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Ballot Box

May 2010

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May 18, 2010

Ballot Box Has Moved

posted by Josh Goodman

Ballot Box has a new name and a new home: Governing Politics. I have all the same great (or at least hopefully pretty good) state and local political coverage at . Please switch your bookmarks.

May 06, 2010

Frank Caprio: “I was a teenage father.”

posted by Josh Goodman

The Providence Journal tells us about an interesting moment at a Rhode Island gubernatorial debate earlier this week:

“I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare,” said General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio, a Democrat who silenced the crowd of roughly 400 by sharing his personal story of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy while a high-school senior. “I was a teenage father.”


In an unusual public moment among rivals, his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, praised Caprio for speaking up.

“That type of message is one kids need to hear,” said Lynch, who is also pro-choice.

Caprio's paternity wasn't a secret -- the Journal had a long column on the subject in December. Politically, I wouldn't expect this detail of Caprio's biography to help or hurt his campaign. If anything, though, I think voters tend to like politicians who are willing to speak about their own human frailties.

May 05, 2010

HI-Governor: Duke Aiona's Linda Lingle Liability

posted by Josh Goodman

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has had a remarkable run for 7-plus years as the popular Republican governor of one of the nation's most Democratic states. In 2006, she was reelected with 63% of the vote. But, for the sake of Duke Aiona, she picked an awfully bad time to become unpopular. From the Honolulu Advertiser:

Gov. Linda Lingle's job approval rating has tumbled to the lowest point in her two terms as the state's chief executive, a new Hawai'i Poll has found, as teacher furloughs and a sour economy have weakened her popularity.

Just 40 percent of voters interviewed said they approved of the job Lingle is doing with the challenges facing Hawai'i. Fifty-three percent disapprove, and 7 percent said they did not know.

The Republican governor has been among the most popular politicians in the state, with approval ratings that have often rivaled U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the state's leading Democrat. Her high mark, according to the Hawai'i Poll, came in 2006, when 73 percent backed the way she was doing her job.

Aiona is Hawaii's lieutenant governor and the presumptive Republican nominee for governor. Given Lingle's unpopularity, it's no surprise that the same poll shows Aiona down double digits to either of his likely Democratic opponents.

Continue reading "HI-Governor: Duke Aiona's Linda Lingle Liability" »

May 04, 2010

CA-Governor: Will High-Speed Rail Be an Issue?

posted by Josh Goodman

In the May issue of Governing I wrote 3,000 words about high-speed rail in California, but I didn't answer what is, undoubtedly, the most important question: What about the politics?

For lots of reasons, high-speed rail in California is controversial. Despite billions of dollars in funding committed to the project, it might not happen. So, will California's choice of a governor this fall determine whether the state's government continues to support the vision of trains zipping from San Francisco to L.A. at up to 220 miles per hour?

Jerry Brown, the presumptive Democratic nominee, seems very likely to be a strong supporter of high-speed rail. That's because he already was pushing for high-speed rail the last time he was governor. Robert Cruickshank, chairman of Californians for High-Speed Rail, went over some of the history on his blog, which also helpfully illustrates how a change in gubernatorial administration can kill a high-speed rail project:

Continue reading "CA-Governor: Will High-Speed Rail Be an Issue?" »

May 03, 2010

Legislatures: Republicans Aim for Gains in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina

posted by Josh Goodman

In 2008, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio had a great run as some of the most politically interesting states in the country. They wisely scheduled their presidential primaries after Super Tuesday and, as a result, each played an out-sized role in the epic campaign for the Democratic nomination. They each were swing states for the general election and, as it turned out, were three of the seven states that voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004, but then flipped to President Obama (Virginia, Florida, Nevada and Colorado were the others).

As a result, no tears will be shed for these three states just because their primaries tomorrow are rather dull (especially compared to some of the states that are coming later). Besides, these three will be battlegrounds for state legislative control in November -- and what could be more exciting than that?

Continue reading "Legislatures: Republicans Aim for Gains in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina" »

Meg Whitman Hedges on Global Warming

posted by Josh Goodman

Since I wrote a post titled "Meg Whitman: Global Warming is Real, Man-Made" just a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised by the Sacramento Bee's report from yesterday's debate between Whitman and fellow California Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner:

Whitman responded, "I do think the scientists say that the earth is getting warmer. Whether it is manmade or not, I don't know. I'm not a scientist."

Here, again, is what she told conservative Web site Flash Report in October, which prompted my post:

Whitman: So I think the science is fairly compelling behind global warming.  Nothing is iron-clad in science, but as I look at the data, it does look to me that the earth is warming. It started largely around the Industrial Revolution and it has gone pretty dramatically up over the last 110, 120 years.  And you look at some of the obvious statistics around the size of the polar ice caps and things, it does look to me like the earth is warming.  I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this.  There may also be long-term cycles to me, but I would say it does, to me, looks like the data says that man has had a hand in this.

You could make a case, I suppose, that my original headline was what was wrong and that Whitman hasn't been inconsistent. Whitman did acknowledge in the original statement that, "Nothing is iron-clad in science." Still, I think that there's a pretty big difference between "I don't know" and "I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this." It would be helpful to know whether she elaborated at the debate, but I haven't been able to find a full video or transcript.

On a not-unrelated note, Dan Walters, the Sacramento Bee's long-time columnist, thinks Whitman's move to the right could hurt her in the general election.

April 30, 2010

MA-Governor: For Deval Patrick, a Win on Wind

posted by Josh Goodman

To my mind, the three governor's races that have changed the most in the last couple of months are Maryland (where former Gov. Bob Ehrlich jumped in), Arizona (where Gov. Jan Brewer's chances, at least in the Republican primary, improved overnight) and Massachusetts.

The difference in Massachusetts is that there's not just one event that has changed things. Instead, it's that Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill keep battling for turf in opposition to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. As Baker and Cahill fight with each other and move further to the right, Patrick's chances keep looking better and better.

The latest example of this dynamic is the wind power project off of Cape Cod that the federal government just approved. From the Boston Globe:

To Governor Deval Patrick, a long-time champion of the project who is waging a tough reelection campaign, it means a political victory, bolstering his argument that his administration is pioneering efforts to promote clean and renewable energy.

