Governors' Races Ratings: Florida-Kansas

Here is the second part of my governors' races ratings: Florida - Leans Republican: I tend to think that state party scandals and feuds don'...
by | March 16, 2010

Here is the second part of my governors' races ratings:

Florida - Leans Republican: I tend to think that state party scandals and feuds don't end up mattering very much. That was certainly the case in Virginia last year, when internal strife in the Virginia Republican Party (the party chairman was fired) didn't stop the G.O.P. from winning landslide victories. So, while the Florida Republican Party is a mess right now (the chairman recently was fired), don't expect that to doom Bill McCollum's gubernatorial bid.

Georgia - Toss Up: Republican frontrunner John Oxendine's major liability is his alleged coziness with the businesses he's regulated as insurance commissioner. Oxendine seems to realize it too. That's why he's now speaking out against health insurance rate increases.

Hawaii - Leans Democratic: Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann scored a major endorsement from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, an organization that brings some political clout (Hawaii does have some long shores, after all). Hannemann clearly is more conservative on social issues than Neil Abercrombie, his rival in the Democratic primary, but the union backing should help him make the case to the party's base.

Idaho - Very Likely Republican: Something I'd love to learn more about: Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter has decided to stop paying National Governors Association dues. While Otter cites his state's budget problems for the move, lots of states have worse budget situations than Idaho and still are contributing to the NGA. I have to wonder whether, in the spirit of Rick Perry, Otter is somewhat skeptical of national institutions, even ones that aren't creations of the federal government

Illinois - Slight Lean Democratic: You can make a strong case that Bill Brady is a flawed Republican nominee. Both ideologically and geographically, he seems ill-suited to appeal to the critical Chicago suburbs. But, you also can make a strong that Pat Quinn is a flawed governor. His mishandling of the prisoner release program, his poorly received State of the State speech and his inability to get on the same page with the two other most important Democrats in the state (Mike Madigan and Richard M. Daley) with regard to the budget all suggest that the transition from reform-minded outsider to chief executive has been a rocky one. Two flawed candidates: That reminds me of the 2006 Illinois governor's race and, for that matter, the 2002 Illinois governor's race (although it's a little unfair to compare Brady or Quinn to Rod Blagojevich).

Iowa -- Likely Republican: I think that former Gov. Terry Branstad actually has a better chance to be the Republican nominee because he has two credible primary challengers instead of one. Both Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts look as though they're fighting for the same ideological ground, to Branstad's right. Any anti-Branstad vote will be divided. If Branstad is the nominee, that's bad news for Gov. Chet Culver.

Kansas - Very Likely Republican: Will Republican Sam Brownback face the same fate as his fellow senator-turned-gubernatorial-candidate, Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose time in Congress proved to be a liability? State Sen. Tom Holland, the latest Democratic candidate, certainly hopes so. His early message is that Brownback is a Washington insider. But, without a quick infusion of campaign cash, it won't matter what Holland's message is. No one will hear it.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer

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