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

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Archive for Vermont

Oct
13

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 10/13/10

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Florida: The Republican chair of the Florida Public Service Commission Nancy Argenziano burned more than a few bridges as she left office three months early to endorse Democrat Alex Sink’s guber bid. She didn’t mince words about Rick Scott (he’ll increase energy rates), her fellow Republicans (they’re “clowns”) and the PSC (a “fetid pit”). Just to make sure she’s persona non grata in GOP circles, she also backed Charlie Crist’s indy run for US Senate.

Georgia: Is this too much ‘inside baseball?’ Democrat Roy Barnes is claiming Nathan Deal’s campaign collected contributions from groups of companies and political committees that are affiliated with one  another and each group may legally give only $6,100 per election. The Barnes campaign is demanding Deal return nearly $137K as a result.

Illinois: Vice President Joe Biden spent yesterday campaigning with Gov. Pat Quinn at a rally dubbed “Putting Illinois Back to Work.”

Iowa: Democrats appear to be holding their own in absentee voting, compared with the absentee totals from 2006.

Maryland: Martin O’Malley is one of the Democratic incumbents not afraid to embrace his party’s heritage. Last week, it was President Obama making an appearance at an O’Malley campaign event. Next up is former President Bill Clinton, who will be helping raise money and headlining a Baltimore campaign rally.

Massachusetts: One of Republican challenger Charlie Baker’s central attack lines on Gov. Deval Patrick has been that he’s in the pockets of the state’s labor unions. This might explain why he isn’t trumpeting the endorsement he’s just received from the State Police Association, even though it would burnish the ‘law and order’ credentials politicians often seek.

Tennessee: Front-running Republican Bill Haslam continues pouring his personal fortune into his gubernatorial campaign, while his Democratic rival Mike McWherter isn’t as willing to invest more of his personal wealth into the contest. 

Texas: When does all of this big donor payback stuff begin to hurt Rick Perry among those enraged Tea Party types?

Utah: It appears ads attacking Democratic challenger Peter Corroon have been produced and focused grouped but nixed by Gov. Gary Herbert. One wonders if that simply reveals confidence in the polls showing the incumbent comfortably ahead, or a true desire to take the ethical high road?

Vermont: As tests reveal that radioactive leaks from the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear plant may have contaminated drinking water, Democrat Peter Shumlin is stepping up his demands that the plant owner must move more quickly on cleaning up the damage. He’s trying to make it one of the defining issues between himself and Republican guber nominee Brian Dubie.

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
16

Guber Quick Hits, Thurs 9/16/10

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Arkansas: Democratic incumbent Mike Beebe’s campaign has been endorsed by 73 of Arkansas’ 75 sheriffs.

California: Today marks the day the Golden State’s budget impasses moves into record-setting territory, as it surpasses the previous record set in 2008. To mark the occasion, Democratic guber wannabe Jerry Brown unveiled a proposal that would start next year’s budget plan from scratch. Is “zero-based budgeting” workable or simply an election year gimmick?

Florida: Rick Scott has made it clear he’s opposed to Obama’s stimulus spending, arguing during the guber primary that he would “fight all the stimulus money.” It’s somewhat awkward, then, that a firm he’s heavily invested in just received $36.1 million in Recovery Act funding to build a fiber-optic network in rural Louisiana.

Iowa: Hawkeye State Dems are hoping to use Sarah Palin’s upcoming visit to rally the base.

Iowa II: A piece of information that seems to be counterintuitive to the prevailing political narrative over the GOP’s huge enthusiasm gap. Democratic requests for absentee ballots in Iowa outnumber Republicans by nearly 3-1.

Nebraska: Democrat Mike Meister is trying to make the placement of TransCanada’s proposed oil pipeline across the Ogallala Aquifer an issue in his campaign against Gov. Dave Heineman. Meister says running it across the aquifer is too risky while Heineman says he isn’t focused on the issue.

