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 Virginia


Guber Quick Hits, 2/3/11

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California: Gov. Jerry Brown’s strategists are considering pursuing holding his proposed special election to extend taxes exclusively by mail. It’s not clear whether ‘going postal’ would help or hurt the chances of winning.

Florida: Politico writes about Gov. Rick Scott’s desire to muzzle the media.

Iowa: Of the nine finalists nominated to fill the three Supreme Court vacancies, one donated to Gov. Terry Branstad’s winning campaign while another made a contribution to Chet Culver.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie, the darling of small government tea partiers, has signed two bills that “increase his dominion” over recession-ravaged Atlantic City.

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry is delivering the keynote address at next week’s CPAC gathering.

Texas II: Could the budget hole be so deep that it threatens funding for high school football?

Virginia: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested an expedited Supreme Court review of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law. Since most legal observers expect a denial from the high court, you have to wonder about Cuccinelli’s motivation. Keeping his name in the headlines on this issue positions him as the GOP front-runner for the 2013 gubernatorial race.

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to the blizzard yesterday, urging motorists to stay off the roads and closed state offices to the public, but then told state workers they had to come to work or take a vacation day.

And from beyond the StateHouses:

Are we heading for a fourth wave election? One prognosticator thinks the Dems may be able to catch a wave in 2012.

With the Census Bureau reporting that racial minorities accounted for 85% of the nation’s population growth over the past decade, Latino activists expect “a minimum of nine additional Latino-majority House seats” when redistricting is said and done.

Is there room for two Mormons in the 2012 GOP presidential primary?


Quick Hits, Wednesday 5/19/10

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California: Seems that every time Steve puts more of his money into the primary battle, MegaBucks rummages about, finds a little more spare change in her purse and antes up.

Iowa: A sure sign campaign ’12 is right around the corner: Former Gov and presidential wannabe Mitt Romney endorsing former Gov and guber wannabe Terry Branstad’s quest to reclaim his former office in the Hawkeye State.

Massachusetts: It looks like Deval Patrick is unlikely to face a primary challenge, as it appears social activist Grace Ross’ petition effort is far short of the total required to make the Democratic ballot. Ironically, her absence could cost Patrick, who stands to lose $750K in public financing if he doesn’t have a primary opponent.

Minnesota: Cutting out the tradmed completely, Matt Entenza will tweet his DFL running mate once a choice has been made.

New York: GOP guber wannabe Carl Paladino plans to embark on an unusual Upstate campaign swing from Albany to Buffalo, by houseboat.

Pennsylvania: Something noteworthy was absent in yesterday’s voting – voter anger. Could it be the Flyers’ surprising Stanley Cup playoff run has turned down the volatility in a city infamous for it’s ability to vent? Or might it be this whole voter anger thingy is a media-driven narrative created to fill cable screamfests? My vote is on the latter.

Virginia: UVa’s scientific and academic community is rallying against AG Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation into the research of a former university climate change scientist “saying Cuccinelli’s investigation is a political action that could have a chilling effect on cutting-edge scientific research.” Cuccinelli believes the research may have been fraudulent, which justifies his conservative crusade against academic freedom.


Thursday’s Must Reads

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Virginia: The WaPo discusses the love-hate relationship Virginia politicians (mostly Republicans) have with Uncle Sam. They like to denounce federal deficits and stimulus packages but they’re the biggest pigs at the trough sucking up the cash. Did you know that ten cents of every dollar the federal government spends anywhere on Earth is spent in Virginia? I sure didn’t.

Ohio: Overlooked in the election results from Tuesday’s primaries was the surprisingly easy passage of State Issue 1 on the Buckeye State ballot. Belying the narrative that Americans are fed up with big government and stimulus spending, 60% of Ohio voters approved authorizing the state to issue $700 million in general-obligation bonds to keep the job-creating, high-tech Third Frontier investment program alive for three more years. Even GOP guber wannabe John Kasich had indicated he supported the program.

Huh? Hasn’t the GOP been telling us all along that government doesn’t create jobs?

Money Bombs Fizzle? – The Texas Tribune takes a look at campaign “money bombs” as a campaign tool. Sure, they raise money fast and often provide a media hit, but it’s not clear they translate into the one thing that matters: votes.

