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The Best State-Based Political Reporters (2009 Edition)

Ladies and gentleman, Fixistas of all ages, we give you the 2009 Fix list of the best state-based political reporters in the country!

Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions -- it made the list even fuller and better than when we last did it in 2007.

As we have said before, political reporters out in the states are doing great work on a daily basis and, by aggregating the best of the best here, you have a chance to follow their work.

We will put our list in a permanent spot on the blog -- exact spot still to be determined -- so that it can be used as a reference in advance of the 2010 midterm elections.

We also want to make sure we have as much information about these reporters available to Fixistas as possible. So, if you know of a Twitter account, blog or some other medium that a reporter on this list communicates, put it in the comments section and we will add it.

Make sure to spread the word on our list -- the most comprehensive look at the best political reporters in each of the 50 states.

The full list is after the jump. Enjoy!

Alabama: New York Times' Dana Beyerle, Montgomery Advertiser's Sebastien Kitchen, Associated Press' Phillip Rawls

Alaska: Anchorage Daily News' Richard Mauer, Associated Press' Rachel D'Oro, Anchorage Daily News' Sean Cockerham and Kyle Hopkins, KTVA's Matt Felling

Arizona: Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki, Capitol Media Services' Howie Fischer, Arizona Republic's Casey Newton

Arkansas: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Michael Wickline, Arkansas Times' John Brummett, Arkansas Times' Max Brantley

California: San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci, Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times' Mark Z. Barabak, Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters, Los Angeles Times' Shane Goldmacher, Calbuzz's Phil Trounstine and Jerry Roberts

Colorado: Denver Post's Lynn Bartels , 9News' Adam Schrager

Connecticut: Hartford Courant's Chris Keating, Hartford Courant's Jon Lender

Delaware: Delaware Grapevine's Celia Cohen, Wilmington News-Journal's Harry Themal

Florida: St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith, Associated Press' Brendan Farrington, Miami Herald's Beth Reinhard, St. Petersburg Times Marc Caputo

Georgia: Atlanta Journal Constitution's Aaron Gould Sheinin

Hawaii: Honolulu Star-Bulletin's B.J. Reyes, Honolulu Advertiser's Derrick DePledge

Idaho: Spokesman Review's Betsy Russell

Indiana: Indianapolis Star's Mary Beth Schneider, Louisville Courier-Journal's Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, Howey Political Report's Brian Howey

Illinois: Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson. Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, Crain's Greg Hinz, Capitol Fax's Rich Miller, Chicago Sun-Times' Carol Marin, Associated Press' Deanna Bellandi, Chicago Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch

Iowa: Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson, Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont, Associated Press' Mike Glover, WHO TV's Dave Price, Lee Enterprise's Ed Tibbets and Charlotte Eby

Kansas: Associated Press' John Hanna, Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske, Topeka Capitol-Journal's Tim Carpenter

Kentucky: Rural Blog's Al Cross, Paducah Sun's Bill Bartleman, Louisville Courier-Journal's Tom Loftus

Louisiana: Louisiana Politics' John Maginnis, Gambit's Clancy DuBos

Maine: Maine Public Broadcasting's A.J. Higgins.

Maryland: Washington Post's John Wagner, WBAL's Jayne Miller

Massachusetts: Associated Press' Glen Johnson, Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot, Statehouse News Services' Jim O'Sullivan, Boston Globe's Brian Mooney and Scott Helman, Associated Press' Steve LeBlanc

Michigan: WKAR's Tim Skubick, Detroit Free-Press' Chris Christoff Associated Press' Kathy Barks Hoffman, Gongwer News Service's Stephanie Cepak, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry,'s Peter Luke

Minnesota: Associated Press' Brian Bakst, St. Paul Pioneer Press' Bill Salisbury, WCCO's Erik Eskola, Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck, Strib's Rachel Stassen-Berger, WCCO's Pat Kessler

Mississippi: Jackson Clarion-Ledger's Sid Salter, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison, Associated Press' Emily Wagster Pettus

Missouri: St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Tony Messenger, Springfield News-Leader's Chad Livengood, KY3's David Catanese, St. Louis Beacon's Jo Mannies

Montana: Lee Newspaper's Charles Johnson

Nebraska: Lincoln Journal-Star's Don Walton, Omaha World-Herald's Robin Tysver

Nevada: Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston, Reno Gazett Journal's Anjeanette Damon

New Hampshire: Nashua Telegraph's Kevin Landrigan, Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso, Valley News' John Gregg, NH Political Report's James Pindell

New Jersey: Newark Star Ledger's Josh Margolin, Associated Press' Angela Delli Santi

New Mexico:'s Heath Haussamen

New York: New York Post's Fred Dicker, New York Daily News' Liz Benjamin, New York Post's Maggie Haberman, New York Times' Danny Hakim

North Carolina: Raleigh News & Observer's Rob Christensen, WUNC's Laura Leslie

North Dakota: Associated Press' Dale Wetzel

Ohio: Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Steve Koff, Columbus Dispatch's Joe Hallett, Cincinnati Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson, Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mark Naymik, Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Tom Suddes

