Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The governor's race ratings continue:
Georgia - Slight Lean Republican - When former Governor Roy Barnes declared in June that he was running for his old job, all the talk was that other Democrats would abandon the race. It hasn't happened yet. Attorney General Thurbert Baker would make a formidable candidate for any statewide office, but he appears intent on sticking it out in the governor's race.
Florida - Toss Up - Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum has a narrow lead in the polls, but state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the presumptive Democratic candidate, leads in fundraising. At this early stage, the latter may be more important than the former.
Hawaii - Leans Democratic - Hawaii has been hit by the bite of the recession just like the continental U.S., which has led Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, to battle with public employees over furlough days. Lingle is term-limited, but her lieutenant governor, Duke Aiona, is running and needs to be able to make the case for four more years of Republican leadership in this very Democratic state.
Idaho - Very Likely Republican - While Rex Rammell's intemperate "joke" about an Obama hunting license made national news, Gov. Butch Otter actually has a somewhat more credible primary challenger. Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman also is running for the G.O.P. nomination.
Illinois - Likely Democratic - Usually, the rule of thumb is that primary challengers always try to position themselves more to the base - Democrats to the left, Republican to the right - than the incumbent. Dan Hynes, from what I can tell, is breaking that rule, in his challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn. Hynes' stand on taxes, as you can see from his T.V. ads, makes him sound vaguely like a Republican. Yes, there are already T.V. ads. This election is in February.
Iowa - Slight Lean Republican - With former governor Terry Branstad's apparent entrance into the race, Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, instantly goes from favorite to underdog. Before he makes the general election, though, Branstad will have to compete in a primary in which Republicans will have to choose between their heads and their hearts. While Branstad's conservative bonafides are solid, Bob Vander Plaats is the darling of the right.
Kansas - Very Likely Republican - A few eyebrows were raised when the approval rating of U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, the strong gubernatorial favorite, dropped this month to 48% according to SurveyUSA. But, I tend to find that SurveyUSA approval numbers are a bit lower than other pollsters and Democrats seem to lack candidates of stature who are willing to run.
Maine - Slight Lean Democratic - Republicans have an interesting candidate in Les Otten, who is a RRG: Random rich guy. Having run the "largest ski conglomeration ever formed" probably isn't a bad thing in Maine.
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