Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The governor's race ratings continue:
Maryland - Likely Democratic - Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne illness that's native to the Southeastern United States and causes fever, headaches and fatigue. The disease has the same symptoms among Maryland Republicans, but the cause is different: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich's continuing indecision as to whether he will run for his old job. Gov. Martin O'Malley's poll numbers aren't bad, which makes it increasingly likely Ehrlich won't run and that Republicans will be left without a strong candidate. O'Malley has successfully followed the (Bob) Riley Rule: If you're going to raise taxes, do it at the start of your term so that you have time to recover politically.
Massachusetts - Slight Lean Democratic - The Massachusetts governor's race already looks as though it will be a repeat of the race in New Jersey this year. We have an unpopular Democratic governor who has the advantage of running in a Democratic state. We have a respected Republican with a moderate reputation, but who comes with some baggage (Charlie Baker has a Big Dig problem). And, we have a very credible independent (Tim Cahill). The big difference is that since Cahill is already a statewide elected official, no one will be questioning whether or not he can actually win.
New Mexico - Slight Lean Democratic - While Albuquerque's election results may be a warning sign to Democrats, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's fundraising totals are a warning in their own right to Republicans. Denish also caught a break when her fellow Democrat, Gov. Bill Richardson, avoided criminal prosecution - though the pay-to-play allegations surrounding the Richardson administration haven't completely gone away.
Michigan - Slight Lean Republican - The dilemma for Democrats: Lt. Gov. John Cherry is likely to be their party's nominee because he's easily the party's most prominent candidate. Cherry in inextricably tied to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, having won twice on a ticket with her. Granholm seems unpopular beyond repair, thanks to the state's ongoing economic problems and state budget crises. As a result, it may not matter who Republicans nominate.
Minnesota - Toss Up - Nobody outside of Minnesota can keep all of the candidates running for governor straight. Heck, probably nobody inside Minnesota can either. But, one you should know is Matt Entenza. He's the really rich guy (and former state legislator) who seems to have told fellow Democrat that he is going to spend millions on the race.
Nebraska - Very Likely Republican - Gov. Dave Heineman is probably the safest governor in the country, in part because Democrats don't even have a candidate.
Nevada - Toss Up - One of the most head-turning poll results I've seen lately showed Oscar Goodman, the Democratic mayor of Las Vegas who is talking about running for governor as an independent, with a statewide favorable rating of 49%-9%. Is it possible that Democrats will beg and plead with the flamboyant mayor to be their standard-bearer? Goodman does come with plenty of baggage - working as a lawyer for mobsters will have that effect.
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