Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A battle is ongoing for the title of most embattled governor in the country.
In Illinois, the trial and conviction of Tony Rezko has increased calls for the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat. The latest news is that House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also heads the Illinois Democratic Party, is advising legislative candidates on how to talk up impeachment.
In Nevada, Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons has taken a page out of the Kwame Kilpatrick Book of Politics, by sending hundreds of text messages to the woman who Gibbons' wife says wrecked their marriage (Gibbons denies having an affair). You never want to take a page out of the Kwame Kilpatrick Book of Politics.
So who is going to be forced out of office first?
Most likely, neither one of them.
Blagojevich has an important defender in Senate President Emil Jones, who had this to say about Madigan's efforts, according to the Chicago Sun-Times :
"I think it's wrong for the Democratic Speaker and Democratic Party Chairman to promote the impeachment of a Democratic Governor," Jones said. "Impeachment is unwarranted in my opinion, and should not be used as a political tool."
Gibbons obviously won't be impeached for having an affair, although he is still under FBI investigation for gifts he received during his time in Congress. Also, Nevada has a recall law. In fact, Gibbons has been the subject of recall rumors since his first days in office. But, as I wrote more than a year ago, Nevada doesn't make recalls easy:
To get a recall on the ballot will take more than 145,000 signatures from registered voters, which is 25% of the people who voted in November's election. California law only requires 12% and meeting that standard took millions of dollars and hordes of signature gatherers when governor Gray Davis was recalled in 2003. Any candidate who wanted to run against Gibbons would also have to meet the 25% threshold for signatures.
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