Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the final part of my assessment of the nation's new governors' political success.
Nevada's Jim Gibbons (Rep): Gibbons started out by facing claims of pettiness in a spat with his predecessor, fellow Republican Kenny Guinn. Then, it took him only a month to seemingly break an anti-tax pledge. But that was nothing compared to the big news: that the governor is under federal investigation for allegedly accepting unreported gifts from a military contractor who he helped secure secret no-bid contracts. The result is a 29% approval rating and serious doubts about the fate of his legislative priorities, which include more transportation funding and greater autonomy for school principals. The "good news" is that a district attorney decided to close an investigation into whether he assaulted a cocktail waitress in October.
New York's Eliot Spitzer (Dem): From a public relations standpoint, Spitzer has been brilliant. In disputes over the budget and the selection of a new state comptroller, he's reinforced his image as a reformer battling a corrupt establishment. The problem is that Spitzer has been making enemies among legislators of both parties. That "corrupt establishment" still has a lot of say over what gets done. It doesn't help, either, that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been denouncing his budget and even Democratic members of Congress are displeased.
Ohio's Ted Strickland (Dem): Strickland is still largely a blank slate, as he just made his State of the State address and submitted his budget proposal this week. The thorniest issue in Ohio this year is likely to be education funding -- for both K-12 and higher ed. The governor committed a gaffe last month when he suggested that Iraqi refugees would not be welcome in Ohio, but did minimize the damage by quickly expressing regret for his remarks.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.