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 Run-offs


Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 8/5/10

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Colorado: Democratic guber wannabe John Hickenlooper made his Light Guv running mate choice this morning – CSU-Pueblo President Joseph Garcia, whose strongest selling point (aside from his Hispanic heritage) may be the fact that as a non-politician, he has no voting record for the opposition to run against.

Florida: Bill McCollum, who recent polls show in a topsy-turvy but tightening primary race with Rick Scott is calling in one of the biggest GOP guns in the Sunshine State – former Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush will join McCollum on a statewide fly-around on Monday, the first day of early voting.

Georgia: Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Georgia presidential primary contest, is endorsing Nathan Deal in the GOP guber run-off, putting him in the camp opposite one of Sarah Palin’s ‘Mama Grizzlys’ – Karen Handel.

Georgia II: Polls show a Palin endorsement a potential liability for candidates in November. But Sarah’s meddling in local races has also stirred up local opposition (first it was the conservative stalwart Manchester Union Leader telling Palin to butt out.  Now, it’s virtually the entire roster of state GOP legislators in Georgia lining up behind Nathan Deal against Palin’s pick, Karen Handel.

Kansas: Democratic guber nominee Tom Holland has challenged Republican Sam Brownback to a series of ten debates in the Sunflower State gubernatorial race, the same number of debates Brownback wanted when he challenged Sheila Frahm to during the 1996 US Senate campaign.

New Mexico: It’s debating the debates season, as Democrat Diane Denish has proposed a series of 8 debates with her Republican rival Susana Martinez.

Wisconsin: The Badger State’s GOP congresscritters Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner are lining up behind front-runner Scott Walker in his gubernatorial primary fight against former congresscritter Mark Neumann.


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.


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.


Guber Quick Hits, Mon 6/21/10

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Alabama: After falling further behind in the GOP primary recount, guber hopeful Tim James accepted the obvious and ended his campaign Monday afternoon.

Arizona: GOP guber wannabe Buz Mills probably has the inside track on getting the NRA’s endorsement in his guber primary bid after he was elected to the powerful gun lobby group’s Executive Committee.

Connecticut: Ned Lamont chipped another $1 million of his personal funds into his campaign which triggered another public financing grant of $312,500 to fellow Democrat Dannell Malloy.

Florida: We now know just how much coin Rick Scott’s got – financial disclosure report filed Friday say he’s worth $218 million.

Illinois: Pawnbroker and ousted Democratic Light Guv nominee Scott Lee Cohen filed signatures today (the deadline) for his independent gubernatorial run.

Iowa: GOP insiders are lobbying Terry Branstad to pick Rod Roberts as his Light Guv running mate.

Minnesota: Of the five major candidates running for governor, only Republican Tom Emmer opposes legalizing same-sex marriage.

South Carolina: Slightly awkward – Nikki Haley will be celebrating her anticipated run-off victory at the South Carolina State Museum, an institution she voted to cut $1.64 million in state funding from just a week ago.

South Dakota: GOP nominee Dennis Daugaard picked former state House Speaker Matt Michels to be his Light Guv running mate. The selection means that all four men on the major party gubernatorial tickets hail from southeastern SD.

Texas: Some longtime Lone Star Republicans are crossing party lines to support Bill White’s guber bid.

Texas II: Despite it’s claim to being the fiscally responsible party, the Texas GOP finds itself struggling to pay off its debt.

Tim James’ expensive recount of the Alabama GOP guber primary is complete and the results aren’t what he was hoping for when he ponied up the $200,000 to pay for the effort. He actually wound up further behind second-place finisher Robert Bentley than when he started, although the margin was still whisker-thin (approximately 226 votes).

Bentley plans a statewide tour to continue his campaign against first-place finisher Bradley Byrne while James, who burst into the national consciousness briefly with his “We Speak English Here” ad, is off to the beach to spend Father’s Day with his family.

Half of the six week run-off campaign has passed in a political limbo of sorts for Bentley, whose second-place showing was a surprise to most analysts. Byrne and James spent the closing weeks attacking one another in anticipation of meeting each other head-to-head in the run-off.

Byrne faces the tough task of convincing James supporters to put aside any hard feelings left from the primary if he hopes to win the nomination. Bentley, who ran a generally positive campaign amid the rancor that was Alabama politics this primary season, may find the electorate more receptive to his campaign.

Few would have predicted a Sparks-Bentley guber match-up on Memorial Day, but it looks like a distinct possibility.

