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Voters to Dem Gubernatorial Candidates: Don’t Let the Statehouse Door Hit You on the Way Out

Posted on October 28 2010 9:00 am
Scott Spiegel blogs at He can be reached at

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Amidst the embarras de richesses of House and Senate seat pickups Republicans anticipate this midterm election cycle, one plum reward they should remember is their likely aggressive gains in gubernatorial contests across the country.

A record-breaking 37 states are holding governor’s races this November—the same number of seats open in the Senate, which has twice the number of positions as the country has governorships. Republicans hold 24 out of 50 governorships but will probably have at least 30 after November 2. RealClearPolitics identifies 9 elections as “Safe GOP” and none as “Safe Dem.” Republicans beat Democrats in the “Likely” category (5 to 4) and the “Leans” category (7 to 5.)

Rasmussen Reports notes:

“No states with a Republican governor are considered likely to elect a Democrat in November. But eight states now headed by Democrats—Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming—are seen as likely GOP pickups.”

The allocation of governorships is important in and of itself, but also has implications for the U.S. House of Representatives, given the role of governors in reapportioning districts for House seats based on the 2010 Census.

Prospects aren’t universally rosy for the GOP. Forget loose cannon Carl Paladino, who was never going to win blue state New York. Never mind Meg Whitman  who doesn’t fit the profile of what voters are looking for in fickle, atypical California. In the rest of the country, the map of governorships is turning bright red.

Massachusetts incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick faces a shockingly close reelection race: the latest Boston Globe poll shows him ahead of Republican Charles Baker only within the statistical margin of error. Patrick has yet to reach 50% support in the polls—typically the kiss of death for an incumbent. And all of this is happening in the presence of a third-party candidate, Timothy Cahill, who is drawing more votes from Baker than Patrick.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel reports that Republican and even Democratic candidates are pledging to emulate the modus operandi of recently elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has stood up to powerful unions, slashed spending, and vetoed tax increases.

Rhode Island Democratic candidate Frank Caprio has tried to improve his chances by (1) distancing himself from President Barack Obama, (2) being more conservative than former Republican/current Independent competitor Lincoln Chafee, and (3) meeting with Republican leaders in Washington over the objections of state Democratic groups.

As always, strong candidates must contend with the 30% of the populace who constitute what Mark Levin calls the “drones”—the terminally, willfully, irredeemably ignorant.

In the close Ohio governor’s race, voters who favor Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland demonstrated their firm grasp of the issues and fine deductive powers in a series of interviews with the Toledo Blade. Resident Heather Elliott, who favors Strickland, babbled:

“I kind of like everything that he stands for. I think he’s going to do what we need, and I just have a good feeling about him… A lot of the [Strickland] commercials I have seen, maybe fair or unfair, they have swayed me against [Kasich].”

Fair or unfair—it’s all the same when it comes to recruiting potential Democratic voters! That must be in the Democratic National Committee’s bylaws.

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