Nevada: Rory (the younger) Reid has indicated he would sign a state budget that included tax increases, if it came across his desk. This represents a significant shift in the tax-averse Silver State, where candidates of all ideological stripes adhere to a no new tax mantra. With Rory trailing Republican Brian Sandoval badly in every public poll, is this shift a profile in courage or an act of political desperation?

New Mexico: Bill Clinton is doing yeoman’s work this campaign season. He’ll be joining Diane Denish on the trail next month.

Oregon: After falling far behind Republican Chris Dudley in the race for big campaign checks, Democrat John Kitzhaber has begun raking in donations from the state’s unions.

Vermont: After the drawn-out Democratic primary, it’s probably not all that surprising Peter Shumlin has less money in the bank than Lt. Gov Brian Dubie, who had no opposition in the GOP primary. But his $62,000 is a lot less than the $410,000 Dubie’s got in his warchest.

Wisconsin: Mark Neumann won more counties than Scott Walker in Tuesday’s GOP primary, but he lost overall because Walker dominated him in the populous suburban Milwaukee counties, a region that has become the key for Republican victories in the Badger State.

Sep
10

Guber Quick Hits, TGIF 9/10/10

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Arizona: One of the conditions for qualifying for Clean Elections campaign financing under Arizona law is participating in a Clean Elections-sponsored debate. After showing up (at least in body) and receiving her $1.7 million-plus check, Gov. Jan Brewer has decided she can’t risk this again. Turns out there are a lot of other GOP candidates following Brewer’s lead.

California: As the Golden State’s annual budget delay dance stretches toward record-setting territory, the state Controller has announced the state won’t have to start issuing IOUs until early October, which is later than previous estimates. Not sure if this is good news or bad news, as some observers believe IOUs would’ve stepped up the pressure on the legislature to finally get a deal done.

Colorado: The sinking ship that is GOP guber nominee Dan Maes’ campaign lost another deckhand this week when the volunteer campaign treasurer- who had been on board for just three weeks – resigned. The official reason Bob Balink jumped ship was because the commute was too long.

Connecticut: Mitt Romney joined fellow millionaire Tom Foley on the campaign trail in tony Greenwich.

Hawaii: The largest public worker union in the state is trying to explain the controversial decision to back Mufi Hannemann over Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic guber primary.

Massachusetts: A ‘furious exchange’ over the state’s role in rescuing health insurance company Pilgrim Health exploded during this week’s gubernatorial debate. Gov. Deval Patrick asserted that Baker – who ran Pilgrim at the time – was rescued thanks to state aid. Baker denied the governor’s version of history. Turns out it depends on what you mean by state aid. According to a local taxpayer watchdog group, no taxpayer money was used in reversing the fortunes of the health insurer, but the state did play a central role in helping make sure the company didn’t fail.

Pennsylvania: The Republican Governor’s Association moved $1.5 million from its Wisconsin PAC to its Pennsylvania PAC in July. It’s an intriguing move, considering both seats are widely viewed as strong pick-up opportunities for the GOP.

Rhode Island: Could news that Democratic guber wannabe Frank Caprio contemplated switching parties last winter as he prepared for his campaign push Democratic voters into independent Linc Chafee’s camp come this November?

Texas: Despite numerous denials he’s got his eyes on the White House, Gov. Rick Perry’s new book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington will be published right after the midterm elections (and Perry hopes his own record-setting reelection).

Vermont: The Democratic Party has filed a campaign finance complaint against Brian Dubie and the RGA, claiming they illegally coordinated to create a television ad supporting Dubie’s gubernatorial campaign.

Sep
01

Guber Quick Hits, Wed 9/1/10

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California: MegaBucks Whitman may end up on a jury after all.

Iowa: The massive, nationwide egg recall has become an issue in the Iowa gubernatorial contest, as Republican Terry Branstad has denounced the Democratic AG Tom Miller of cutting a deal with Jack DeCoster – the egg producer identified as a ‘habitual violator’ of state environmental laws – and linking that leniency to a $10,000 campaign donation to Miller. Miller claims Branstad’s got the facts wrong – but has returned the campaign donation. Governor Chet Culver has tried to pass the oversight responsibility off to the feds.

