Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's part two of my thoughts on the new governors. Part 3 is coming tomorrow.
Idaho's Butch Otter (Rep): Otter is showing signs of being the next Mark Sanford, the Republican governor who spends all his time fighting with the Republican-controlled legislature. He's already butting heads with lawmakers over grocery tax cuts, his plan to eliminate two state agencies and renovations to the state capitol building.
Iowa's Chet Culver (Dem): Culver's first couple of months have been a lot less eventful than many other governors, which is probably a good thing. He only won a partial victory on pro-union legislation he supported, but appears close to achieving a boost in the cigarette tax, one of his top priorities.
Maryland's Martin O'Malley (Dem): O'Malley's tenure to date has been marked by a contradiction. He's already shown a willingness to take political risks, most notably through his advocacy against the death penalty (but also through his support for a living wage for employees of state contractors, a smoking ban and an assault weapons ban). But, on the biggest issue facing the state, Maryland's structural deficit, O'Malley's leadership has been noticeably absent so far.
Massachusetts' Deval Patrick (Dem): When Patrick pleaded , "Don't give up on me," a few days ago, my immediate reaction was to remember Bill Clinton's 1995 statement, "The president is still relevant here." If you need to say it, that's a very bad sign. Clinton's party, however, had just suffered a catastrophic electoral defeat, whereas Patrick won 56% of the vote only four months ago. What went wrong? Patrick can blame a variety of perk-related controversies, from upgrading to a more expensive state car and fancier drapes for the governor's office, to use of a police helicopter, to splurging on a $72,000-a-year appointments secretary for his wife. The governor is also under scrutiny for making a phone call to assist former business associates.
PREVIOUSLY: Assessing the New Governors, Part 1
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