Patrick’s strong support stands in contrast with his two main opponents in the governor’s race, Republican Charles D. Baker, who expresses deep skepticism about Cape Wind, and state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, an independent who called the federal decision yesterday a mistake.

The governor has been pushing for Cape Wind since 2006, and he was beaming yesterday as he stood with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, lauding what he sees as the project’s benefits: 1,000 new construction jobs and enough energy to power 75 percent of the Cape and Islands.

It's worth remembering, of course, that a lot of people are quite critical of the Cape Wind project. The critics aren't just rich people with beach homes complaining about the effect on their views. There are real questions as to whether or not Cape Wind will lower energy costs.

But, Patrick doesn't need even need a majority of Massachusetts residents to support him on this or anything else. With Cahill and Baker dividing the opposition, he just needs a sufficiently large minority on his side. In the three-way race, 40% should be enough to win.

CA-Governor: Poizner Says Whitman Equals Schwarzenegger

posted by Josh Goodman

I've written a bit about the challenge Meg Whitman has in persuading California voters that she's not another Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, my thinking was that this was more of an issue for her in the general election than the primary.

Whitman, like Schwarzenegger, is a socially moderate Republican and an outsider to government. The question to me has been whether the independents and moderate Democrats she needs to win will say to themselves, "We tried that already and it didn't work."

However, Whitman's primary opponent, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, seems to think that this is an attack that will work in the Republican primary too. And, he could be right. Most Republicans don't like the job the governor has done either.

You can see Poizner's new ad below, though viewers who are sensitive to one person's face creepily morphing into another person's face may want to avert their eyes.

April 29, 2010

Arizona Moves to Adopt Strange Lieutenant Governor Selection Rules

posted by Josh Goodman

Say what you will about Arizona's new immigration law, but it's not nearly as mystifying as the decision the state's legislature made while forwarding a constitutional amendment to the voters to create a lieutenant governor's office (by renaming the secretary of state). From Capitol Media Services:

But the plan going to the ballot for voter ratification has a twist: Whoever won each party's nomination for lieutenant governor at the primary would then run as a ticket with the party's gubernatorial hopeful.

That "twist" would give Arizona the same system as Illinois -- the one that compounded the Scott Lee Cohen debacle and the one the Illinois Senate just voted unanimously to eliminate.

If there's something to be said for this system, it's that it would make a great reality show: Take two politicians who hate each other and who disagree on everything, then force them to spend every day for months trying to persuade voters that they'll work in tandem to fix all the state's problems. If they win, their prize is four more years together.

April 28, 2010

D.C. Mayor: A Referendum on Michelle Rhee?

posted by Josh Goodman

There are lots of big issues in the race in Washington, D.C. between Mayor Adrian Fenty and lead challenger Vincent Gray:

-Crime (which has dropped dramatically under Fenty)

-Cronyism (a problem for Fenty)

-Fenty's public manner (the mayor's sometimes-brusque style is a liability)

-Metro (which is facing serious funding problems)

-Pandas (four years and no new cubs?!?)

Still, more and more it's hard to escape the conclusion (even though it's one I've been reluctant to accept) that the race isn't really about Fenty or Gray, but rather Michelle Rhee. Rhee, who Fenty hired to head the D.C. school system, is the most polarizing person in the city who isn't part of the federal government or the Washington Redskins organization. When they decide whether to vote for Fenty, at least some voters really will be deciding whether or not they want Rhee.

Continue reading "D.C. Mayor: A Referendum on Michelle Rhee?" »

April 27, 2010

Will Arizona's Immigration Law Fizzle Like Georgia's?

posted by Josh Goodman

Arizona's new immigration law has become a huge source of controversy, but will its provisions actually do much of  anything? That might seem like a strange question, until you consider the history of state immigration policy.

In 2005, Georgia approved what, at the time, many in the media called the nation's toughest immigration law. Earlier this year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looked at the limited impact of the law:

Nearly four years after it was passed, a state law cracking down on the hiring of illegal immigrants has had little effect: Two county prosecutors say they can’t bring charges under the law because it provides no penalties. And the state hasn’t audited a single employer because the Legislature hasn’t set aside money to do so.

As you can tell from the description, the reasons that the Georgia law hasn't done much are fairly specific and might not apply to Arizona. If Georgia had just put in some money for some audits of employers, maybe their results would have been quite different.

Continue reading "Will Arizona's Immigration Law Fizzle Like Georgia's?" »

April 26, 2010

In Tennessee, Remembering a Time When Redistricting Didn't Exist

posted by Josh Goodman

In the process of redistricting next year, state lawmakers undoubtedly will draw some legislative and congressional maps that serve the interests of one political party, that unnecessarily divide communities and that make competitive election rare. In a few states, they'll probably come up with maps that look as though they were drawn by a blindfolded left-handed chimpanzee using his right hand. But, it's safe to say that nothing lawmakers come up with this time will be as bad as Tennessee's state legislative districts in 1962.

The Rose Institute of State and Local Government has a great new guide explaining the nuances of how legislative and congressional redistricting works in each state. Who knew that if the Oregon legislature can't come up with a legislative redistricting plan, the secretary of state simply gets to draw the lines?

But, the most remarkable thing to me in the report is the history. It wasn't that long ago that legislative redistricting in Tennessee didn't exist:

In 1962, however, the Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Carr that the redistricting process is subject to judicial review. Baker challenged state legislative districts in Tennessee, which had not been redrawn in sixty years. Due to population shifts, some districts had eight times more residents than others. In Baker, the Court rejected the argument that redistricting is a non-justiciable “political question,” and ruled that “malapportioned” districts are subject to judicial invalidation under the Fourteenth Amendment. In subsequent cases, such as Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) and Reynolds v. Sims (1965), the Court established the requirement that legislative districts (including congressional, state, local districts) must be drawn on an equal population basis, and may be redrawn by the courts to protect the principle of “one person, one vote.”

I guess I shouldn't be shocked that, at a time when people were routinely denied the right to vote based on the color of their skin, basic democratic principles such as "legislative districts should have roughly the same number of people" were ignored. Still, no matter how politically contentious redistricting becomes this cycle or how unfair some of the maps might seem, I'll be thankful for redistricting.

