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 Third Party

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
03

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/3/10

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Alaska: Democrat Ethan Berkowitz received the endorsement of Alaska’s AFL-CIO.

California: The defense attorney in a high-profile child molestation trial has excused GOP guber wannabe Meg Whitman from the jury pool. The trial – which could take up to a month – would’ve forced Whitman to essentially abandon the campaign trail in the closing weeks of her race against Jerry Brown.

California II: MegaBucks Whitman’s $100 million dollar primary campaign still wasn’t the most expensive California campaign, when measured by cost-per-vote. The $65 per vote was $5 short of Al Checchi’s failed 1998 Democratic gubernatorial primary run.

Colorado: Tom Tancredo’s insurgent candidacy has raised $200K since he first announced in July.

Florida: Hoping to put the contentious immigration issue on the back burner, Hispanic Republicans are urging Rick Scott to put job creation and the economy at the center of his general election strategy.

Kansas: Former Flroida Gov. Jeb Bush joined Sam Brownback on the campaign trail this week.

Maryland: What’s a long-time foe of early voting to do when he’s on the ballot and early voting gets underway? If you’re Bob Ehrlich, you (kinda) accept the new reality and urge supporters to join you in voting early. If you’re one of his opponents, you don’t miss the opportunity to point out the former governor’s hypocrisy.

Nevada: According the WaPo’s Fix, the enthusiasm gap seen favoring Republican candidates during the current election cycle is widest in the Silver State, where Brian Sandoval and Rory Reid are tied among registered voters but Sandoval holds a wide (50-39%) lead among likely voters.

Oregon: John Kitzhaber has been falling behind GOP challenger Chris Dudley in amassing large checks from campaign donors. Kitzhaber is trying to close the gap by gathering big checks from labor groups, including a $100,000 check from AFSCME.

South Carolina: Conservative stalwart Sen. Jim DeMint has released a web video that challenges GOP guber nominee Nikki Haley on school choice. One of her signature issues as a legislator has been expanding parental choice in education but she recently said it would not be a priority for her if she becomes governor, surprising many conservatives. Is DeMint trying to get her back on point?

Utah: Democratic challenger Peter Corroon is raising impressive sums for a Utah Democrat, but he’s spending it nearly as fast as he brings it in.

Aug
27

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 8/27/10

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Alaska: While GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski’s shocking primary loss (pending absentee ballots) dominated Alaska political news, Gov. Sean Parnell cruised to a primary victory under the radar. Unhappy with the results, Bill Walker, one of his vanquished opponents, is considering a write-in candidacy.

Idaho: Democratic guber challenger Keith Allred has made Butch Otter’s education funding cuts a central focus of his candidacy, arguing that Otter overstated the severity of the state’s budget problems in making severe cuts. New numbers showing Idaho in better-than-anticipated revenue numbers appear to validate his view.

Maine: Democratic guber wannabe Libby Mitchell has withdrawn from two candidate forums, citing the omission of two unenrolled candidates – Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott. The first of those forums, a discussion about cross-border issues facing the state, went on without her Thursday.

Michigan: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing endorsed his fellow mayor and Democrat Virg Bernero’s guber bid.

Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland is getting help from an unusual source for most Democrats. The Buckeye Firearms Association has sent a bus out on the campaign trail touting their support of Strickland’s reelection bid against Republican John Kasich.

Texas: Bill White has been practically frothing at the mouth to take on Rick Perry in a Lone Star debate but the incumbent has been setting preconditions (and running out the calendar) so it comes as no surprise that White accepted an invite from Texas media outlets while the incumbent declined.

Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert’s 39-year-old son has been accused of stalking and harassing a the younger sister of a woman he was once charged with stalking and assaulting in 2005.

Vermont: The three-way photo finish in the Democratic primary is heading to a recount, as Peter Shumlin edged out Doug Racine by a razor-thin margin of 197 votes. Deb Markowitz finished in third – less than 700 votes behind Shumlin.

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
17

Guber Quick Hits, Tues 8/17/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman must be wishing everyone was so easy to buy. Last March, just two days after donating $10,000 to the ‘independent’ Small Business Action Committee the organization endorsed her gubernatorial bid. They’re now airing ‘issue advocacy’ ads attacking her Democratic rival, AG Jerry Brown.

Florida: As the Republicans continue tearing each other down in the bitter last weeks of the gubernatorial primary, Democrat Alex Sink picks former guber candidate Rod Smith as her Light Guv dance partner.

Florida II: Rick Scott may be way behind eMeg’s level of personal investment in her gubernatorial quest, but he’s doing his best to buy the Sunshine State’s GOP guber nod. He’s planning on spending $3.7 million on ads in the primary’s final week.

Maryland: Newcomer Brian Murphy’s fundraising totals  - Sarah Palin’s surprising pick in the Maryland GOP guber primary – trail the two guber heavyweights Republican Bob Erhlich and Democrat Martin O’Malley by a nearly 10-to-1 margin. But he tells the WaPo he’s right on track to upset Ehrlich in the September 14th primary.

Ohio: GOP guber candidate John Kasich – a wealthy man from his days at Lehman Brothers – also pulled in an impressive $50,000 annual income during his seven years as a “presidential fellow” at his alma mater, Ohio State University. Fifty grand may not seem like a huge sum to many, but considering that since 2002, Kasich has worked between one to four days a month – making each day on campus worth $4,000 to Ohio taxpayers.

Pennsylvania: John Krupa,  a self-proclaimed Tea Party gubernatorial candidate has dropped his bid after the state GOP successfully challenged the validity of his signatures. The Keystone State is one of a handful (the others being New Jersey, Florida and Michigan) where Republicans have accused Democrats of pushing bogus Tea Party candidates to lure voters away from the GOP.

Texas: Tea Party fave Debra Medina’s surprising (yet brief) surge in the GOP guber primary last spring was fueled by the potent libertarian streak  that lurks beneath the surface of Lone Star State politics. Following in Medina’s footsteps,  Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kathie Glass is traversing the state hoping to turn tap into the Tea Party anti-government energy.

Aug
14

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 8/14/10

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Arizona: Democrat Terry Goddard is spending his Clean Elections grant for the primary at a much slower pace than his Republican counterpart, Jan Brewer.

Iowa: Former Des Moines School Board member Jonathan Narcisse – who flirted with running in the Democratic primary against Gov. Chet Culver – reports he’s gathered the required signatures to qualify for the ballot as an independent.

Iowa II: Campaigning like it’s 1982. Embattled Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, trailing former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad by large margins in every publicly released poll of the contest, has turned to his father – a former US Senator – to help him on the campaign trail.

Maine: Talk about party unity. Democratic guber nominee Libby Mitchell has enlisted the support of her former primary foes to head her policy committees.

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich has proposed a series of five debates (three on the radio, two on the TeeVee) against Democratic incumbent Martin O’Malley. O’Malley, clearly hoping to elevate the profile of long-shot candidate Brian Murphy,  says he’s happy to debate the Republican nominee  - once the GOP primary determines a winner.

Texas: Rick Perry has steadfastly refused to debate Democratic challenger Bill White until White releases every scintilla of his personal financial and tax information. Now, he’s announced he won’t meet with any Lone Star State editorial boards prior to the election.

Wyoming: Matt Mead has invested nearly $900K of his own money in his effort to win the GOP guber nod in the Cowboy State. That’s a huge sum in the nation’s least populous state, where a closely contested primary victory could require less than 50,000 votes.

Aug
11

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?