Oklahoma: KOSU's Michael Cross

Oregon: Oregonian's Jeff Mapes, Register Guard's David Steves, Associated Press' Brad Cain

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald, Allentown Morning-Call's John Micek

Rhode Island: WRNI's Ian Donnis and Scott MacKay

South Carolina: The State's John O'Connor, Associated Press' Jim Davenport

South Dakota: Rapid City-Journal's Kevin Woster, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader's Dave Kranz

Tennessee: Knoxville News' Tom Humphrey, Memphis Commercial Appeal's Richard Locker

Texas: Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater, Houston Chronicle's R.J. Ratcliffe, Austin American-Statesman's Jason Embry, Texas Tribune's Emily Ramshaw, Texas Monthly's Paul Burka, Associated Press' Jay Root, Austin American Statesman's Gardner Selby, Texas Monthly's Patricia Kilday Hart, Dallas Morning News' Christy Hoppe

Utah: Deseret News' Bob Bernick Jr, Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke

Vermont: Burlington Free-Press' Samuel Hemingway

Virginia: Associated Press' Bob Lewis, Washington Post's Amy Gardner, Ryan Nobles of NBC12, Richmond Times-Dispatch's Tyler Whitley and Jeff Shapiro, Roanoke Times' Michael Sluss

Washington: Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Joel Connelly, Seattle Times' Jim Brunner, Associated Press' Curt Woodward and Rachel La Corte, Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Chris Grygiel

Wisconsin: The Wheeler Report's Dick Wheeler

West Virginia: West Virginia Watchdog's Steve Allen Adams

Wyoming: Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 29, 2009; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Next: Short Takes: Politics and the Public Option


Dave McKinney of the Chicago Sun-Times is also a great statehouse reporter in Illinois.

Posted by: purplelar | October 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Steven Allen Adams!!! Love the WV Examiner...

Posted by: WestVirginiaReader | September 30, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Austin Statesman missed the boat on the townhall meetings this summer. Gardner Shelby reported on a so called townhall which was not a townhall but office hours in the neighborhood. He got all his info from the teabagers including their exagerated numbers. He reported a crowd of 200 which was really between 50-70. I know this because I was there and he was not.

Posted by: bradcpa | September 30, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Any NM list that does not include New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan is an incomplete list! Monahan is the go-to guy in NM for indepth political analysis on the local, city, and state levels.

Monahan is quoted in the newspapers, appears on local television, and has hosted an election night radio program for more years than I can remember.

Ask Heath! He'll tell you who the leading politial blog is in NM!

Posted by: rooseveltrepublican | September 30, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure you'll get no end of whining about having failed to include this or that reporter from your already lengthy list, but it's unfathomable that the very few Idaho reporters who've earned the right don't include the very insightful, very clued-in Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman. Among other things, he was a Pulitzer finalist a year or two ago for his coverage of the sex scandal surrounding wide-stance Larry Craig. He was the Idaho Press Club's Reporter of the Year in 2007 and has won other awards as well. -- Neil Modie, Seattle.

Posted by: journohack | September 29, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Connecticut - You forgot Steve Kotchko of the Connecticut Radio Network (CRN) and Connecticut Magazine. He is the dean of all Capitol reporters, and the very best.

Posted by: decue19 | September 29, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse Alaska it's "Matt Felling" not "Helling!"

Good job on the list, Chris!

Posted by: celticdivaak | September 29, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Make sure to spread the word on our list


because I am down to 12 unique posters, having failed to run off the most extreme loons of the left and squandering my blog with PC wimpiness.

Drindl, please don't tell on me again. that trip to the editors office after my Hillary joke still scares me every morning.

Love CC

Posted by: snowbama | September 29, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

So Cc - your idea of reporting is now to post a blog asking for inputs from your bloggers, then posting the results a few days later.

I knew you were a weakling liberal journalist but this is clearly the laziest form of work you could derive.

but look at the bright side, in this age of presidents who have no leadeship skills and can't pass a single law, the journalist who gathers news and info from lefty bloggers is perfect.
I can see you are bucking for that Times assignment.

now don't you have some email from drindl you need to answer before 5?

Posted by: snowbama | September 29, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse


This is good background for you to develop your Lines, especially for the House.

NOTE: Your Line graphics are still the JULY versions.

Please FIX!

Posted by: justjoeking | September 29, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I have to object to your choices for Maryland. Jayne Miller is not a political reporter. She is an investigative reporter for a local TV station.

I nominated C. Fraser Smith, Baltimore Sun reporter, Political Director for WYPR public radio station and the author of William Donald Schaefer: A Political Biography; Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland; and Lenny, Lefty, and the Chancellor, among other things.

Posted by: JoanfromBaltimore | September 29, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This is a outstanding, comprehensive list Chris, and John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call is far and away the best state reporter, but may I add one more name to the Pennsylvania selections: Mario Cattabiani of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

His "Commonwealth Confidential" blog ( is a must-read.

The best PA politics blog overall would have to be (

Posted by: NativeNorthernVirginian | September 29, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked nobody from the Stranger is listed - they do most of the political reporting in Washington State.

Posted by: WillSeattle | September 29, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | September 29, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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