April 23, 2010

The Lower Hudson Valley: New York's Fastest Growing Region?

posted by Josh Goodman

The other day, I decided to play God. I invented a whole new region of New York. Here's what I said:

I consider Rockland County and Westchester County to be their own region (not part of Upstate) because of their economic and cultural orientation toward New York City and because I don't want to upset the proprietors of this Facebook group. So, we have "Rockchester" (not to be confused with Rochester).

Since I wanted to be a benevolent God, I did ask for input on this decision. Here's how commenter Walter responded:

I'd simply group Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange Counties together as the "Lower Hudson Valley." These areas are all focused on the City more than Upstate, and share commuting patterns toward the city (all are served by Metro-North, for example). Watch for the population in Orange and Rockland to grow even larger later this decade, as trains will be able to run into the City without a transfer in New Jersey and with greater frequency thanks to the new ARC Hudson River tube.

Here's how my numbers would have looked using Walter's Lower Hudson Valley as one of the regions:

Continue reading "The Lower Hudson Valley: New York's Fastest Growing Region?" »

April 22, 2010

Meg Whitman: Global Warming is Real, Man-Made

posted by Josh Goodman

Meg Whitman is trying to distinguish herself from Arnold Schwarzenegger as she runs for governor of California. She's also trying to court conservatives in the Republican primary. And, she's found a good way to do both of those things at the same time: opposing Schwarzenegger's signature achievement.

That would be AB 32, which mandated that the state reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Schwarzenegger signed it into law in 2006. Now, it's become one of the top topics in the state. Business groups are trying to suspend the law through a ballot measure, while Whitman has promised to delay implementation of the law if she's elected governor.Publish

That got me wondering: What does Whitman think about global warming? She's running in an environmentally sensitive state, but she's also running in a Republican primary in which many voters probably are global warming skeptics. In other relatively progressive states, Republican gubernatorial candidates this year are doubting the science behind global warming.

Continue reading "Meg Whitman: Global Warming is Real, Man-Made" »

April 21, 2010

In Arizona's Conservatism, Signs of What's to Come

posted by Josh Goodman

One of the big themes I've been talking about for a long time is how the 2010 elections could move state government away from the political center. Some Democratic governors in Republican states are likely to be replaced by Republicans. Some Republican governors in Democratic states are likely to be replaced by Democrats. Moderate governors who have checked the impulses of either conservative or liberal legislators will be gone.

In Arizona, you already can see what this process will look like.

Continue reading "In Arizona's Conservatism, Signs of What's to Come" »

April 20, 2010

In Alaska, a Vote on a Larger Legislature

posted by Josh Goodman

Remember how rural Alaska legislators were worried that redistricting would make their absurdly large legislative districts even larger and were pushing to expand the size of the Alaska legislature to maintain somewhat smaller districts?

The rural legislators won an initial victory. From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

JUNEAU - The state Legislature has voted to expand both chambers by 10 percent, by adding another two and four Senate and House seats, respectively. The vote comes as the state sees increasing signs of a population shift from rural areas to bigger cities. It also precedes a coming shift in legislative district boundaries to match population estimates from the latest federal census, which is ongoing.

The tougher test, though, will be the state's voters. Rural legislators have a pretty good case to make in favor their proposal. Their districts are so large that it's almost impossible to see many of their constituents on a regular or even occasional basis. Still, most voters may instinctively think that the fewer politicians, the better.

New York Redistricting: The Big Apple's Small But Notable Growth

posted by Josh Goodman

When I was working on a story a couple of months ago about the role of local governments in the Census, I talked with a person who has a supremely interesting job. Joseph Salvo is the head of New York City's population division, meaning it's his responsibility to figure out how many people are living in the Big Apple at any given time.

That's obviously a difficult task, but Salvo is (so far as I can tell) quite good at it. In the run up to this year's decennial count, Salvo's office identified around 127,000 addresses that the Census Bureau was missing from its list. Those addresses probably have around 300,000 people, almost enough for the city to grab a full State Senate seat from the rest of the state in redistricting.

Democrats currently control the Senate by the thinnest 32-30 margin. New York City Senate seats are much more likely to elect Democrats than those located in the rest of the state. It's easy to imagine a scenario where this extra seat is what provides Democrats with their majority after the 2012 election -- all because of a career local government official who, for all I know, could be a Republican.

Salvo told me that he expects that, with his additions, the Census Bureau address list is large enough to support his current estimate for New York City's population: 8.4 million people, up from 8 million in 2000. Compared to lots of places in Texas or California, that's quite a slow pace of growth. But, it's fast enough that New York City is New York's fastest growing region. To continue my series on intrastate population trends, let's look at the rest of the numbers from New York.

Continue reading "New York Redistricting: The Big Apple's Small But Notable Growth" »

April 19, 2010

MA-Governor: Cahill's Conservatism Burdens Baker

posted by Josh Goodman

In his campaign for Massachusetts' governorship, Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill has been positioning himself as the most conservative candidate -- more conservative than newly minted Republican nominee Charlie Baker. Cahill opposed federal health care reform more forcefully than Baker. Cahill is more critical of Massachusetts' own near-universal health care law than Baker. Cahill attended a Tea Party rally in Boston with Sarah Palin, while Baker didn't.

Now, we have evidence that voters are noticing. The Boston Herald State House News Service (corrected) reports on a new poll from Western New England College:

Continue reading "MA-Governor: Cahill's Conservatism Burdens Baker" »

April 16, 2010

Connecticut AG: Can Bysiewicz Win?

posted by Josh Goodman

For people who have been following the story closely this may be old news, but it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that no one has made an unforced error this cycle quite like Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. She could have been governor if she hadn't tried for a much more difficult office for her to win: state attorney general.

After Republican Gov. Jodi Rell announced she wasn't running for another term and after incumbent Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (the most popular Democrat in the state) announced he wasn't running for governor, Bysiewicz (also a Democrat) was the frontrunner to become Connecticut's top executive. She was the only statewide officeholder running.

But, as it turned out Bysiewicz didn't really want to be governor. From most accounts, she wants to be a U.S. senator. So, of course, it made perfect sense for her to run for state attorney general instead.

