Governor races

Governor races

Rep. Sanchez files papers for 2014 Calif. gov. run

At least one California Democrat appears to be hedging her bets on Attorney General Jerry Brown's (D) chances of beating former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R).

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) filed paperwork Monday to raise money for a 2014 gubernatorial run, according to the Sacramento Bee

California's governor is limited to two terms so if Brown defeats Whitman in November Sanchez would have to primary him on her way to the Golden State's top job in 2014. If she's planning to run against Whitman, Sanchez must sense something that isn't apparent in the public polling.

A Field Poll in July had Brown at 44 percent and Whitman at 43 percent -- a virtual tie. That will likely change, however, when Whitman starts devoting her financial resources to big TV ad buys.

Brown has spent just over $630,000 since entering the race and now has close to $23.2 million cash on hand, but Whitman to date has spent some $100 million of her personal fortune and will likely go back to the well again before November. She hasn't yet released her latest financial disclosure statement.

If Sanchez wants to compete with that kind of financial muscle, it's best to get started early. 


Handel tells Deal to put the ‘big-boy pants on’

Southern gubernatorial runoffs have seen some hard-edged campaigning this cycle, and Georgia is proving no exception.

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) has zeroed in on former Rep. Nathan Deal's (R-Ga.) ethics woes, targeting him in a TV ad and a follow-up mailer.

Handel's campaign tactics were the first topic of discussion in the candidates' debate on the Fox 5 Atlanta affiliate Sunday.

Handel defended her decision to call Deal a "corrupt relic of Washington, D.C."

"I stand by these ads, everything in them, [as] 100 percent accurate," she said.

She called it "disingenuous" for Deal to be "squealing" about negative campaigning.

"Facts are facts," she said. "This is a race for governor. Things are tough. Campaigns are tough. It's frankly time to put the big-boy pants on because, candidly, if you can’t handle this, how are you going to handle [Democratic nominee] Roy Barnes?"

In response, Deal said that people were "repulsed" by Handel's tactics.

The runoff vote is Aug. 10. Watch the full debate below.


Handel targets Deal's ethics woes in Georgia runoff

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel (R) is trying to capitalize on reports that her rival, former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), is the target of a federal grand jury investigation.

Deal denied the claim Wednesday evening, but Handel is up Thursday with a new TV ad that hits the former congressman for being a "corrupt relic of Washington, D.C."

Handel and Deal are competing in the Aug. 10 runoff for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Her first TV ad sought to distinguish Handel through her lipstick. Now this 30-second spot notes she "carries a purse" and not "baggage." It also touts her endorsement from Sarah Palin.

The ad is up primarily on broadcast in the Atlanta media market, which covers more than half the GOP primary electorate, according to a Handel spokesman. Fred Davis of the California-based firm Strategic Perception is producing Handel's spots.


Colorado GOP primary still in shambles

The Colorado Republican gubernatorial primary remains in disarray.

Businessman Dan Maes (R) on Wednesday said robocalls were going out to Republicans telling them he’s withdrawn from the race.

Maes and former Rep. Scott McInnis, the other Republican in the race for the GOP nod, had been asked to withdraw from the field by Tom Tancredo. The former Republican congressman said it would be a “disaster” if either man was their party’s nominee because McInnis is embroiled in a plagiarism scandal and Maes has been fined for campaign-finance violations.

Both have refused — this week, Tancredo entered the race on the American Constitution Party ticket.

Maes said the robocalls, which claim to be from “Maes campaign headquarters,” were “cheap shots.”

“My campaign has been focused on a positive, conservative message from the beginning, and dirty tricks in the 11th hour are a clear sign that my message is resonating with voters,” he said in a statement.

He was alerted to the calls by several supporters. 

“I’m proud to notify the citizens of this state that I’m in this race for the long haul, and I have every intention of becoming Colorado’s next governor,” Maes said.

The primary will be held Aug. 10.


Askins scores narrow win in Okla. gubernatorial primary

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins narrowly defeated state Attorney General Drew Edmondson in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor.

