation in Congress to extend emergency federal payments to people whose 26 weeks of state-paid benefits have run out. The House has approved the $33 billion proposal, but Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly blocked a similar measure on grounds that it would increase the national debt.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but that’s not my issue right now. My issue is to get jobs back to Pennsylvania,” Onorato said when pressed for clarification on his position at a Capitol news conference.

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Guber Quick Hits, Mon 7/12/10

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Alabama: Mike Huckabee has lent his voice to Robert Bentley’s run-off effort, recording a robo-call going out over the campaign’s final weekend.

Florida: It looks like the fight to reform the redistricting process in Florida might end up before the state’s Supreme Court.

New Mexico: Susana Martinez’ campaign spokesman had a really bad day Sunday. He got arrested for DWI early in the morning and was fired as a result before the end of the day. Martinez really had no choice. In campaign ads earlier this summer, Democratic opponent Diane Denish had accused the Ana Dona County DA of cutting deals with DWI offenders.

New York: Republican Rick Lazio is offering to share his tax returns if opponent Andrew Cuomo shows his, too.

Ohio: Following last month’s endorsement by the powerful NRA, Democrat Ted Strickland picked up the support of the Buckeye Firearms Association in his campaign against former US Rep. John Kasich.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Dan Onorato will be calling in one of the party’s biggest weapons, former President Bill Clinton, to campaign on his behalf. Clinton’s presence was credited with helping Dems win the special election to replace the late John Murtha.

South Carolina: Despite a spike in out-of-state donations to Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial campaign after Sarah Palin’s endorsement, the Republican nominee still trails Democrat Vincent Sheheen in the money race.

Let’s just say the Republicans have shed any pretense to that “compassionate conservative” nonsense.

Republican Tom Corbett adds his voice to the GOP chorus denouncing the long-term unemployed as a bunch of deadbeats who prefer sitting on their couches. In their world, the unemployed are content to eat bon-bons and collect a government check rather than go out and do a real day’s worth of work.

“The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there,” Corbett told Harrisburg radio station WITF at a campaign stop in Elizabethtown. “I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, ‘I can’t get people to come back to work until . . . they say, “I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.” ‘

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