Continue reading "Connecticut AG: Can Bysiewicz Win?" »

April 15, 2010

NV-Governor: Democrats Try to Save Jim Gibbons

posted by Josh Goodman

Nevada Democrats are engaged in some funny business, intervening in the Republican primary for governor. From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

A Democratic operative has launched a campaign to defeat former federal judge Brian Sandoval in the Republican primary for governor, hoping to propel a weaker candidate, such as the incumbent governor, into the general election to face Democrat Rory Reid.

The Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, created by former Reid campaign manager Dan Hart, begins airing its first television ad today.

The ad features a constitutional amendment sponsored in 1994 by Gov. Jim Gibbons, then an assemblyman from Reno, to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. The ad takes aim at Sandoval, who as attorney general helped then-Gov. Kenny Guinn take the 2003 Legislature to the Nevada Supreme Court to break a stalemate on the budget and an $800 million tax increase.

You can see the ad here.

There's no mystery as to why Democrats would want Gibbons to beat Sandoval in the Republican primary. Sandoval is popular. Gibbons isn't. Rory Reid has a much better chance to beat Gibbons than Sandoval.

There's a little bit of a mystery, however, as to why Democrats feel the need to involve themselves in the Republican primary. While these sorts of interventions sometimes work (the 2002 California Republican primary for governor is a classic example), they're risky.

Continue reading "NV-Governor: Democrats Try to Save Jim Gibbons" »

Clarification on Texas' Shrinking Counties

posted by Josh Goodman

Commenter Wendell pointed out some fuzzy phrasing when I was talking about shrinking counties in my post on Texas and redistricting:

Jefferson County is located adjacent to Houston's metropolitan area. You should change that statement to "not located next to one of those five largest counties" in the last section for two reasons: for continuity with the other statements to the same effect and for truthfulness.


So is Wharton (adjacent to Houston's metropolitan area). Matagorda County is actually WITHIN Houston's CSA (and adjacent to the MSA). Houston county is also adjacent to the City of Houston's CSA.

He's right. What I should have said is that the shrinking counties in Texas aren't located next to one of Texas' five biggest counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis.

How Charlie Crist Could Prove He's Staying a Republican

posted by Josh Goodman

Charlie Crist's campaign for U.S. Senate put out an unequivocal statement last week. He's running as a Republican:

 “To put these rumors to rest once and for all, as we have said countless times before, Governor Crist is running for the United States Senate as a Republican. He will not run as an Independent or as a No Party Affiliation.

(Hat tip: Political Wire)

That settled the issue -- for about six days. Now, everyone is talking about Crist bolting the Republican Party all over gain.

The lesson here is that Shermanesque isn't good enough anymore. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she isn't running for president again. General David Petraeus says he'll never run for president. Yet the press doesn't believe them.

And, it's hard to blame the press for that. After all, Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the first candidate to run for president after pledging not to do so. She wouldn't even be the first one named Clinton. Officeholders always say they're not going to switch parties until they do. Why should we trust Crist?

Continue reading "How Charlie Crist Could Prove He's Staying a Republican" »

April 14, 2010

In Texas, Somewhat-Less-Conservative Republicans Win

posted by Josh Goodman

While they might cringe if you called them moderates, the less conservative candidates won two key Republican primaries in Texas yesterday for Supreme Court and State Board of Education.

On the other hand, Tea Party supporters did well in some lower-profile races. The defeat of Rep. Delwin Jones is especially noteworthy, especially because it gives me an opportunity to link to the delightfully named Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

AUSTIN — The long legislative career of Lubbock’s state Rep. Delwin Jones is over. And for accountant Charles Perry a new day has dawned.

The 86-year old lawmaker, who has served in the Texas Legislature for nearly 30 years – from 1965 to 1973 as a Democrat and from 1989 to the present as a Republican – lost decisively to Perry in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff in Texas House District 83.

At the risk of getting dangerously off topic, here's what I learned from Wikipedia:

The Lubbock Avalanche was founded by attorney John James Dillard with his business partner Thad Tubbs, who provided the money for the equipment to publish a newspaper in 1900. According to Dillard, the origin of the newspaper's Avalanche name came from his desire that the newspaper surprise the citizens of Lubbock.

I had assumed that it started as a trade publication on avalanches.

April 13, 2010

In Florida, Fighting Ballot Measures with Ballot Measures?

posted by Josh Goodman

The Palm Beach Post has an interesting development in the debate over redistricting reform in Florida:

Senate Reapportionment Chairman Mike Haridopolos directed staff to begin drafting yet another proposed amendment for the ballot that would change the way Florida handles its once-a-decade redistricting process.

The move by Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, and other Republican leaders comes in response to the FairDistrictsFlorida group having collected enough signatures and gotten the Supreme Court's OK to put two questions on the November ballot that would ask voters to specify that redistricting can't be done to favor or disfavor any party or any incumbent. The group has two amendments because one is for congressional redistricting and the other for legislative redistricting.

Senate Republicans want to put another amendment before voters to either clarify FairDistricts', or to gut it, depending on whom you believe.

Florida's legislators certainly wouldn't be the first ones to attempt to rein in direct democracy through the ballot measure process itself. Their strategy reminds me of what I was writing about in California in 2008 (as part of a feature on elected officials trying to gain control over the initiative process):

Then there is the tactic of elected officials using one initiative to fight off another. Case in point: In California last year, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a group that agitates for smaller government, entered into negotiations with the California League of Cities and the California Redevelopment Association to try to reach agreement on new eminent-domain restrictions. The talks broke down, and the Jarvis people went forward with an initiative that included far-reaching eminent-domain restrictions, as well as a ban on rent-control laws.

The government groups didn't just oppose that measure. They fired back with their own initiative, with more modest eminent-domain limits and no mention of rent control. The initiative also included a "poison pill" provision: If both measures passed, only the government-sponsored one would go into effect, provided that it received more votes. The poison pill turned out to be unnecessary. The stronger Jarvis measure was defeated by the voters, leaving the government-sponsored initiative as the only one left standing.

In Texas' Runoffs, Two Races to Watch

posted by Josh Goodman

Today is primary runoff day in Texas and, while we don't have the suspense of a gubernatorial contest (thanks to Kay Bailey Hutchison's implosion), there are a couple of races I'm watching. Here were the two that stood out in Texas Tribune's summary of the action:

Both parties are closely following the GOP runoff for Texas Supreme Court. The legal establishment is, for the most part, rooting against Rick Green and in favor of Debra Lehrmann, a Fort Worth judge with years of experience on the bench. Democrats are hoping Green's the candidate — only because they think he would be easier to beat in the general election.