The Enthusiasm Gap Materializes: For months, we’ve heard about how conservatives and Republican voters are far more fired up to get out and vote in the 2010 midterms. Tuesday’s voting provided the first hard evidence that Democrats have a challenging task ahead – Democratic turnout was off nearly everywhere compared to the 2006 midterms.

It’s All About the Kids? – Harold Meyerson observes in the WaPo that  it’s students who are paying the highest price as states around the country make budget decisions. How do we build a 21st century workforce when we choose to shortchange our children’s future? Not only are we saddling future generations with unmanageable debt, we’re not giving them the tools to figure out how to deal with it. Meyerson writes:

One of the precious few points of consensus in our polarized land is that we need to do a better job educating our kids. But consensus, apparently, gets you only so far. In red states and blue, in urban, suburban and rural districts with unionized and non-unionized teachers, the story is the same: The worst recession since the 1930s is clobbering the nation’s schools.

Florida: Will the Man Without a Party wield his veto pen again? Pro-choice advocates could join teachers in the Charlie Crist Coalition if he does.

New Jersey: Former Gov. Jon Corzine’s decade long campaign finance spending spree has come to an end. It’s not sour grapes over being tossed from office last November that has caused him stop writing checks. It’s some of the clean government reforms he signed as governor may prohibit him, as the CEO of MF Holdings, to make contributions to Trenton officeholders.


Wednesday Quick Hits

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Illinois: This has to make Grover Norquist’s list of least favorite states. Fifteen thousand people demanding higher taxes.

Massachusetts: With oil gushing through the Gulf and lethal floodwaters rampaging in Tennessee, a water main break that leaves a major metropolitan area without safe drinking water becomes below-the-fold news. But, as Rachel Maddow likes to say, “infrastructure isn’t sexy, but it’s pretty darned important.” Especially when you can’t brush your teeth from the tap. How this plays out for Deval Patrick’s re-election bid could be interesting.

Minnesota: As two-term incumbent Gov. Tim Pawlenty prepares a 2012 Presidential run he seems to have one of the central GOP talking points down. After nearly two full terms of running the state, Minnesota’s failure to be among the nation’s top growth states isn’t his fault.

New Jersey: In a scathing editorial, the Newark Star-Ledger describes Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to deny NJ Supreme Court Justice John Wallace his worst.

Pennsylvania: Shooting guns at a fundraiser – what kind of message is that?

Virginia: AG Ken Cuccinelli is on another one of his “family values” crusades.

Wyoming: As the nation shudders at the tragic consequences of a deep sea oil drilling going horribly wrong, Wyoming wonders if the answer to America’s energy needs the is blowing in the wind? If so, could the high plains become the next OPEC?

GOP 2012: The RNC is scheduled to make a final recommendation for their 2012 National Convention. The three finalists are Tampa, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. In the aftermath of the “Drop to the Ground if You’re Brown” immigration law’s passage, does anyone think the GOP is tone deaf enough to pick the Arizona site?


Monday’s Must-Reads

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Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes the issues that dominated the just-completed legislative session are likely to dominate the 2010 elections and be more challenging by the time the next governor is sworn in. Not surprisingly, the issues here echo those across the nation – budget deficit, taxes and education. A looming hole is the $1 billion dollars in federal stimulus money propping up the current budget isn’t likely to be there next year.

South Carolina: Proving that all politics is local even in this era of jet travel, Columbia’s efforts to entice Southwest Airlines to add the state capital to the discount airlines network puts gubernatorial hopefuls in a quandary as they seek to satisfy their geographic base and reach out to other regions in the Palmetto State.

Virginia: A case of buyer’s remorse? Illustrating just how difficult it is to govern from the extremes, conservative activists are abandoning Governor Bob McDonnell only 6 months after his much-heralded victory in the Old Dominion. The WaPo reports that, despite high-profile attempts to appease them, conservative leaders are denouncing McDonnell as a “typical politician” and “gutless.” Ouch. Could this be a warning sign to others in the GOP? Perhaps those Tea Party invites should include a warning label?


Healthcare Reform: With the deadline for states to decide whether to opt in on the high-risk health insurance pool past, The New York Times has a recap on which states said “yes” and which ones said “no.” Not surprisingly, it mostly breaks down on partisan lines. Big exceptions on the GOP side include New Jersey’s Chris Christie, California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger and Florida’s Charlie Crist (technically, he’s still a registered Republican, right?) GOP-led states refusing to participate include Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada and Texas.