Maine: Independent guber wannabe Elliot Cutler is finding a middle ground when it comes to environmental policy in the Pine Tree State. He doesn’t support rolling back the state’s environmental regulations but he does want to eliminate the Board of Environmental Protection – whose 10 citizen members are an obstacle blocking  Maine’s economic growth.

Maryland: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is looking for votes in unexpected places in his rematch against Gov. Martin O’Malley, the WaPo reports.

Michigan: The Tea Party of Michigan is appealing last week’s court decision that blocked the party from fielding candidates on November’s ballot. The party, which Republicans criticize as a Democratic Party-inspired effort to drain votes from GOP candidates, was tossed from the ballot because the font on the party’s petitions was the incorrect size for the “THE” in the party’s name.

Minnesota: After backing Republican Tim Pawlenty’s successful gubernatorial bids in 2002 and 2006, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis switched parties this time around and is backing DFL nominee Mark Dayton.

Nevada: GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle is questioning why GOP guber nominee Brian Sandoval didn’t stand up to former Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2003 when the governor challenged a voter-passed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. It’s not usually a good thing to see separation between a party’s top nominees on a statewide ballot, but Sandoval may not mind having some distance between himself and Angle as he aims for support from the middle.

New Mexico: GOP nominee Susana Martinez is vowing to repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana law if she’s elected governor.

South Carolina: Democrat Vincent Sheheen has proposed a series of five Lincoln-Douglas debates with Republican nominee Nikki Haley.

Texas: Democrat Bill White is hoping to tap into some of the anti-incumbent anger roiling the nation this year by calling for a referendum to limit the Lone Star State governor to two four-year terms. Could it be the tactic that reminds people of just how long Rick Perry has been sitting pretty in the Austin Governor’s Mansion? It didn’t work for Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary, but could it resonate among the broader electorate?

Vermont: While GOP guber nominee Brian Dubie awaits the winner of the Democratic recount he hasn’t shied away from attacking all the Democrats still standing as ‘pro-tax’ and has challenged the eventual winner to a series of a dozen debates. In the meantime, the Democrats have unified – and are campaigning together as they await the recount.

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
21

Guber Quick Hits, Sat 8/21/10

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California: At what point does a candidate become overexposed? The Jerry Brown camp has polling numbers saying MegaBucks Whitman’s saturation of the Golden State’s TeeVees has started a backlash among voters.

Florida: Even if Bill McCollum survives this Tuesday’s guber primary slugfest, the RPOF will turn to the general election campaign in a financially distressed state. Their federal campaign finance account which typically funds GOTV efforts, has been drained as the party establishment has poured everything into salvaging McCollum’s candidacy.

Illinois: Accidental Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign continues to unravel. It’s now parted ways with David Axelrod’s media firm.

Maryland: Trying to have it both ways. Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich has taken to touring the state criticizing over-regulation and government’s role in hindering economic growth but when a questioner points out some of the system he’s complaining about were signed into law by Ehrlich himself, he avoids the query and attacks the questioner.

Massachusetts: Sensing danger in the media’s recent midterm tea leaf reading, the White House is denying that Gov. Deval Patrick’s re-election effort is any sort of bellwhether for Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Oregon: The debate about debates between John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley continues. The Democrat wants a series of seven encounters while the former NBA Trail Blazer has accepted four – although the four he wants aren’t necessarily the Kitz wants. Round and round it goes as Oregon’s budget hole grows larger.

Pennsylvania: During the Democratic primary Philadelphia-area state senator Anthony Williams set Keystone State fundraising and spending records when a trio of school voucher proponents donated millions to his campaign. When Williams officially endorsed Democratic nominee Dan Onorato, many wondered whether those donors would open their checkbooks once again. It appears they haven’t.

Vermont: Brian Dubie makes it easier for his eventual Democratic opponent to run against the Dubya legacy.

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
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.”

Aug
01

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.