Categories : Alabama, Run-offs
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Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 6/17/10

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Alabama: Two former Robert Bentley campaign staffers who were ousted following their candidate’s surprise second-place finish in the GOP guber primary(and entry into a run-off with Bradley Byrne) are airing their frustrations publicly. Replaced by new hires with connections to Mike Huckabee wanted to ”express their principled con­cern that the Bentley campaign may be unduly influenced by forces outside Alabama — forces that do not necessarily have Dr. Bentley’s or Alabama’s best interests at heart.

Arkansas: Mike Beebe, who just might be the most secure incumbent governor in the nation facing reelection this year, isn’t taking any chances. He’s amassed a huge campaign warchest totaling $2.3 million after raising over $500K in May.

Georgia: The Georgia Association of Educators has decided to not make an endorsement in the Democratic gubernatorial contest. It’s a repudiation of front-runner Roy Barnes who has been trying to apologize to the state’s teachers since he launched his effort to regain his old office. Barnes’ surprise defeat to Sonny Perdue in 2002 was fueled in large part by the defection of educators from the Democratic base after Barnes tried to push through education reform unpopular with the teachers unions.

Maine: The wide open race for the Blaine House not only drew a sizable crowd of contenders, it’s already broken the record for most expensive gubernatorial contest in Maine history. Over $7.5 million has been spent by guber hopefuls in the primary, which is closing in on the total $8.6 million spent on the entire 2002 and 2006 contests combined.

Maine II: A week after primary day, all six vanquished GOP candidates came together on the footsteps of Waterville’s City Hall and pledged their support for party nominee Paul LePage.

Minnesota: As noted yesterday, the state’s AFL-CIO held a meeting Wednesday to discuss an endorsement in the guber contest. After “spirited debate” the organization which represents 300,000 workers in the state surprised observers by NOT endorsing any candidate at this point.

South Carolina: Former first lady Jenny Sanford will be campaigning alongside Nikki Haley in the closing days before next Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial run-off against Rep. Gresham Barrett. Also tagging along with his 2012 dreams in tow – Mitt Romney.

Tennessee: At a recent forum all four guber hopefuls, including lone Democrat Mike McWherter, vowed to reduce the financial burden federal health care legislation will impose on the state if elected governor.


SC: GOP Establishment’s Last Gasp?

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Politico has a fascinating article up about the fissure dividing local Palmetto State Republicans and the national party.

While Nikki Haley’s candidacy has caught fire in the national  leadership’s imagination, the entrenched old boys network in Columbia has manned the barricades in an effort to “torpedo” Haley in next Tuesday’s run-off against Rep. Gresham Barrett. Politico calls it an “unusual spectacle” where the interests of local and national leaders are in direct conflict.

Haley is viewed as a threat to business as usual in a state where politicians have been able to operate in relative anonymity as they conduct the people’s business. The Haley campaign’s message of transparency and government reform strikes fear into their hearts. Her election would be seen as a continuation of Gov. Mark Sanford’s libertarian-leaning brand of conservatism in the Governor’s Mansion. Another Sanford administration wouldn’t be welcomed by many GOP legislators, who have been at odds with Sanford for years.

Gresham Barrett, the GOP congressman backed by a high-priced team of veteran consultants, has launched a two-week, take-no-prisoners assault to defeat her. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who came in a distant fourth in the Republican primary, has endorsed Barrett. So has the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. And some of her statehouse colleagues, after eight tumultuous years of Gov. Mark Sanford, are determined to stop Haley — a Sanford protégé — from taking the top job.

Barrett is manning the ramparts for the Republican legislators and holding no punches. He’s touting himself as the “Christian” candidate and

…attacking Haley as “the Sanford candidate,” which for many voters conjures up the outgoing South Carolina governor’s embarrassing jaunt to Argentina to visit his mistress.

The state’s political insiders are siding with Barrett for a different reason — they expect a Haley victory would result in another toxic legislative-executive relationship, with more statehouse gridlock.

“We have wasted eight years with Mark Sanford during which time we have accomplished almost nothing that is beneficial for this state, and in some instances we’ve gone backwards. And as legislators who love the state of South Carolina, one of our concerns is that anybody follow that same road,” said Republican state Rep. Bill Sandifer, who chairs the business committee on which Haley served for four years.

The SC Chamber of Commerce supports Barrett because it views Haley as bad for business.  Her confrontational tone – which inspires Tea Party activists – frightens the state’s business leaders. Haley’s attacks on the political establishment portends a continuation of Sanford’s adversarial relationship with the legislature which would lead to continued legislative gridlock, hamper economic recovery and limit job growth.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary in this Republican civil war could be the long-suffering Democrats. If Haley wins the run-off, it’s not inconceivable the Chamber could endorse Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic nominee.

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