Governor races

Governor races

Pa. gubernatorial candidate in hot water over Twitter probe

Fresh off his victory in Pennsylvania's GOP gubernatorial primary, commonwealth Attorney General Tom Corbett raised some eyebrows by conducting a probe into his opponents on Twitter.

Corbett used grand jury subpoenas in an attempt to unveil the identities of his harshest critics on the microblogging site.

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Earlier this month, Corbett's office subpoenaed the online social networking site Twitter Inc., seeking identifying data on "CasablancaPA" and "bfbarbie." Both daily excoriate Corbett and his office's long-running political-corruption investigation known as Bonusgate.

The subpoena was apparently part of prosecutors' efforts to show one Bonusgate defendant's lack of remorse as he awaits sentencing.

But news of the subpoena unleashed a cascade of criticism from First Amendment and electronic-privacy advocates, who contend that Corbett is engaging in a Big Brotherlike attempt to silence and intimidate people who don't agree with him.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, has declined to turn over the information. The ACLU of Pennsylvania says it will seek to quash the subpoena on behalf of the two anonymous tweeters.

The issue promptly entered the governor's race, with Corbett's Democratic opponent, Dan Onorato - fresh from his own primary victory - saying in Philadelphia that he found it "outrageous" and "unbelievable" that the attorney general would use the powers of his office to subpoena critics.

— Cross-posted from the Twitter Room.


Republicans drop millions in Calif. primary

The Republican gubernatorial primary in California could cost more than $100 million as the two wealthy frontrunners continue to spend their own fortunes attacking each other.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner released his latest salvo earlier this week, using a Web video to argue that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman created a "special site for the sale of pornography and sex paraphernalia."
"Meg Whitman oversaw the creation of a special website just to sell pornography and amassed millions in profits from it," Poizner spokeswoman Bettina Inclan said in a statement. "If Californians wanted a governor who made a fortune off pornography, then Larry Flynt would now be in office."
The Whitman camp noted that Poizner's outlandish attack was released shortly after former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Whitman in an op-ed in the Orange County Register.

"Is Steve Poizner seriously trying to tell us that eBay is a pornography site?," Whitman spokesman Dan Comstock said in a statement. "eBay's millions of users, including my grandmother, will find that a little hard to believe. Steve Poizner is desperate. He lacks momentum. He lacks grassroots support. Most of all, he lacks honesty."
Whitman once had a commanding lead in this race but polls were showing it tightening in recent weeks, after Poizner attacked her in a TV ad which said she profited from home foreclosures in California. But the Whitman camp says that it's now beginning to put distance between them again.
Still, that hasn't stopped Whitman from pumping another $4 million from her own fortune into her campaign. Ahead of the June 8 primary, Whitman has spent a total of $68 million on her bid, while Poizner has cut checks for $24 million.


Culver blasts Branstad for being from Iowa's 'past'

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) painted former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) as a relic of the past in his reelection kick-off speech Monday.

Branstad, a four-term governor, is the favorite to emerge from the June 8 GOP gubernatorial primary with Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats and state Rep. Rod Roberts.

"That's really what this election is about on Nov. 2. It's a choice, a clear choice between building on our progress in this great state or going backward to the failed policies of Bush and Branstad," Culver told a crowd of Democrats in Ames. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to go back."

The Branstad camp responded by attacking Culver's record.

"The results of the Culver administration economic policies are unemployment at a 24-year high and more than 114,000 Iowans out of work," Jeff Boeyink, Branstad's campaign manager, said in a statement. "Contrast that with the record job creation and record low unemployment of the Branstad administration and it's not hard to understand why Iowans are asking Gov. Branstad to lead our state's economic comeback."

It also released a new TV spot touting Branstad's message of "conservative change." Kim Alfano of the Delaware-based firm Alfano Communications is producing Branstad's ads.


Quote of the day: Arnold on Arizona

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) made a crack about Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration statute during a commencement speech at Emory University in Atlanta Monday.

"I was also going to give a graduation speech in Arizona this weekend," Schwarzenegger said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "But with my accent I was afraid they would try to deport me."


Is this ad working?

California gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner was trailing his GOP rival Meg Whitman by some 50 points in recent polls but not anymore, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Whitman's lead over Poizner has shrunk to some 8-10 points in polls by the Poizner camp and labor organizations obtained by the paper. The tightening comes just days before absentee ballots can be cast in the June 8 primary.

