Governor races

Governor races

RGA delays release of fundraising numbers as Dems trumpet third-quarter haul

The Republican Governors Association is holding off on releasing its third quarter fundraising numbers until next week, a spokesman said. The RGA's delay comes as the Democratic Governors Association announced Friday it had raised a "record" amount in the last quarter.

The DGA raised $10 million in the third quarter, its "third consecutive record-breaking quarter," according to a release. The committee now has $13 million cash on hand.

Moreover, independent groups the DGA supports — including Lone Star First in Texas, Building a Stronger Ohio and Bay State Future in Massachusetts — have an additional $3 million on hand.

In the second quarter, the DGA trailed its Republican counterpart in fundraising. It pulled in $9.1 million, which was less than half of what the RGA raised. The RGA raised $18.9 million in the second quarter, when it reported having some $40 million banked.

The DGA spent only $14 million in 2006.

The DGA's chairman said voters will have a clear "choice" in November. "In one, we will help middle class families continue to recover from this economic crisis. In the other, our country will revert to the same policies that caused this mess in the first place," Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) said in a statement.

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Georgia Republican spent $100K for Palin rally

Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell should check her campaign's bank statements before booking Sarah Palin for a campaign visit: It cost another female Republican candidate more than $100,000 to have a joint campaign rally with the former Alaska governor.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel's (R) camp paid an Ohio jet charter service some $92,000 and to fly Palin in for a joint rally in the days before the August primary runoff vote.

Handel also paid an additional $13,000 in expenses to the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead for the event, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which cited her state campaign finance reports. Her campaign committee reported being $28,000 in debt in the same report.

Handel went on to lose to former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) by about 2,500 votes. 

Palin told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday that she would travel to Delaware on O'Donnell's behalf. "Yeah, absolutely,” she said. "I'm honored to, I'm excited about it."

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Poll: Cuomo has large lead over 'loose cannon' Paladino

New York Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo has a commanding 24-point lead over his Republican opponent Carl Paladino, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Siena College poll of likely voters showed Cuomo, the state attorney general, leading the Buffalo-area businessman 56-32 percent. Fifty-nine percent of voters view Paladino unfavorably and 61 percent agree he "is a loose cannon, who doesn’t have the temperament to be governor."

Cuomo has an 11-point lead among independents and about twice as many Republicans back the Democrat than Democrats support the Republican: 25 percent to 12 percent.

“With four weeks until voters go to the polls, Cuomo remains in a very strong position to be elected New York’s next governor," pollster Steve Greenberg said. 

The results of the poll come after Paladino confronted a reporter at a campaign event late last month after suggesting his opponent had an extramarital affair. He told the reporter "I'll take you out." The Republican has declined to apologize for his actions.

Paladino's fiery nature, however, appeared to help him win the GOP primary over former Rep. Rick Lazio. During that campaign, he promised he would "take a baseball bat" to the state capital of Albany to help root out corruption and establishment interests. But he also found himself in trouble when it was revealed he has forwarded e-mails containing explicit content to work associates.

A Qunnipiac University poll of likely voters taken late last month and before the incident showed a tightening race: Cuomo only led Paladino 49-43 percent. 

Siena polled 636 likely New York voters between Oct. 3-4. The survey has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points. 


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Whitman, Brown spar over housekeeper controversy

A debate between California's gubernatorial candidates Saturday centered on the controversy surrounding GOP nominee Meg Whitman's illegal immigrant housekeeper.

Whitman blamed Democratic nominee Jerry Brown for sparking the controversy while Brown accused Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, of not taking responsibility for her actions, according to the Associated Press

"Don't run for governor if you can't stand up on your own two feet," Brown said at the event at Cal State-Fresno.

AP reporter Juliet Williams said on Twitter that the candidates had to be taken offstage after the debate got heated over the issue: "Sheer madness at #CAgov debate as candidates are taken offstage in the midst of heated exchange over maidgate."

Brown, the state attorney general, and Whitman had been locked in a close race to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) but the housekeeper controversey has forced Whitman into a defensive stance.

According to her account, she employed an illegal immigrant housekeeper named Nicky Diaz Santillan for nine years but did not know her legal status. They fired her in June 2009 after she admitted she was in the country illegally, Whitman admitted this week.

The housekeeper's lawyer has also argued that Whitman and her husband should have known her immigration status due to a Social Security Administration mailed to their house in 2003.

Polls show Brown with a narrow lead over Whitman one month away from Election Day.

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RNC Chair Steele backs candidate supporters are deserting

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes (R) has "nobody left" -- except for Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Maes has been losing support from just about every one of his prominent backers since a story broke that he embellished his record as a police officer in Liberal, Kan.

Maes also had to pay a record fine for campaign finance violations.

Several former supporters called on him to quit the race and promised to write-in other Republicans' names on the ballot.

In September, state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams said Maes "has nobody left."

Enter Steele, on his cross-country bus tour.

The RNC chairman was in the Denver suburbs Thursday night to rally Republicans.

"You have a chance now, despite all the crazy noise from primaries and all of that, to focus on the agenda," Steele told the crowd of roughly 150 Republicans. "And the question, very simply is: do you want a Democrat to run the state of Colorado or do you want a Republican to run the state of Colorado? And if you want a Republican, Dan Maes is your man."

