What’s the name of the guy who spilled beer on John Hickenlooper? Yeah I don’t know either, but he’s running for mayor too. That being said, there are no major Colorado elections coming for another year and a half and you folks need some races to predict right now.
In 2007 there will be three Gubernatorial elections in the U.S. Two of the three seats are currently being held by Republicans, only one of which is popular with the voters. These races may dictate the way strategists lay down the foundation for the ’08 elections or they may just be a way to impress your friends with your freaky grasp of all things political!
Read on to see CCP’s analysis and predictions for the ’07 Gov. races.
Mississippi, barring any glaring mistakes, should remain safely in GOP hands after the ‘07 election. Current Governor Haley Barbour (R) showed good leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has benefited from high approval ratings despite long ties to President Bush. All the legitimate contenders from the liberal side of the aisle somehow managed to miss the filing deadline to run, leaving the Dems with extremely bleak prospects of taking back the Governors mansion.
Kentucky looks to get back to its Republican roots with a heated primary between current governor Ernie Fletcher and former Congresswoman Anne Northup. Fletcher currently leads Northup by 2 points (31%-33%) as well as having a commanding cash advantage. But at this point Northup has the momentum on her side with current Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence endorsing Northup over his current boss, and Fletcher being upside down in his approval-disapproval ratings. Northup’s message of not being Ernie Fletcher should resonate with a base that has seen the current Governor mired in a myriad of scandals. I see Northup being the candidate to make it out of the primary May 22nd (slight possibility that there will be a run off if 2nd tier candidate Billy Harper can make enough of a stink to prevent Fletcher or Northup from getting 40%).
The real question is if Kentucky will elect a Republican in the general election after the current governor has been such a disaster. Northup’s message of not being Ernie Fletcher will take her as far as the primary, after which it will be hard to convince voters of the difference between any two Republicans. If Northup is to be successful in the general she will have to have a strong message of lower taxes and less government but most importantly less corruption.
With Fletcher being the first Republican elected to governor of Kentucky in ages, it is going to be hard for the voters not to go back to the scandal free times they had when a Democrat was in charge.
Louisiana seems to be in the same type of boat that Kentucky is, though they are sailing in different waters. Current Democrat Governor Kathleen Blanco has managed to skirt the national tidal wave of liberal mania and is giving Louisiana Republicans a real reason to think they have a chance to win in this longtime Dem state. Poll numbers put out at the tail end of 2006 show Republican and former Congressman Bobby Jindal beating Blanco by over 30%. This may or may not have caused Blanco to not seek re-election, but either way the Dems have to be happy that they have a chance to recruit a candidate without Blanco’s baggage or negatives.
While Jindal has it in the bag for the Republicans, things are far more complicated for the Dems. Current front runner for the bad guys has to go to former Senator John Breaux. Breaux has a small problem in the fact that he currently is not a resident of Louisiana and is not allowed to run for a state wide office unless he resides in the state for five years immediately preceding the election. How he is still considered by insiders to ultimately be their nominee, despite the fact that their state constitution would have to be violated to do so, is beyond me. Option two if Breaux decides not to break any laws would go to current Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Blanco’s baggage would come with Landrieu, if he liked it or not, and should be enough to handicap him against Jindal. My guess is that the moral compass, known as Louisiana’s government, finds a way for Breaux to make the ballot.
If Breaux is able to get in the Dems can be competitive, but they will be hard pressed to get rid of the negative connotations that Blanco has brought to the left side of the spectrum.
Slight Advantage Republicans
Despite not gaining a net advantage in seats, two out of three still ain’t bad and is hopefully enough to raise our hopes for ’08.