The former state legislator draws a lot of support from grassroots Republicans and some antipathy from the establishment in the party. The Democratic angle: Green, who carries some ethical baggage, won't be the sort of candidate general election voters want to see. Further, Democrats see the court seat as among their best chances to get back into statewide office for the first time in [sic] 1998, along with the open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission that resulted when David Porter ousted Victor Carrillo in the Republican primary.


In another contest to watch, the battle for a State Board of Education seat pits Brian Russell, a favorite of social conservatives, against Marsha Farney, a career educator, in a GOP runoff. That seat, in District 10, covering a large swath of Central Texas, is currently held by Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, a leading social conservative on the board who is not seeking re-election. It's been a relatively low-profile race, but it offers voters another chance to drop their oars into the politics of the state board, a body so reliably weird it should have a listing in state tour guides.

In the first round of voting, the Supreme Court race truly was wide open. No one took more than 19% of the vote and five candidates took at least 16% of the vote. So, that one looks completely unpredictable to me.

In the Board of Education race, both Russell and Farney sound like conservatives, though Russell comes across as more of a movement conservative. I've seen the third-place candidate in the first round of voting, Rebecca Osborne, described as a moderate. You'd think that Osborne's supporters would go to Farney, giving her the nomination (Russell only led by 3 points in the first round of voting), but, with completely different turnout dynamics this time around, the situation might not be quite that simple.

April 12, 2010

Texas Redistricting: The Effects of Exurbanization

posted by Josh Goodman

Everyone agrees that Texas will be the big winner in reapportionment. Thanks to the state's rapid population growth, Texas is expected to gain 3 or 4 new U.S. House seats and 3 or 4 additional Electoral College votes.

But, Texas is a big, diverse place. So, where the growth is taking place matters quite a bit (for questions such as whether Republicans will be able to hold their razor-thin margin in the Texas House of Representatives). Following up on my post on California, here's a look at whether Republicans or Democrats will benefit from population trends in Texas.

Continue reading "Texas Redistricting: The Effects of Exurbanization" »

April 09, 2010

Chris Kelly: Democrats' Own Wealthy California Candidate

posted by Josh Goodman

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger pummeled Democrat Phil Angelides in the 2006 California governor's race in large measure due to money. Schwarznegger had lots of it. Angelides, who lacked a personal fortune, didn't.

In this year's California gubernatorial race, Republican Meg Whitman has gone ahead because of money. She has tens of millions of dollars to spend, while Democrat Jerry Brown, who has spent most of his adult life in elected office, doesn't.

At some point, Democrats in California will realize that it helps if their candidates are spectacularly rich. That makes Chris Kelly an interesting person to watch. From the Sacramento Bee:

Continue reading "Chris Kelly: Democrats' Own Wealthy California Candidate" »

April 08, 2010

Will Redistricting Muddle Virginia's 2011 Legislative Elections?

posted by Josh Goodman

Virginia is one of only a few states that holds regular state legislative elections in odd-numbered years. When it comes to redistricting, that's a problem.

Other states will have all of 2011 to draw their new lines. But, Virginia has to draw the districts in time for candidates to run for office the very same year. Well, at least in theory that's what Virginia has to do. Ben Tribbett (better known as Not Larry Sabato) lays out an alternative scenario in Washingtonian:

In 1981, a judge ruled that the new redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act and ordered the General Assembly to draw single-member districts across Virginia. Because of the late timing, delegates were allowed to stand for reelection in their old seats in 1981 for one-year terms. After returning to Richmond and passing new legislative lines, the delegates would stand for another one-year term in 1982 before seeking a full two-year term in 1983. Senators elected to a four-year term in 1979 were unaffected and ran for another four-year term in 1983.

Fast-forward to today, and this same scenario seems probable—except this time state senators and delegates are both scheduled to be on the ballot in 2011. Without a quick agreement on new lines, a judge will have to decide what to do with the 2011 elections. The most likely decision will be to follow the 1981 precedent, with legislators on the ballot in 2011 for one-year terms in the Senate and House. This would put all 140 seats in the General Assembly back on the ballot in 2012 as President Obama is seeking reelection.

For young whippersnappers such as myself, it's tough to grasp the chaos that redistricting can cause. We'll know all about it soon enough.

April 07, 2010

California Redistricting: Population Shifts Favor Republicans, for Now

posted by Josh Goodman

We're still months away from having the results of the 2010 Census, but, in some ways, there isn't that much suspense. While it will be exciting to learn precisely how many congressman and electoral votes each state receives, the basics of the population shifts that have taken place over the last ten years are clear.

One reason they're clear is that the Census Bureau produces annual estimates of how many people live in each state, city and county across the country. You probably already know the overall picture: The fastest growth is in generally Republican Sunbelt states (though the recession has stalled that trend to some extent).

For legislative redistricting, though, what matters are the intrastate population trends (they also matter quite a bit for congressional redistricting). The Bureau just released its most recent county numbers last month, which estimate the population as of July 1, 2009. From those, we can examine a key question: Is population growth in Democratic or Republican places?

I'm going to start by trying to answer that question in California and (while I make no firm promises) I want to write about a lot more states in the days and weeks ahead. Plus, you don't have to wait for me. If you know where to look on the Census site for the population data, know the formula for percent change, know about Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections and have a basic knowledge of Excel, you can do this yourself.

Below, you'll see the population change from 2000 to 2009 in California's 22 most populous counties, as well as the performance of President Obama and 2006 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides in each of those counties. Together, these counties are home to more than 90% of Californians.

Continue reading "California Redistricting: Population Shifts Favor Republicans, for Now" »

April 06, 2010

Pennsylvania's 8-Year Coincidence?

posted by Josh Goodman

I'm not particularly good at math, but one of the mathematical insights I understand is that, given a large enough sample, the unlikely becomes likely. As in: It's unlikely that anyone in particular will win the lottery, but if enough people play the lottery it becomes likely that someone will win.

