Governor races

Governor races

Gregoire to head National Governors Association

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has been chosen to head the National Governors Association.

Gregoire was named to the spot after a vote by the NGA executive committee and will be the second woman to chair the association. She replaces West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who was elected to the Senate on Nov. 2. He resigned the chairmanship last week. Her term will go through the NGA Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City in July 2011.

Meanwhile, the Republican governors are gathering in San Diego this week for their annual meeting. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to be elected as head of the organization.

Republicans won a majority of the gubernatorial mansions up for grabs this year, picking up 11 seats from the Democrats.

President Obama will meet with all the newly elected governors Dec. 2 at the White House.

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Tea Party favorite Haley wins S.C. governor's race

Republican Nikki Haley defeated Democrat Vincent Sheheen in the South Carolina gubernatorial race, handing Tea Party activists a major victory.

Haley, an Indian-American, was a little-known state representative until she surged ahead and eventually won the competitive Republican gubernatorial primary.

Many Republicans view Haley as a rising star in the party; she becomes South Carolina's first female governor.

Sheheen had cut into Haley's lead in recent weeks, but the Republican was able to fend him off on Election Day.


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Poll shows Tancredo tied with Dem in Colorado governor's race

A new poll shows the Colorado governor's race in a statistical tie between Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) and former Rep. Tom Tancredo.

The result should concern Democrats who had expected Hickenlooper to coast to victory with the conservative vote split between Tancredo, who's running on the American Constitution Party line, and Republican nominee Dan Maes. 

But Maes has been steadily bleeding support after a series of damaging press reports crippled his candidacy. In the Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies survey released Friday, he took just 9 percent of the vote.

This is the latest survey to show Tancredo closing in on Hickenlooper.

In the Magellan poll, Hickenlooper is out front with 44 percent of the vote, while Tancredo took 43 percent. The automated survey of 1,067 likely Colorado voters, which was conducted Oct. 20, has a margin of error of 3 percent.

Since the firm’s Aug. 25 poll, support for Maes has plummeted from 27 to 9 percent. At the same time, Tancredo’s support has increased from 17 to 43 percent.

The Tancredo camp has been pressuring Maes to drop out and make it a two-person race. His campaign manager, Bay Buchanan, recently called a Maes supporter to say "the time is absolutely now" for Maes to give up, according to The Denver Post.

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Ex-Rep. Gilchrest backs Dem in Maryland governor's race

Former Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), who lost a primary challenge from the right in 2008, is backing Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in his reelection race against former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R).

Glichrest has made no secret of his disappointment in the direction his party has taken over the past few election cycles, repeatedly warning of a rightward shift in the GOP. 

The centrist Republican was defeated by state legislator Andy Harris in 2008, leading Gilchrest to endorse Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) in the general election. Kratovil ran a narrow victory over Harris two years ago and faces a rematch with the Republican this fall.

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Newspapers back independent candidate for governor in Minnesota

Several major newspapers in Minnesota have backed the independent candidate over both the Democrat and the Republican in the gubernatorial race.

The Independence Party's Tom Horner got the backing of Minneapolis Star Tribune and several other major papers on Sunday.

"He possesses not only the understanding and communication skills that governing requires, but, unlike either DFLer [Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party] Mark Dayton or Republican Tom Emmer, he also has the temperament to bridge the partisan divide that has long stymied the search for lasting solutions to chronic problems, both in Minnesota and the nation," the Star Tribune’s editorial board wrote in its endorsement Sunday.

Horner also got the backing over the weekend of the Fargo Forum, the Duluth News Tribune and the Bemidji Pioneer.

A recent Rasmussen survey of 750 likely Minnesota voters showed Dayton with a narrow lead —40 percent to 38 percent lead — over Emmer. Horner took just 15 percent in that survey.

President Obama wraps up his Western swing on Saturday in Minneapolis with a rally for Dayton. Democrats view Minnesota as one of a handful of states where the party could pick up the governorship.

Major newspapers have backed third-party candidates in other states recently, but with little impact. The Newark Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, endorsed former-EPA Regional Administrator Chris Daggett (I) in the 2009 governor's race. Daggett went on to finish third behind Republican Chris Christie and Gov. Jon Corzine (D) with some 5 percent of the vote.

