Governor races

Governor races

Veterans group praises Connecticut Republican's controversial Iraq service

A pro-military group that typically supports Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans running for office is promoting a civilian gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut.

Iraq Veterans For Congress on Monday expressed "deep appreciation" for Republican Tom Foley's service in Iraq and encouraged supporters to consider voting for him. 

Foley was the Bush administration's director of private sector development in Iraq from 2003-04. Critics charge he was responsible for the hurried privatization of Iraq's state-owned businesses, which resulted in thousands of layoffs. By adding more unemployed men to the ranks of those disaffected by the American occupation, the measures may have helped fuel the insurgency.

Foley has talked up the daunting aspects of his time there. "Donning bullet proof vests, dodging rockets and mortars, and avoiding IED's became regular parts of the routine," according to his website biography. 

And that's apparently what got the attention of IVC.

"I don't know any other Harvard grads in their fifties with no military experience who left comfortable executive positions to answer the call when the country needed them to serve in a ferocious combat zone," Kieran Michael Lalor, the group's founder, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Foley spent a year in country laying the foundation for economic growth by helping Iraqi entrepreneurs and small merchants build and expand their businesses."

Foley, who later served as ambassador to Ireland, faces Democrat Dan Malloy in November.


Whitman adds $13 million to coffers, approaches record spending

California billionaire Meg Whitman (R) has dropped another $13 million into her campaign for governor. 

The contribution brings the former eBay CEO's investment in her bid to $104 million, the Sacramento Bee reported. Her personal spending is approaching the record set by fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg in 2009.

The New York City mayor spent some $108 million in winning a third term last year.

Whitman's camp said the money was needed to "fight" Democrat Jerry Brown's "attacks."

"Meg is investing the necessary resources to fight the $13 million in attacks Jerry Brown Inc. has launched to defend the status quo in Sacramento," Sarah Pompei, a spokeswoman for Whitman told KQED. "She will continue discussing her plans to create jobs with Californians across the state."

Brown had $23 million in the bank as of June 30. 

Meanwhile, Whitman was attacked for being part of a "job destruction duo" along with Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina by a top union official Friday.

"Some people see public employees as an island of privilege," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a speech in Los Angeles. "The truth is you're the foundation of decent standards; you're the only ones standing in the way of a Republican-driven, all-out race to the bottom."


Barnes targets ex-Rep. Nathan Deal's ethics woes

Democrat Roy Barnes went straight for former Rep. Nathan Deal's (R-Ga.) ethical woes in his first general election TV ad in Georgia.

"This election is not about political parties," the announcer says in the ad. "It's a choice between the distractions of Nathan Deal's ethical questions and Roy Barnes, who is trained and ready for the job. Nathan Deal: Just more of the same."

Barnes and Deal are facing off in the Georgia governor's race.

Deal's runoff opponent, Karen Handel, conceded early Wednesday after the results were too close to call from the night before. The move spared the GOP a contentious recount.

During a round of interviews that same day, Deal insisted the ethical cloud hanging over him wouldn't be a problem.

"It's not an issue, there is no factual basis for that," Deal told WSB-TV. "We don't think that that's going be a problem. I think that we will unify the Republican Party and we’ll move forward."

Democrats seem to think otherwise.


Top Dem set to miss Denver 'unity rally'

There's a notable absence from the "unity rally" Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and his primary challenger, Andrew Romanoff, are both slated to attend Thursday afternoon in Denver.

The party includes appearances from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who faces Republican Ryan Frazier in November.

But Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, won't be at the event, the Denver Post noted.

Hickenlooper is instead on a long-planned family vacation, a spokesman said.

He probably has the least to gain from associating himself with the national party. As Georgia Democrat Roy Barnes so aptly put it recently, "I'm not running for governor of Washington, D.C. I'm running for governor of Georgia."


Ex-Rep. Deal ‘cautiously optimistic’ over vote lead

Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) did several TV interviews in Atlanta Wednesday morning but stopped short of declaring victory over gubernatorial rival Karen Handel (R), who stayed out of the spotlight. 

"Obviously, it's nice to be in the lead," he told WSB-TV. "We are still cautiously optimistic."

Deal maintains a 2,487-vote advantage over Handel, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's office. There are still votes uncounted and military ballots are expected in by Friday, Deal noted.

During his appearance on WSB-TV, Deal was asked if ethics will be an issue during the campaign. Handel has accused him of being a "corrupt relic of Washington, D.C."

"It's not an issue, there is no factual basis for that," Deal said. "We don't think that that's going be a problem. I think that we will unify the Republican Party and we’ll move forward."

"We'll campaign on the issues," he added.

Handel stayed hunkered down Wednesday. She didn't do interviews and did not attend the GOP unity breakfast, where Deal called her a "worthy opponent" in her absence. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Roy Barnes also made the media rounds Wednesday.

He told Fox 5 Atlanta he was surprised at the GOP result. "I didn't expect it to be that close," he said.

Asked if he had a preference for his opponent, Barnes was noncommittal. "Not really," he said. 

In another interview, Barnes was asked about the tone of the upcoming campaign.

"I think that you can show differences without being mean," the former governor told WSB-TV. "Just because we have differences doesn't mean we have to call each other names."