That's how I've always felt about Pennsylvania's 8-year revolving governorship. Since 1954, Democrats and Republicans have traded the governorship every eight years. Since 1970, this has meant 5 consecutive two-term governors, each with the opposite party affiliation of his predecessor. As a result, you get analysis like this from political scientists Terry Madonna and Michael Young:

The statistical evidence makes a compelling argument that the cycle is no fluke. Mathematical probability tells us that 14 elections beginning in 1954 are extremely unlikely to produce the alternating eight-year cycle simply by chance. The probability is less than 0.000141% that this string of 14 gubernatorial elections could have happened simply by coincidence. Put differently, the odds are more than 5000 to 1 against getting such an alternating string of election results, unless something meaningful has been occurring to produce the pattern. This is solid and persuasive statistical evidence.

But, there are 50 states. It seems quite likely that purely by chance some state would, over some period of time, have some quirky pattern in its gubernatorial election results, whether it was this one of some other equally strange one. If one American wins the Powerball jackpot at 195,249,054 to 1 odds, that doesn't prove "something meaningful has been occurring to produce" his series of correct numbers. He just guessed.

On the other hand, today Stateline (which is where I discovered the link above) offered the most plausible explanation of the pattern that I've seen:

Continue reading "Pennsylvania's 8-Year Coincidence?" »

April 05, 2010

Wyoming: Dave Freudenthal's Surprising Standing

posted by Josh Goodman

As Dave Freudenthal spent months pondering whether he would try to win a third term as governor of Wyoming, whether he could win was every bit as much of a mystery. For some reason, pollsters don't typically pay much attention to Wyoming. Freudenthal had been reelected with 70% of the vote in 2006, but surely he couldn't have maintained that level of support, right?

Continue reading "Wyoming: Dave Freudenthal's Surprising Standing" »

UT-Gov: Gary Herbert Steps Out of the Shadows

posted by Josh Goodman

When I'm on a long car ride with my wife, I sometimes try to see how many of the nation's governors she can name. Other than that, I'd like to think I'm a decent husband.

If there are three governors I'm confident my wife -- a well-informed person, but not a true political junkie -- wouldn't be able to name as of a few weeks ago, they're Sean Parnell in Alaska, Mark Parkinson in Kansas and Gary Herbert in Utah.

The reason that Parnell, Parkinson and Herbert are among the nation's most anonymous governors is that they weren't elected to the office in which they now serve. (While that's also true of David Paterson in New York, Pat Quinn in Illinois and Jan Brewer in Arizona, they, for better or for worse, have made names for themselves). That means they haven't been in office very long and that we didn't get the benefit of high-profile campaigns to learn more about them.

Parnell, Parkinson and Herbert all replaced political stars: Sarah Palin, Kathleen Sebelius and Jon Huntsman, respectively. Before he became Ambassador to China, Huntsman was something like David Frum before David Frum, criticizing the congressional leadership of his fellow Republicans.

How is Herbert grappling with Huntsman's legacy? That was part of the subtext when I sat down with the governor for an interview a couple weeks ago. Our parent company was kind enough to turn it into a spiffy video:

My wife now knows who Gary Herbert is. She's also skeptical as to whether I have a future as a T.V. newscaster.

April 02, 2010

Arizona's Semi-Closed Primary

posted by Josh Goodman

Richard Winger corrects my post from yesterday:

Terminology is important. Arizona does not have an open primary. It has a semi-closed primary. An open primary has been defined in court decisions and political science textbooks as one in which a voter is free to vote in any party's primary. That is not the case in Arizona. States in which independents are free to vote in any party's primary have semi-closed primaries. Generally, states with open primaries do not have registration by party. The voter registration form simply doesn't ask the question about party. 22 states are like that.

Arizona AG: Joe Arpaio's Protégé Prepares to Run

posted by Josh Goodman

I pride myself on being at least vaguely aware of what's going on politically in every state in the country. But, events in Maricopa County, Arizona over the last year have strained my powers of discernment.

Essentially, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the legendarily controversial conservative crime fighter, has joined up with his ally, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, to engage in a death struggle with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Everyone is accusing everyone else of corruption, lots of lawyers are involved and there are new developments all the time. If you want to get a feel for this, just look at the "County Craziness" tag on the Phoenix New Times' Valley Fever blog. But, I still couldn't quite tell you what is behind all of this.

Anyway, the interesting new development is that Thomas is going to run for attorney general. From the Arizona Republic:

Continue reading "Arizona AG: Joe Arpaio's Protégé Prepares to Run" »

April 01, 2010

Sheila Simon: A Carbondale Resident Responds

posted by Josh Goodman

I speculated last week on why Sheila Simon (who was picked as Illinois Democrats' new lieutenant governor nominee over the weekend) lost the 2007 race for mayor of Carbondale. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet a received a response from a commenter, "Carbondale resident." Here it is:

This analysis is exactly right. She turned a local mayoral race into a political democratic versus republican race and people didn't like it. I voted for her opponent and I'm much more a left-leaner than a right-learner. Her opponent has irritated people by being a full-time mayor in what is setup as a part-time mayor position but he's done a pretty good job. People figured she wanted the photo-spotlight and we should vote for her because "she's a Simon". Woop-ti-doo. It seemed that her reason for running was because she wanted to for the title and because she didn't like Cole.

Of course, also thanks to the miracle of the Internet I can't confirm that this commenter is actually a Carbondale resident, but the account does square with what the Chicago Tribune reported.

Arizona Senate: Is an Open Primary Good for McCain?

posted by Josh Goodman

George Will has a column this morning arguing that if the Arizona Republican Party's decides to only allow party members to vote in its primary this year, that will aid J.D. Hayworth's conservative challenge to John McCain. But, so far as I can tell, what little empirical evidence is available supports the opposite conclusion.

Here's what Will wrote in the Washington Post:

McCain understandably wants the primary open to non-Republicans: A closed primary would favor Hayworth, many of whose supporters are the sort of high-octane conservatives who will vote in an Arizona August.

Hayworth's supporters certainly are high-octane conservatives. But, that doesn't necessarily mean they're Republicans.

