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* Doug Racine, a Democratic state senator and former lieutenant governor of Vermont who was nearly elected governor in 2002, announced he is running for governor in 2010, even though incumbent Republican Jim Douglas won reelection easily in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and hasn't indicated that he is calling it quits in 2010. Two other high-ranking Democrats, Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz and State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding, both also are considering campaigns against Douglas.
* U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, an African-American Democrat from Alabama, reportedly plans to run for governor in 2010, even though he represents a completely safe House seat and even though Barack Obama only received 39% of the vote in Alabama.
* Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut's Democratic secretary of state, announces she's running for governor, even though the incumbent Republican, Jodi Rell, received 63% of the vote in 2006 and may run again. Jim Amann, a former speaker of the state House of Representatives, also has formed an exploratory committee to run.
* Scott McInnis, a former congressman from Colorado and a Republican, says he's contemplating a campaign for governor, but not considering a run for U.S. Senate. That's the case even though the incumbent Democrat in the Senate race is the newly appointed, never-elected Michael Bennet and even though Bill Ritter, the incumbent Democratic governor, doesn't appear especially vulnerable.
I think that the economy is part of the reason that a 2010 gubernatorial race suddenly looks like a good bet for people who might not otherwise run. Some of these candidates may be betting that a long recession will make "change" an even more powerful message in 2010 than it was in 2008, endangering incumbents who, for the time being, look safe.
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