Friday, October 31, 2008

The Governors' Mansions

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

There are 11 gubernatorial races this year. Here is a list of 8 of them, and I think you'll see why there's not much to say. Polling numbers from Pollster, rounded:

Markell 62%
Lee 28%
Protack 4%

Daniels 53%
Long Thompson 37%

Nixon (yes, the Democrat) 55%
Hulshof 38%

Schweitzer 58%
Brown 35%
Jones 4%

New Hampshire:
Lynch 68%
Kenney 16%

North Dakota:
Hoeven 69%
Matem 20%

Huntsman 74%
Springmeyer 14%

West Virginia:
Manchin 71%
Weeks 21%

And not a worthwhile scandal between the lot of them.

And then there are 3 other races. Two are legitimate toss-ups, and one is completely under the radar.

The two close races are in Washington and North Carolina.

Washington is a rematch between Christine Gregoire(incumbent) 49.3%, and Dino Rossi 42.7%. She won by 129 votes in 2004. They both have energized bases, money, and it's a dogfight, as they say. Governor Gregoire has on her side that Washington has had a Democrat in the Governor's Mansion since 1985.

North Carolina is an open race because Mike Easley is term limited. (As an aside, if you missed him on TV a few weeks ago, he was asked if he thought there would be a Bradley effect in NC. He responded that he had it on good authority that there would be a REVERSE Bradley effect. His "good authority" was his barber. Governor Easley said that, in case you didn't know, his barber is licensed by the State of North Carolina to hold a straight razor to people's necks. Therefore, he assumed that the information his barber collected was honest. But I digress.)

The race is between Bev Perdue, currently Lt. Governor, and Pat McCrory, currently mayor of Charlotte. (His was an ugly primary.) The numbers are Perdue 45.7%, McCrory 44.4%. There is a third party candidate pulling about 3% of the vote, but that hasn't affected the trend line. OK, let me be a little more honest - I've read his positions, and I can't tell which candidate he's pulling from. More to the point, the race will likely be decided by turnout.

Which brings us to Vermont. Here are the numbers:

Jim Douglas, popular incumbent, Republican, 45%
Gaye Symington, Democrat, current Vt House Speaker, 24%
Tony Pollina, variable party affiliation, 19%

And if you think you know who's going to win, you don't know Vermont. My money is on Gaye Symington, unless people find out about the tax return thing. Remember, Vermont is predominantly a blue state, although they don't always elect Democrats. For example, Bernie Sanders is an Independent. Not a TLB "independent", but a really left wing guy.

So here's the thing. To win, you need over 50% of the vote, and if not, the race is decided in the State legislature. The vote is by secret ballot, from all the state reps and senators. Want to guess to which party the majority of them belong? And by the way, they're not back in session until January.

HOWEVER, there may be a Symington problem. She released records earlier this year making it look like she and her husband filed their taxes separately, when they really had filed jointly. She doesn't want to release those. I'm not clear on what precisely what is IN those returns, but tax return problems didn't work out so well for Geri Ferraro, amoung others.

Pollina started out as a member of the Vermont Progressive Party, which was formed by Sanders supporters after he became mayor of Burlington years ago. But then, he decided over the summer to run as an independent. He's a long term PIRG guy, which isn't necessarily playing well this year since the local issue (besides the economy) relates to a child rape case. While Douglas has the law and order/more incarceration platform, Symington is law and order plus more and better policing. Pollina is taking the "societal problem" using terms like "objectification of women" and "glorification of violence". It will be hard to win with that.

So there you have it. Races in a nutshell. HOWEVER - the races for 2010 start next week. There are 36 races, and there are a number that ALREADY fascinate me, so you'll be hearing about them in the coming months.