Askins won 50.3 percent of the vote to Edmondson’s 49.7 percent. The gap between the two was less than 3,000 votes.

Edmondson, who trailed in early returns, narrowed the gap with Askins as the night wore on, but eventually conceded victory to Askins despite the razor-thin margin.

The Democratic primary contest was close for weeks. Both candidates decided to forgo running for reelection to their respective statewide offices for a shot at the governor’s office.

Edmondson led heading into Election Day both in the polls and in campaign dollars. He raised more cash than any gubernatorial candidate in either party, banking $2.6 million over the course of his campaign.

In the race’s final week, Askins lent her campaign a hefty $675,000. But even with that cash included, she was only able to manage $1.1 million over the course of the race.

She did, however, receive a last-minute boost from former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, who endorsed her last week. Switzer is a wildly popular figure in the state, and statewide candidates have sought his backing in the past.

Switzer’s endorsement provided a last-minute boost for Gov. Brad Henry during his first run in 2002.

The primary victory for Askins ensures that the state will elect its first female governor this fall. Askins will face Rep. Mary Fallin (R) in November. 


Rep. Fallin notches easy win in GOP primary for governor

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) cruised to victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor. 

The Associated Press called the race for Fallin with 35 percent of precincts reporting. Fallin had 60 percent of the vote to state Sen. Randy Brogdon’s 34 percent.    

Fallin was the prohibitive favorite in the race and the pick of the Republican Governors Association.

She held a large cash advantage, and polls had her ahead of Brogdon by as many as 35 points in the lead-up to Election Day.

Fallin was backed by the pro-life group The Susan B. Anthony List, which hailed her victory Tuesday. “This latest win for an authentic, pro-life woman candidate continues the momentum that is making 2010 ‘the year of the pro-life woman,’ ” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the group’s candidate fund. “In Congress, Representative Fallin has been a vocal advocate for the unborn and their mothers.”

Fallin actually passed up the chance to vote for herself in Tuesday’s primary, opting instead to be in Washington to cast a vote on an emergency funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Fallin and Rep. Tom Cole (R) rushed out of the House chamber after the vote to get a flight back to Oklahoma to make their respective campaign victory parties. 

—Updated at 10:40


Roy Barnes wins Georgia governor primary; GOP opponent still unknown

Georgia Democrat Roy Barnes will run for his old job after winning his party’s gubernatorial primary Tuesday. Barnes won a resounding victory over Attorney General Thurbert Baker, his closest competitor in the seven-man primary.

With about half the results counted, Barnes had a commanding lead with 63 percent of the vote to Baker’s 22 percent. The Associated Press declared him the winner. Barnes served one term as governor that ended in 2003.

The Republican gubernatorial primary, meanwhile, appears headed to a runoff between former Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Rep. Nathan Deal. The race hasn’t been called yet.

Barnes’s victory got the attention of the the Republican Governors Association, which called him “a lifetime politician and a personal injury trial lawyer.”

“While this is Roy’s fourth run at being governor of Georgia, we are confident the outcome in November will be so decisive that this will mercifully be his last,” Nick Ayers, executive director of the RGA, said in a statement. 

—This post was updated at 10:10 p.m. and 10:16


A crowded race for governor wraps in Georgia

Voting is underway in Georgia, where there are 14 candidates — seven Democrats and seven Republicans — vying to win their party’s nomination for governor. 

On the GOP side, a new poll shows state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine slipping to fourth place after leading the pack for much of the race. The Sarah Palin-backed Karen Handel, meanwhile, leads in a InsiderAdvantage/WSB poll with 28 percent.

She’s had the lead in some other surveys completed since Palin made her endorsement on Facebook July 12.

Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) and former state Sen. Eric Johnson get 17 and 14 percent respectively in the latest poll. 

If none of the candidates break 50 percent, the top two will be forced into an August runoff.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) is widely expected to win the Democratic nomination without having to go through a runoff. 

Polls close today at 7 p.m.