Steele's endorsement came as a recent Pulse Opinion Research poll for Fox News found Maes getting just 15 percent of the vote in the three-way contest with Democrat John Hickenlooper and former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who is running on the American Constitution Party line.

Maes' support is at less than half of what he had shortly after winning the GOP primary over former Rep. Scott McInnis in August. Still, Steele said he couldn't support Tancredo, despite his better odds of winning.

"Mr. Tancredo and I have known each other a long time. We've been through the wars together, and I understand he made a decision to go a different way," he said. "As chairman of the Republican Party, I support the Republican nominee, and I encourage every Republican in Colorado to stand with that nominee and to make sure that nominee has a chance to win."

Maes issued a statement Friday thanking Steele "for his leadership."

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Ex-Rep. Lazio quits bid for N.Y. governor

Former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) has decided to bow out of New York's race for governor and cede the stage to real estate developer Carl Paladino (R) to face state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) in November.

After being upset by Tea Party-backed Paladino in the GOP primary earlier this month, Lazio left open the possibility that he would run on the Conservative Party line in the general election creating a three-way race. 

But Lazio said Monday that if he were to remain in the race, it would make a Democratic victory in November more likely.   

“While my heart beckons me forward, my head tells me that my continued presence on the Conservative line would simply lead to the election of Andrew Cuomo and the continuation of an entrenched political machine,” Lazio said at a Monday news conference, according to Bloomberg news

Several new polls out last week showed Cuomo leading Paladino, but a Quinnipiac poll put the challenger within just 6 points of Cuomo.  

Even with polls suggesting a tight race, big name Republicans have steered clear of Paldino who has been criticized for emails he has forwarded. Paladino has said he is channeling voter anger in his race, vowing at a campaign stop to "take a bat" to Albany.  

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Republicans steer clear of Carl Paladino's insurgent bid in N.Y.

A new Quinnipiac poll out Wednesday showed the race for governor in New York between real estate developer Carl Paladino and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) shockingly close given all the institutional advantages for Cuomo in the overwhelmingly Democratic state. 

But big name Republicans aren't lining up behind Paladino's insurgent bid. 

Asked if he is supporting Paladino during a conference call with reporters, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said "I don't know Carl Paladino and he has not called me to ask for my endorsement."

The ex-mayor said that "my inclination is to support a Republican but I have no basis to make a decision."

Giuliani raised eyebrows in 1994 for endorsing Cuomo's father, then-Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, over then-state Sen. George Pataki (R), who defeated the incumbent.

Giuliani also would not comment on the candidate he endorsed in the GOP primary, former Rep. Rick Lazio. The ex-congressman lost to Paladino but won the Conservative Party nomination. He has not decided whether or not to continue running in the race.

"I don't know what he's planning to do," Giuliani said, adding that he has not talked to him.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) also excluded Paladino from the list of New York endorsements his political action committee rolled out last week. 

The Tea Party-backed candidate, who upset former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) in last Tuesday's primary, is only six points behind Cuomo, who leads 49 percent to 43. 

Paladino is aided by a four-to-one margin of support among voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Among the 18 percent of likely voters who identify with the conservative groups, Paladino enjoys 77-18 percent support. 

Paladino's campaign has been offbeat to say the least. He has repeatedly threatened to "take a bat to Albany" at Tea Party rallies and before the primary a series of emails he forwarded surfacing--many containing pornography and racist jokes. 

-This post was updated at 3:25 p.m.


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Poll: Paladino within striking distance of Cuomo in New York governor's race

New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino is in a surprisingly close race with Democrat Andrew Cuomo, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A Quinnipiac University survey of likely voters placed the Tea Party-backed Paladino only six points behind Cuomo, who leads 49 percent to 43.

Paladino, a Buffalo-area real estate developer, is aided by a four-to-one margin of support among voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Among the 18 percent of likely voters who identify with the conservative groups, Paladino enjoys 77-18 percent support.

Cuomo is the state's attorney general, and his father was a governor of the Democratic-leaning Empire State, making him a favorite to win the race. Many observers thought Paladino's victory over former Rep. Rick Lazio in the GOP primary made a Cuomo general-election victory even more likely.

Paladino has been chastised by some in his own party for saying that he wants to "take a baseball bat to Albany" and for getting himself into hot water over e-mails he forwarded containing explicit material.

The Quinnipiac survey shows both Paladino and Cuomo with over 80 percent support among their parties, and Paladino surprisingly leads among independents 49 percent to 43.

The Qunnipiac poll of 751 likely New York state voters from Sept. 16-20 has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

-- This post was corrected at 2:07 p.m.

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Abercrombie wins nomination for Hawaii governor

Former Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) this weekend handily won his party’s nomination in the race to become the next governor of Hawaii.

Abercrombie beat out former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the primary race.

Abercrombie will face Republican Lt. Gov. James Aiona in November for the governor’s seat. Immediately after he defeated Hannemann with 60 percent of the vote, Abercrombie launched his general election in an effort to bring back Democrats in the governor’s office after eight years of Republican leadership.

Meanwhile, Aiona, a conservative Republican, cruised to his party’s nomination with 95 percent of the vote. His only challenger was lawyer John Carroll.

In the fight to win Abercrombie’s former House seat, Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) who won the special election when Abercrombie retired, won his party’s nomination for the November election. On the Democratic side is was Democratic State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa who won the nomination this weekend.

Hawaii’s primary race on Saturday was the final primary day of the 2010 election cycle.

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