The Whitman camp disputes such a seismic shift has happened, but if the polls are correct it could be attributed to this ad the Poizner camp started running last week. It's been airing statewide on cable and broadcast.


Embattled former Illinois Lt. Gov. candidate to run for governor as independent

After being forced from the Illinois lieutenant governor's race amidst revelations of domestic abuse, Scott Lee Cohen is out for some revenge.

Cohen will be running for governor as an independent, he announced Monday. He will be pitted against Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and state Sen. Bill Brady (R).

Cohen won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in February but was forced from the race shortly thereafter, when attention was drawn to his 2005 arrest. His girlfriend, a convicted prostitute, said Cohen held a knife to her throat. Cohen has denied it and said he didn't know she was a prostitute.

"Illinois needs honesty more than perfection," Cohen said in a release.

It's hard to see Cohen getting much traction as a third-party candidate, but whatever votes he can muster will likely be at Quinn's expese.


GOP candidate Cox knocks Hoekstra over radio address spot

The campaign of a Republican candidate for governor of Michigan on Saturday blasted Rep. Pete Hoekstra's (R-Mich.) delivery of the weekly GOP radio address.

A spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (R) chided Hoekstra and, in part, the Republican National Committee (RNC), for the address the congressman delivered Saturday before President Barack Obama's trip to the state.

"Looks like Congressman Hoekstra is just getting an opportunity to apologize to the state of Michigan for voting for the $850 billion Wall Street bailout, co-sponsoring the Bridge to Nowhere, voting to raise the debt ceiling five times from $6 trillion to $11 trillion, and voting for 12 consecutive budgets that increased the annual debt by a trillion dollars including billlions of dollars for thousands of earmarks," Cox spokesman Stu Sandler said. "I hope they gave him enough time."

Republicans settled on Hoekstra to deliver the address ahead of Obama's commencement address on Saturday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Hoekstra, mentioning his own alumni status at the school, suggested that the president's economic policies had shortchanged graduates of the university.

Cox and Hoekstra, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, have been battling for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the state, where the GOP hopes to reclaim the top executive spot after incumbent Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), who is term-limited, retires.

An EPIC/MRA poll commissioned by the Detroit Free Press in late March showed Hoekstra maintaining an advantage over Cox.

27 percent of GOP primary voters said they would vote for Hoekstra if the election were held then, compared to 21 percent who preferred. Businessman Rick Snyder drew 15 percent, while former Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard got 13 percent.

The poll, conducted March 28-31, has a 4.9 percent margin of error for the primary sample. The Snyder campaign did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room.


Arizona Gov. Brewer signs controversial immigration bill

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has signed a controversial immigration bill which will authorize state authorities to request an immigrant's documentation.

Brewer faced a difficult political decision, given that she wasn't elected to her current post (she succeeded now-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano) and that she faces opposition in both the primary and general elections. 

Her primary opponent, state Treasurer Dean Martin, called on her to support the bill. But signing it risks turning off voters -- especially Latino ones -- in the general election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who also faces a primary, recently spoke out in favor the bill, despite his past emphasis on a more comprehensive immigration policy. President Obama on Friday called the bill "misguided."

For more on the bill, see here.


Top GOP White House contenders make 'worst governors' list

An ethics watchdog group released a list of the 11 "worst governors" in America Wednesday and three potential White House contenders were included in the tally.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released the names of the "11 governors who pride their self-interests over their states'" and among them were Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). CREW said the 11 "violated agreed upon notions of competence, transparency and integrity."

The group compiled reports on each of the inductees, which can be found here.

Only two Democrats made the list: New York Gov. David Paterson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Neither is running for reelection.


Lynch to run again as gay marriage lingers as an issue in N.H.

New Hampshire's gubernatorial election could be a referendum on gay marriage.

Gov. John Lynch (D) announced Friday he would seek an unprecedented fourth term. He came under attack recently from national conservative groups for signing a gay marriage bill into law last year.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sponsored a $200,000 TV ad buy that started running on Tuesday, according to the Nashua Telegraph. The ad hits Lynch on supporting gay marriage but also on taxes and spending.

"New Hampshire residents were shocked last year when they learned that Gov. Lynch had been lying to them about his position on gay marriage," Brian Brown, NOM's executive director, told the paper. "Even though he promised voters when he ran for office that he did not support gay marriage, Lynch signed same-sex marriage legislation into law."

"The job isn't done," Lynch said in announcing his decision to run again.

New Hampshire's governors serve two-year terms – none have been elected to a fourth.

The state's Republican Party called it an attempt to "cling to power."