Governor races

Governor races

Indy Mass. governor candidate says healthcare bill will bankrupt country

This doesn't bode well for the Democrats' health care bill.

After watching Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) win a special election by opposing the health care bill, now independent Massachusetts governor candidate Tim Cahill is coming out against it too -- in a very forceful way.

Cahill, the state treasurer who switched from Democrat to independent in advance of his run against Gov. Deval Patrick (D), said Tuesday that the national bill would lead to the same problems his state is experiencing.

"If President Obama and the Democrats repeat the mistakes of the health insurance mandate in Massachusetts on a national level, they will bankrupt this country within four years," Cahill said. "It is time for the President and the Democratic Leadership to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that does not threaten to wipe out the American economy."
Again, this is Ted Kennedy's home state.


AFL-CIO backs Bernero in Mich. Dem gov. primary

In the latest sign that labor unions are getting involved early in Democratic primaries this cycle, the Michigan AFL-CIO's executive council Friday endorsed Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) for governor, the Detroit Free Press reports.

"We found that rank and file members all across Michigan responded to Virgil's message and Virgil's exuberance," said AFL-CIO president Mark Gaffney. "We look forward to building a winning campaign, with candidate Virgil Bernero, and we look forward to victories in both August and November."

In Thursday's paper, my colleague Kevin Bogardus and I wrote about labor's plans to be more active in Democratic primaries this cycle. "We are taking a new tack. This a new day. We are going to play in the primaries," Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told us.

In Michigan, Bernero's main primary opponent, House Speaker Andy Dillon (D), reportedly "angered union leaders when he proposed requiring all public employees to join a single, statewide health insurance system."

The state's primary vote is Aug. 3.


Ohio Dems use Times story to blast Kasich (Updated)

Democrats have been trying to turn former Rep. John Kasich's (R-Ohio) Wall Street experience into a campaign liability – and Friday they got some fresh ammunition.

Kasich spent several years as a managing director in the investment banking division of the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, leaving the company shortly after its collapse in September 2008.

He has cited his experience as a qualification for being governor of Ohio at recent campaign events.

"I worked as banker with Lehman Brothers in a office in Columbus where I chased IPOs," Kasich said at a roundtable discussion on agriculture in Paulding County March 9. "[I] was involved in the initial public offering of Google and Designer Shoe Warehouse, some of you shop there. We were able to raise the capitol to allow them expand and create jobs."

But the New York Times has a story out Friday about a bank examiner's report detailing the dramatic collapse of the 158-year-old company. Kasich isn't mentioned in the Times' piece, but Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) campaign is asking questions about whether he was "aware" of the crippling debt the company was accumulating.

In a memo sent to reporters, Strickland campaign manager Aaron Pickrell asks: "Will Congressman John Kasich reveal the full extent of his work at Lehman Brothers including the companies and deals with which he was involved and the compensation, including bonuses, that he received from his work at the bank?"

A Kasich campaign spokesman responded: "It's the same report that can be written about the state of Ohio, but the big difference is that in the state's case, Ted Strickland has been the executive who's accountable for it all."

From the Times story:

The report, compiled by an examiner for the bank, now bankrupt, hit Wall Street with a thud late Thursday. The 158-year-old company, it concluded, died from multiple causes. Among them were bad mortgage holdings and, less directly, demands by rivals like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, that the foundering bank post collateral against loans it desperately needed.

The report draws no conclusions as to whether Lehman executives violated securities laws. But it does suggest that enough evidence exists for potential civil claims. Lehman executives are already defendants in civil suits, but have not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.


Cuomo recuses himself from Paterson investigation

With an eye on his upcoming gubernatorial bid, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Thursday that he will recuse himself from the investigation into Gov. David Paterson's (D) administration, according to the New York Times.

Instead he will appoint Judith Kaye to be an independent counsel to take over the investigation into Paterson's role in a domestic violence case involving a top aide. Kaye will also lead the investigation into how Paterson secured World Series tickets last year.

From the Times:

Mr. Cuomo is poised to formally announce his own bid for governor in the coming weeks, and managing the investigations of Mr. Paterson, a fellow Democrat, had become increasingly complicated.  … It is unclear under what timetable the investigations will now proceed.


Conservative Brady wins Ill. GOP nod

The Illinois State Board of Elections Friday certified state Sen. Bill Brady the winner of the Feb. 2 GOP gubernatorial primary. The Bloomington conservative edged out his nearest competitor, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, by only 0.25 percent. Dillard is not expected to ask for a recount.

The Democratic Governors Association is already hitting Brady for undergoing a "moderate makeover."


McCain team joins Cahill for Mass. gov. race

The joint Indie ticket of state Treasurer Tim Cahill and former state Rep. Paul Loscocco announced Friday they've hired some of John McCain's top consultants.

Joining the team are strategists John Weaver, John Yob, Mike Dennehy and Mark Salter. They'll link up with Democratic strategist Tad Devine who is already advising the Massachusetts gubernatorial hopefuls. 

Cahill, in a statement: "These guys are the best in the business. They share my vision for fixing the Massachusetts economy by transcending partisan politics, creating good jobs, cutting taxes across the board and creating a smaller and more efficient state government."


NY Gov. Paterson's staff deserting him

New York reporters remain on Paterson administration deathwatch.

The embattled governor's communications director resigned today. In a statement, Peter Kauffmann said: "As a former officer in the United States Navy, integrity and commitment to public service are values I take seriously. Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position."

Kauffmann was caught up -- it appears inadvertently -- in the mini-scandal surrounding Paterson's solicitation of Yankees World Series tickets. He was scheduled to testify in Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's inquiry Thursday.

Meanwhile, NY1 reports that on Thursday Paterson "said he will be the governor tomorrow, but would not respond to questions about whether he'll be governor next week."

Kauffmann is the third Paterson official to resign in the last two weeks. 

Updated at 3:35 p.m.


WY Gov. Freudenthal won't run for third term

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) announced Thursday he won't try for a third term. The popular Democrat is term-limited, but observers thought he would seek to challenge the law in court and run again. National Dems are now saying they're "unenthusiastic" about holding the Wyoming governor's mansion.

From the AP:

Freudenthal won two elections as a Democrat by taking his no-nonsense, conservative message door-to-door across the state, a proven strategy in sparsely populated Wyoming.

"It is an incredible honor to be governor, particularly in a state like this where you get to know the people," Freudenthal said. "And for better or for worse, all 533,000 of them have got an opinion."

Freudenthal said he wasn't worried about the prospect of challenging the state's term limit law. The Wyoming Supreme Court already has held that the law was unconstitutional for state legislators.

While several prominent Wyoming Republicans have announced they will seek their party's nomination to run for governor this fall, Democrats in the state have been waiting to see what Freudenthal would decide.

"I've certainly communicated to them over time that they shouldn't be counting on me running," Freudenthal said of the state Democratic Party. "And I'm hopeful that they'll find qualified candidates.


NYers continue to support Paterson

A new poll shows New York voters don't want Gov. David Paterson (D) to resign.

More than 60 percent of voters want the governor to serve out the remainder of his term, according to a Quinnipiac University survey out Wednesday. It's the second poll released this week that shows New Yorkers want to avoid the trauma of having a second governor forced from office in the same term.

A majority of the 1,237 voters surveyed also said Paterson would do a better job than Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch (D) governing the state this year. 

Still, details continue to emerge about Paterson's role in a domestic abuse case. If the steady drip of negative press coverage continues, he may have no choice but to resign.


Ballot Box: Blogging the Texas primary

The Ballot Box's live blog of the results in Texas tonight will launch around 8 p.m. eastern time.