Governor races

Governor races

Ex-Iowa Gov. Branstad channels 'SNL' in new ad

Iowa Republican Terry Branstad borrowed from "Saturday Night Live" for his campaign's latest TV spot, countering Gov. Chet Culver's (D) opening ad salvo with a one-word answer — "really?"

"Chet Culver is criticizing Terry Branstad's accounting practices? Really?" the female announcer says in the spot. It goes on to tout Branstad's record as a fiscal conservative.

Spending is likely to be a central issue in the race.

SNL's Weekend Updated segment had a long-running bit called, "Really!? With Seth & Amy." A spokesman for Branstad declined to say whether it provided the ad's inspiration.

Branstad's new 30-second spot is running statewide on network and cable television. Kim Alfano of the Delaware-based firm Alfano Communications is producing his ads.

Watch the ad and a vintage clip of SNL's segment after the jump.


Blog that alleged Haley affair endorses her campaign

The blog whose founding editor claimed an affair with South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley has now endorsed her for governor.

Will Folks shook up the race in late May by alleging on his blog,, that he'd had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with Haley. Her campaign vigorously denied the claim, and Haley went on to win a plurality of votes in the GOP primary and is now facing a runoff with Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.).

On Friday, the blog endorsed Haley.

After acknowledging that many would be shocked by the decision — "HAVE WE LOST OUR FRIGGIN’ MINDS?" the editorial asked — the editors said the endorsement boiled down to policy:

And the bottom line for S.C. taxpayers is that Haley would vote the right way on the S.C. Budget and Control Board, use her veto pen to reduce the size and scope of government and sign a universal parental choice bill which would (at long last) provide parents with real options and our flawed system with real, market-based accountability.  Also, all signs are that Haley would aggressively pursue government restructuring – although it’s probably fair to say that her credibility when it comes to government transparency (her signature issue up to this point) has been pretty much shot.

Oh well … there are plenty of us who can continue leading the way on that fight.

Will Haley cut taxes, too?  She hasn’t been as specific on that issue as we’d like related to individual income tax brackets, but neither has U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett – and as far as we can tell his so-called jobs plan would move our state in precisely the opposite direction it should be going.

Given all of this … in spite of our intimate knowledge of her lack of forthrightness – and in spite of the merciless smear campaign her supporters have waged against us over the past month – we are endorsing Nikki Haley in next Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary against Barrett.


Iowa Gov. Culver goes negative in first ad

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) opened his reelection ad campaign with a TV spot hitting former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) for "cook[ing] the books."

"Cooked books, deficit spending. Increased taxes. Terry Branstad: A past we can’t repeat," the ad says.

Branstad, a former four-term governor, is running as a fiscal conservative

His campaign manager, Jeff Boeyink, quickly responded to the ad.

"There is nothing bright about this ad. It's the same, dreary politics of the past," Boeyink said in a statement. "Iowa voters will remember that is was Terry Branstad who brought open and honest accounting to state government."

The Iowa Republican Party's state convention kicks off next Friday with a speech by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.


Labor on the air against Whitman

California Working Families has a new TV ad attacking Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman for her failure to vote for 28 years. It's the first ad in the group's independent expenditure effort supporting Democrat Jerry Brown. The initial buy totals $3 million on broadcast and cable over a three-week period. The ad will run until July 3.

The 30-second spot entitled, "Why" features a news conference exchange where a reporter repeatedly presses Whitman on her voting record.

The group bills itself as a coalition of public employees, firefighters and building trades organizations. Spokesman Roger Salazar told the Ballot Box the buy is just the start of what he expects will be a $30 million media campaign over the course of the summer. "This is really just the initial piece," said Salazar.

During the Republican primary, Whitman's opponent, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, used a similar line of attack in a TV ad.

Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has invested as much as $100 million of her own money into the race, according to reports.


Whitman keeps spending, breaks $100 million

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) will spend more than $100 million of her personal fortune on her run for governor of California. 

Two days after winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Whitman injected another $20 million of her own money into her campaign, the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday.

She has already spent $88 million on her effort to succeed outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

Whitman is approaching what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent on his race last year. During the 2009 mayor’s race, Bloomberg spent $109.9 million getting reelected.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Monday than in 2007, "an eBay employee claimed that Ms. Whitman became angry and forcefully pushed her in an executive conference room at eBay’s headquarters." As a result, eBay had to pay close to $200,000 to avert a lawsuit.

Whitman faces state Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) in November.


DGA: Quinn won't get dragged down by Blago

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) had to maneuver through a bruising primary, and he now faces the prospect of having his predecessor on the trail for the foreseeable future. 

Republicans are making it clear they want to tie Quinn to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). "As governors, Quinn and Blagojevich have failed us," the announcer says in a recent TV spot for the Republican Governors Association. 

But Democrats maintain voters won't associate Quinn, who was lieutenant governor to Blagojevich, with his flamboyant predecessor.

"When the Blagojevich scandal broke, the very first thing out of Pat Quinn's mouth was, 'I have not spoken to this guy in over a year,'" Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), said on a conference call Wednesday. "There is no real relationship between Blagojevich and Pat Quinn."

Daschle said the DGA's polling confirms that assumption. "The trail is not going to hurt Pat Quinn," he said.

Still, Daschle hinted that Democrats would move aggressively to paint state Sen. Bill Brady, Quinn's Republican opponent, as too extreme. 

"This is going to be a competitive race," Daschle said.

The Day After Tomorrow from Republican Governors Association on Vimeo.