Governor races

Governor races

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."


Republican leads in Illinois governor's race

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) trails his Republican opponent by 10-points in a poll released Wednesday.

State Sen. Bill Brady (R) leads Quinn 43-33 in Public Policy Polling's first survey of the general election. Brady also has a 39-31 advantage with independent voters.

It seems Quinn hasn't recovered from his tough primary fight with state Comptroller Dan Hynes -- only 53 percent of Democrats said they were planning to vote for him. The governor's approval rating is at 25 percent overall. Meanwhile, a solid 80 percent of Republicans are planning to vote for Brady.

Quinn has the opportunity to define the relatively unknown Brady. Of the 591 voters surveyed, 55 percent had no opinion of him and the rest were split between a favorable and unfavorable view. 


Wealthy executive shakes up Georgia governor's race

A wealthy real estate executive shook up the Georgia governor's race this week by promising to reach out to the Tea Party with a multi-million dollar, self-funded campaign.

Morgan County Republican Ray Boyd launched his gubernatorial run by writing himself a $2 million check. He told reporters it "is not for show."

"I'm going to try to be a we-the-people candidate. In normal times, a person like me would get ground up, but this is not normal times," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm running as a Ronald Reagan Republican, but I'm going to have both sides attacking me, because I'm for term limits."

He plans to seek the backing of the Tea Party.

"The tea party people do not endorse candidates, but if they wanted to endorse somebody, it would be somebody like me," he said. "I'm very ticked off at people in our own government trying to castigate them as if they were some right wing, home-grown terrorist. That’s sickening and disgusting."

Boyd's campaign effectively matched what Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the GOP frontrunner, reported having in the bank this week.

Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) is also running for governor. He resigned his House seat March 21st to concentrate on his campaign. The primary is July 20th.


Kasich answers charge he profited from Lehman collapse

Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich (R) released his 2008 tax returns Friday -- a move that could blunt Democratic attacks that he profited from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

His campaign also released a copy of his 2009 financial disclosure statement ahead of the Monday deadline. The records show Kasich is a millionaire.

Kasich, a former congressman, was a managing director at the investment bank before it went bankrupt in 2008. The returns show he made nearly $1.4 million in income that year, including $587,175 in salary and bonuses from Lehman. He also reported earning $265,000 as a Fox News commentator, $165,718 in speaking fees, $19,777 earned by his wife, Karen, and $61,538 from Schottenstein Property Group, his current employer, according to the Associated Press.

The Columbus Dispatch had requested that Kasich release his tax returns for the eight years he was at Lehman, but the campaign said the 2008 return was "generally reflective of his earnings for those years and declined to release more."

Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) campaign didn't buy it.

Strickland spokeswoman Lis Smith said Kasich was "insulting the intelligence" of Ohio voters "by refusing to release the details of his seven-plus years of employment at the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers and his professional paid speaking appearances to special interest groups across the country."

But Kasich spokesman Scott Milburn said the campaign went beyond the financial disclosure required by campaign finance laws.

"We're doing this primarily to show that he did not profit from Lehman Brothers' demise," Milburn said. "His stock in Lehman Brothers is effectively worthless now."

Updated at 6:06 p.m.


California AG won't prosecute ACORN

California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) appears to have defused a potentially troublesome legal matter ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Brown decided not to prosecute ACORN or conservative filmmakers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles after a video taping scandal.

The filmmakers sparked an investigation after they posed as a pimp and prostitute while secretly taping some of ACORN's California employees as they "sought advice on how to smuggle Mexican girls across the border as prostitutes," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brown, the expected Democratic nominee for governor, "found himself between the 40-year-old organization that has long been a favorite among his liberal voting base and conservatives who consider O'Keefe and Giles heroes for exposing ACORN."

He granted the filmmakers immunity in exchange for their full, unedited videotapes of their encounters with the group's staff. And his office's investigation of ACORN concluded the group did not violate state criminal laws in their consversations.

Brown noted that after viewing the unedited tapes "the evidence illustrates, that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

Jarrod Agen, a spokesman for state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is running as a GOP candidate for governor, said: "I'm no lawyer, but videotapes of ACORN assisting a proposed prostitution ring seems pretty illegal to me. We're not surprised that at the end of the day, Jerry Brown turns a blind eye to these wrongdoings."