Another Sagebrush Rebellion?: Utah’s recently passed challenge to federal authority over vast tracts of Western lands has drawn national attention. has an intriguing article about this issue as a new front in the battle between the states and national government.

Politico reports on an Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research poll conducted Wednesday night showing a race that was once moving toward a comfortable Republican win closing to a pure toss-up. While Republican Bob McDonnell maintains a four-point lead, he falls below 50% and unlike in most earlier polls has weaker party support than his Democratic rival Creigh Deeds.


Virginia Gubernatorial Polling
  Overall GOP Dems Indies
McDonnell 47.9 79.4 7.9 54.9
Deeds 44.2 12.1 88.7 33.3
Other 0.6 0.9 0.2 0.6
Not Sure 7.3 7.6 3.2 11.2

It looks like the negative news reports surrounding McDonnell’s twenty-year old master’s thesis have invigorated a previously non-commital Democratic base around Deeds’ candidacy.

Perhaps there are larger forces driving these partisan numbers? Pollsters have been talking about a Democratic “enthusiasm gap” as the conservative base has been riled up all summer long, tea bagging and shouting across the nation’s television screens. If this poll holds true through election day, might it be an indication of a progressive backlash?

Categories : Open Seats, Polls, Virginia
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Words (even those two decades old) can really hurt a political career.

With a not-so-insignificant assist to the Washington Post (who said newspapers had become irrelevant in the 21st century?) Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell has learned a painful political lesson that others who fully embrace the fanaticism rampant in this summer’s Tea Party protests would do well to heed. Extremist words can become a political liability.

Some wondered whether or not The Thesis would impact the gubernatorial contestwhen the WaPo first revealed the 20-year-old anti-feminist, gay bashing policy proposals McDonnell wrote to please the theologues at Pat Robertson’s Regents University. Late last week, GOP-leaning pollster Rasmussen reported the race had transformed  from a comfortable GOP lead to a pure toss-up. Surprisingly, the DailyKos/Research 2000 poll showed McDonnell’s lead stable indicating Rasmussen might be an outlier. Had nothing really changed?

The latest survey from the Washington Postreinforces Rasmussen’s findings, showing a much tighter race, with McDonnell hanging on to a narrow 51-47% lead among likely voters over Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds. Read More→

Categories : Open Seats, Polls, Virginia
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Rasmussen, usually a pollster with a GOP-friendly tilt, provides a surprising survey showing Democrat Creigh Deeds pulling into a statistical dead heat with Republican Bob McDonnell. Deeds trails by two, 48-46%.

If this poll turns out not be an outlier, it marks a significant change in the race, as Deeds trailed in the Rasmussen’s most recent survey (two weeks ago) by nine and in early August by eight.

Virginia Gubernatorial Polling
  17-Sep 1-Sep 11-Aug
McDonnell 48 51 49
Deeds 46 42 41
Other 1 1 2
Not Sure 5 6 7

Read More→

Categories : Open Seats, Polls, Virginia
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As gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R) prepare for their second general election debate today in front of Northern Virginia business leaders, the Washington Post provides five questions central to the campaign as it enters the home stretch and the candidates vie for an edge among NoVa voters.  Deeds trails in all polls and heads into today’s debate with more unanswered questions confronting his campaign than McDonnell does.

Deeds’ path to victory lies in racking up impressive margins in the populous, prosperous and politically moderate (by Virginia standards, at least) DC suburbs and exurbs. Polls show him leading in the region, but not by enough to win statewide. His ability to convince voters in the region to support his candidacy could hinge on how well he addresses their concerns in tonight’s debate.

Read More→

Categories : Debates, Open Seats, Virginia
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AdMonitor: Meet the McDonnell’s

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In the wake of The Thesis, it should come as no surprise the newest ad from Republican Bob McDonnell’s campaign showcases his family. The candidate strolls through the middle class Northern Virginia neighborhood where he was raised by an Air Force officer and his “working mom”  casually chatting at the camera while his children take turns shouting “Hey, dad!”

The pictures of a clean cut, all-American family were clearly meant to be refute the candidate’s thesis-inspired Archie Bunker charicature. In fact, it wasn’t until I had watched it three times before I realized McDonnell actually mentioned any issues.

Categories : Open Seats, Virginia
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