Continue reading "Arizona Senate: Is an Open Primary Good for McCain?" »

Texas Redistricting: Let's Make a Deal

posted by Josh Goodman

One thing I find endearing about the congressional redistricting process in Texas is that no one pretends that it is anything other than political. So, you get stories like this one from the Texas Tribune:

Republican and Democratic members of the Texas congressional delegation are discussing a possible compromise designed to cool off the overheated politics of congressional redistricting by dividing the expected spoils once U.S. Census figures are in and the reapportionment process begins in 2011, two members of the delegation say.

U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, told me the plan on the table would split the expected four-seat gain in Texas congressional seats into two for the Republicans and two for the Democrats, shfiting the focus of a likely fight from which party gets what to where the new districts are drawn. That would take the current make-up of the delegation from 20 Republicans and 12 Democrats to 22 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Smith said he would be in Austin over the next few days presenting the possible compromise to Speaker Joe Straus and Gov. Rick Perry. Cuellar says he briefed Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst when they were together in South Texas earlier this year. "I talked to both of them," Cuellar said. "They said, 'If you guys come up with something bipartisan, we'll support you.'"

No one, it seems, is saying let's ignore politics and focus on keeping districts compact and communities of interest united. No one, it seems, is even saying that Texas should draw a bunch of swing districts and may the best party win. Redistricting's primary purpose is to dole out districts to the two major parties.

Of course, as the article notes in the final paragraph, the problem for these dealmaking congressmen is that the legislature ultimately will decide on the lines.

March 31, 2010

Governors: Democrats' Best Case Scenario

posted by Josh Goodman

Yesterday, I used Rasmussen polls to find the worst case scenario for Democrats in gubernatorial races. Last night I was thinking, well, what's the best case scenario for Democrats?

The easiest thing to do would be to look at a pollster with Democratic-leaning house effect equivalent to Rasmussen's and see what they're finding. The pollster that fits that description this cycle is Research 2000, which does polling for the Democratic blog Daily Kos, among others.

The problem is that while Research 2000 is a fairly prolific pollster, it's not as prolific Rasmussen. No one is. Research 2000 hasn't recently polled the gubernatorial races in most states.

However, here's what Nate Silver says:

Rasmussen, thus far, has a Republican-leaning house effect of about 5 and 1/2 points. So if Rasmussen, for example, has a Republican leading by 7 points in a particular race, an average pollster would have the Republican ahead by only 1 or 2 points. Research 2000, on the other hand, has a Democratic-leaning house effect of about 4 1/2 points. If they show an R+7 in a particular race, it would be the equivalent of an R+11 or an R+12 from an average pollster. These are, obviously, very large differences: it implies that if Research 2000 and Rasmussen were to poll the same race, we'd expect about a 10 point difference between them.

So, we can use Rasmussen polls to theoretically guess what Research 2000's result would be on a state-by-state basis. If the Republican is leading by much less than 10 points, Research 2000 would show the Democrat leading.  If it's much more than 10 points, then even Research 2000 would place the Republican in the lead.

Continue reading "Governors: Democrats' Best Case Scenario" »

March 30, 2010

Governors: Democrats' Worst Case Scenario

posted by Josh Goodman

Rasmussen Reports, this election cycle's most prolific pollster, tends to show results that are more favorable to Republicans than other survey firms. But, that doesn't necessarily mean Rasmussen is wrong. Polling guru Nate Silver has made a strong case (here and here) that Rasmussen's house effect likely reflects the pollster's methodological decisions -- decisions that might or might not be the best way to measure the electorate's preferences.

As a result, Rasmussen's numbers can be viewed as reflecting the best case scenario this cycle for Republicans and the worst case scenario for Democrats. So, what would that result look like?

Continue reading "Governors: Democrats' Worst Case Scenario" »

March 29, 2010

Meg Whitman: I'm Tougher than the Terminator

posted by Josh Goodman

As Meg Whitman tries to make the transition from underdog to overdog, one of her big challenges is the last wealthy Republican outsider to run for governor of California: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For now, their fates aren't intertwined. Schwarzenegger's poll numbers keep getting worse. Powered by a huge ad blitz, Whitman's poll numbers keep getting better.

But, for Whitman to win she'll have to explain how she'll be different from Schwarzengger. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that part of the argument Whitman is making is that she'll be tougher than the governor:

Continue reading "Meg Whitman: I'm Tougher than the Terminator" »

March 26, 2010

Illinois: Why Sheila Simon Lost in Carbondale

posted by Josh Goodman

It's easy to see why, coming off the Scott Lee Cohen debacle, Gov. Pat Quinn wants the Illinois Democratic Party to pick Sheila Simon to be his new running mate.

As the daughter of former U.S. senator Paul Simon, she has a famous, popular last name. She's from downstate. She's a woman.

But, there's one blemish on Simon's résumé: Her defeat in the 2007 race for mayor of Carbondale, Illinois. How did the daughter of a well-liked U.S. senator fail to win a local election in a town of 26,000 people?

From looking back at the limited number of newspaper clips about the race, there's no indication that Simon made some horrible blunder. She was running against the incumbent mayor (a Republican), so her loss wasn't that surprising.

If there's any sign of an error on Simon's part, it's that she didn't act like a candidate who was running for mayor of Carbondale. From a Chicago Tribune article at the time:

Simon had trotted out prominent Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, during her campaign. Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan held a fundraiser for Simon in Chicago.

But the parade of prominent political outsiders apparently annoyed some voters in Downstate Illinois who resent upstate influences.

NY-Governor: Cuomo Bounces Back

posted by Josh Goodman

Since I commented on a poll that showed New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's approval rating dropping to 54% recently, it's worth noting that the same pollster, Marist, now has him bouncing back to 61%.

Equally importantly, Marist is the latest pollster to show that despite Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy's good profile -- suburban officeholder, former Democrat -- he doesn't appear to have much of an opening against Cuomo in the governor's race.

In many states, being the top elected official in a county of 1.5 million people would make you one of the most promising statewide aspirants around. In New York, that leaves Levy unknown to a large majority of his state's residents.

March 25, 2010

Health Care Tests the Independence of Attorneys General

posted by Josh Goodman

In a day, an argument about health care has morphed into a case study over the relative power of governors and state attorneys general.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (a Republican candidate for governor) signed onto the suit arguing that federal health care reform's individual mandate is unconstitutional. Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker (a Democratic candidate for governor) refused to do so.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, disagrees with Cox's suit. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, disagrees with Baker's refusal to participate in the suit. If only the two of them could swap attorneys general, everyone would be happy.