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Poll shows Cuomo running away with N.Y. governor's race

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) is pulling away from his Republican challenger, Buffalo-area businessman Carl Paladino, in the race to become the state's next governor, according to a new poll. 

A New York Times survey released Sunday showed Cuomo leading Paladino 59-24 percent among likely voters, one of the largest leads the Democrat has held over the Republican during the widely watched general-election campaign. 

{mosads}After Paladino upset former Rep. Rick Lazio in the GOP primary, many thought that Cuomo would have an easier path to victory. But several polls released in the days and weeks following Paladino's victory showed him within striking distance of Cuomo, the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo (a Quinnipiac University survey released Sept. 22 showed him trailing Cuomo by only six). 

But since then, Paladino's campaign has been marked by missteps made by the fiery candidate, which have drawn national attention to the race.

He got into tussle with a reporter at a campaign event, telling him, "I'll take you out." Paladino, who received the backing of Tea Party activists, also found himself in hot water over a controversial remark he made about homosexuals during a speech to Orthodox Jewish rabbis, for which he later apologized. That comment came as he was facing questions about a child he fathered out of wedlock.

Fifty-nine percent of registered voters said Paladino does not have the right personality or temperament to be governor, compared to 73 percent who say Cuomo does.

The Times poll showed that New Yorkers are deeply dissatisfied with the condition of their state's government and economy, but have not taken to Paladino's message of government reform. 

Forty-one percent of the larger sample of registered voters have a favorable view of Cuomo, and 63 percent approve of his job performance as attorney general, despite their general attitude against the state government. Those numbers contrast with the 43 percent who view Paladino unfavorably.

Seventy-nine percent of New Yorkers polled say the state's economy is fairly or very bad, but 27 percent of registered voters said that the the economy would likely get better under Cuomo, compared to 29 percent who said it would get worse under Paladino. 

Still, more voters believe that the economy will remain the same under both potential governors (53 percent for Cuomo, 41 percent for Paladino). 

The registered voters surveyed by the Times who also voted for president in 2008 largely supported then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 58 percent to 26. 

The Times polled 1,143 New Yorkers, including 943 registered voters between Oct. 10-15. The margin of error is three percentage points for both groups.

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Brewer denies rumors of bad health as speculation grows

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) denied rumors that she is ill Thursday after critics accused her of hiding a health issue they say could threaten her ability, if elected, to serve a full term.

"I am just perfectly fine," she told Fox's Greta Van Susteren in an interview. "But it has gotten to the point where we're talking about irrelevant ridiculous things in this campaign, and that is unfortunate."

Her denial hasn't satisfied local blogs, which wondered following her infamous 16-second pause during a debate with Democratic challenger Terry Goddard whether it was the sign of a health problem.

Former Arizona Senate candidate John Dougherty (D), an investigative reporter, has fueled further speculation with a post to his Facebook page claiming sources have told him Brewer, 66, recently had a biopsy for thyroid cancer.

He pointed to a TV appearance Brewer made in early October in which she wore a bandage consistent with the procedure, and said Friday that the campaign had not returned requests for comment.

Brewer, meanwhile, has consistently denied rumors that she is ill, saying they are politically-motivated.

"There have been recent outlandish and completely unsubstantiated reports on liberal internet blogs and Twitter citing anonymous sources questioning my health," she said in a statement Tuesday. "Before committing to seek election, I had a complete checkup with my doctors and confirmed there is nothing to prevent me from holding office for four more years."

Her campaign manager, Chuck Coughlin, later pushed back against the rumor by referencing speculation in the early 1990s that Goddard, who is married and has a child, is gay.

"In no way is anyone suggesting that there is a problem with being gay, but it has a common lack of relevance to this race for Governor as the unfounded rumors being perpetuated by Goddard and his democrat operatives," he wrote on his firm's website. 

A day later, Coughlin wrote again, apologizing for the post.

"Our posting of 20 year old rumors, on a blog — no less, was meant to be an example of the extreme nature of such speculation. Pointing out this ridiculousness should in no way insinuate or imply anything further," he said.

A poll released Monday has Brewer three points ahead of Goddard — a substantial decline since the summer, when her lead was consistently above 19 points.

She has an 11-point lead among likely voters, the results show.

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