Granholm is ordering Cox's office to intervene in the lawsuit in favor of health care reform -- she says that without her approval he doesn't have the legal authority to pursue the suit.

Perdue, on the other hand, is trying to sidestep Baker entirely after the attorney general rejected his request to join the suit. The governor says he will appoint a "special attorney general" to handle the case. Meanwhile, there are rumors that the Georgia legislature may consider impeaching Baker for not following Perdue's orders.

So, what happens when an attorney general and a governor disagree?

Continue reading "Health Care Tests the Independence of Attorneys General" »

March 24, 2010

Which Attorneys General Will Sue Over Health Care Reform?

posted by Josh Goodman

As you probably know by now, 13 Republicans attorneys general are suing to block the individual mandate in federal health care reform, claiming that it is unconstitutional. Twelve of them (along with Democrat Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana) are collaborating on one suit, while Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is pursuing separate legal action.

That got me wondering: What about the Republican attorneys general who aren't part of the suit? Are they going to join? And what about the other Democrats in conservative states similar to Louisiana?

Continue reading "Which Attorneys General Will Sue Over Health Care Reform?" »

March 23, 2010

On Health Care, Patrick Stands Alone and Stands to Gain

posted by Josh Goodman

In January in Massachusetts' U.S. Senate special election, Martha Coakley, a candidate who favored health care reform, took 47% of the vote. That was bad news for Coakley, but it's good news for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick because Patrick, in a heated three-way race, should win comfortably if he can take 47% of the vote.

And, it's become clear in recent days that if federal health care reform were the only issue in the governor's race (obviously, it won't be) Patrick would be well on his way to winning. From the Boston Globe:

Continue reading "On Health Care, Patrick Stands Alone and Stands to Gain" »

March 22, 2010

With a Democrat in the White House, Republican AGs Rise

posted by Josh Goodman

When George W. Bush was in the White House, Democratic state attorneys general attempted to check his administration's power. State attorneys general, for example, played a key role in winning the Supreme Court ruling that designated carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Now that a Democrat is in the White House, Republican attorneys generals are trying to play the exact same role. One example: health care. Here's Reuters:

Continue reading "With a Democrat in the White House, Republican AGs Rise" »

March 19, 2010

Governors' Race Ratings Roundup

posted by Josh Goodman

In case you missed anything, here are links to all my Governors' Race Ratings posts over the past week:

Governors' Races Ratings: South Carolina-Wyoming

posted by Josh Goodman

Here's the fifth and final installment of my gubernatorial ratings.

South Carolina -- Leans Republican: One lesson I took from Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate race is that you don't have to be a great politician or even a good one to win a downballot statewide race (which is how Martha Coakley could be attorney general). South Carolina Democrats seem to have taken that lesson to heart. They only have one statewide officeholder, State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex. Yet increasingly the party seems to be uniting not around Rex for governor, but rather Vincent Sheheen, who, like Brown before him, is only a lowly state senator.

South Dakota – Leans Republican: Especially given their Republican-tilting house effect, Rasmussen's poll showing Democrat Scott Heidepriem, the South Dakota Senate’s minority leader, competitive with the various Republican candidates (and actually leading a couple of them) was a surprise. South Dakota has elected lots of Democrats to Congress, so why not a Democratic governor? The biggest reason why not is probably the large campaign warchest of Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard and the popularity of the man he’s trying to replace, fellow Republican Mike Rounds.

Continue reading "Governors' Races Ratings: South Carolina-Wyoming" »

March 18, 2010

Governors' Races Ratings: Nevada-Rhode Island

posted by Josh Goodman

Here's part four of my gubernatorial race ratings. The English majors out there will note that if I had been going in proper alphabetic order then Nevada would have been in my previous post. In my defense, it's been more than 20 years since I've been in kindergarten, so how I am supposed to remember that 'v' comes before 'w?'

Nevada -- Leans Republican: There's a theory that Nevada is one of the most difficult states in the country to poll because of the odd hours many of its residents work at casinos. That theory is one of the few reasons for optimism for Harry and Rory Reid, the unpopular father-son Democratic duo running for Senate and governor. For Rory, another reason for optimism is the small-but-not-negligible possibility that Gov. Jim Gibbons will once again be the Republican nominee.

New York -- Very Likely Democratic: The drop in Andrew Cuomo's approval rating to 54% in a recent poll shouldn't be treated as anything more than an ephemeral setback for the attorney general, linked to his investigation of Gov. David Paterson -- or perhaps it's just an outlier. Still, it's a good reminder that New Yorkers opinions of Cuomo aren't that firm and that they don't actually know a whole lot about what he would do as governor. Republicans could have an opening, but they'd need a candidate with money and charisma to take advantage.

Continue reading "Governors' Races Ratings: Nevada-Rhode Island" »

March 16, 2010

Governors' Races Ratings: Maine-New Mexico

posted by Josh Goodman

Here's the third part of my gubernatorial race ratings:

Maine -- Toss Up: Maine's 2006 governor's race was a robust four-way race. Gov. John Baldacci won reelection with only 38% of the vote. An independent candidate scored 21.5% of the vote and a third-party candidate scored 9.5% of the vote. But, don't expect a repeat this year. Those two candidates were able to do so well without major party backing in large measure because of the generous public campaign funding under Maine law. Afterward, Maine tightened the requirements for candidates to receive public money. This year, only well-known Democrats and Republicans are in the running for public funding.

Maryland - Likely Democratic: I know there's some bad blood between Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and Bob Ehrlich, the Republican governor O'Malley defeated in 2006. So, as Ehrlich gears up for a rematch, there's bound to be some unpleasantness between them. Still, Ehrlich's recent criticism of O'Malley for visiting troops in Iraq during a legislative session frankly is one of the more boneheaded political moves I've seen lately. Even as he lost in 2006, most Marylanders liked Ehrlich personally. He'll need to calibrate his attacks to not lose that advantage in a state where any Democrat starts out with a sizable edge.

Continue reading "Governors' Races Ratings: Maine-New Mexico" »