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Friday Governors Line

The Fix is home with Charlie Cillizza today but even the little tyke knows that if it's Friday, it's time for the Friday Line.

Friday Line

Today we tackle the ten gubernatorial races most likely to switch sides in 2009 and 2010. As always, the number one ranked contest on the Line is the likeliest turnover.

Agree or disagree with our picks? The comments section awaits.

To the Line!

10. New Jersey (D): We've been told more times than we care to count over the years that this is the year that Republicans will finally win a statewide race in New Jersey. But, maybe this actually is the year as a new Quinnipiac poll shows Gov. Jon Corzine (D) trailing likely Republican nominee Chris Christie. Thirty eight percent of voters in the survey viewed Corzine favorably while 50 percent saw him in an unfavorable light -- numbers that were even more pronounced among critical independents voters (33 percent fav/54 unfav). Corzine has bought his way out of trouble in past races but public opinion appears to be hardening against him. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. Virginia (D): Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is intent on largely ignoring his primary foes and attacking state Attorney General Bob McDonnell. McAuliffe spent much of the last week hammering McDonnell over conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh even as former state Del. Brian Moran went on offense against McAuliffe over his energy plan. McAuliffe (thanks to his fundraising capacity) has to be considered the favorite in the primary but Moran and state Sen. Creigh Deeds both have paths to victory in June. (Previous ranking: 9)

8. Hawaii (R): Rep. Neil Abercrombie is the first Democrat to formally announce his candidacy but it's not likely he will have the field to himself as Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa are also interested. Republicans remain enthusiastic about Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona as a candidate and, if Abercrombie winds up as the Democratic nominee, expect Aiona to cast him as a tool of a failed Washington system. (Previous ranking: 6)

7. California (R): New polling out of California confirms what we've long expected -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a strong primary and general election favorite if she decides to run. Here's the problem (for Democrats): no one we know in the party thinks she will ultimately get in the race. If Feinstein doesn't run, the Democratic primary will be a free for all with state Attorney General Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa comprising the top tier, according to the Field poll. On the Republican side, no one knows any of the three potential nominees -- former eBay president Meg Whitman, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and former Rep. Tom Campbell -- although Whitman is well positioned as the lone female candidate. (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Michigan (D): Democratic insiders have long painted Lt. Gov. John Cherry as a weak candidate and new polling out of Michigan proves them right. Cherry trails three of the potential Republican nominees -- state Attorney General Mike Cox, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson. Watch for a push for a candidacy by state House Speaker Andy Dillon (D) if Cherry continues to lag in polling. (Previous ranking: 8)

5. Tennessee (D): Although Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) has been in office for the last eight years, there is a remarkably thin bench of Democratic prospects in the Volunteer State. The most likely nominee, according to informed insiders, is Mike McWherter, the son of popular former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter. A spirited primary is shaping up on the Republican side with Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, an heir to the Pilot Oil fortune, considered the frontrunner. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Oklahoma (D): Republicans, not thrilled with their current field in the race to replace Gov. Brad Henry (D), are pushing hard to convince former Rep. J.C. Watts to consider a candidacy. Watts, a well-known figure in the state thanks to his time in Congress and as the quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners football team, would likely benefit from significant national attention as an African American Republican. Democrats have two solid candidate -- Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and state Attorney General Drew Edmondson -- but Oklahoma is a VERY Republican state. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Kansas (D): Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's ascension to secretary of Health and Human Services could have been a good thing for Democrats' chances of keeping the state in their control in 2010, as she will be replaced by Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson. But Parkinson has made clear he will not run for a full term as governor next November, a decision that leaves the party in something of a lurch. That lurch is made worse by Sen. Sam Brownback's (R) decision to come back to the Sunflower State to run for governor. He is a clear frontrunner. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Rhode Island (R): The Democratic and Republicans fields narrowed in the last month with Providence Mayor David Cicilline and former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey (R) removing themselves from consideration over the last few weeks. Laffey's decision leaves state Rep. Frank Trillo as the lone Republican in the field while state Treasurer Frank Caprio, state Attorney General Patrick Lynch and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts are in the Democratic running. Any of the three would be favored against Trillo. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Nevada (R): Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) is a dead man walking politically. Former state Sen. Joe Heck is getting into the Republican primary race, according to Fix friend Jon Ralston, and may be joined by other ambitious pols who see an opportunity in Gibbons's predicament. Democrats are headed for a primary between Clark County Commission Chair Rory Reid, eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and state Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley. If Gibbons somehow survives the primary, Democrats will pick up this seat. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 13, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Well, it's been a while since I have seen a line that favors Republicans. In 2009, both races are democratically held and both are very winnable for Republicans. In Virginia Bob McDonnell is going to be the R nominee and is the front runner to win as of now. McAuliffe, Moran & Deeds are in for a brutal primary fight that has already began. I believe that Moran is the favorite to win right now. He also is the best general election candidate in Va. McAuliffe though, should not be underestimated as he is a buzzsaw fundraiser and has a practically infinite bank account. Graig Deeds is the interested candidate in this primary, as he will likely cede Northern Va. and those very expensive media markets to McAuliffe & Moran and focus on winning the rest of Va. This could work if McAuliffe & Moran split Northern Va. and Deeds wins the rest of the state big, he could well win the primary with not alot of money nor big name support. Either way, Bob McDonnell has a base in Northern Va. and that's where he is from. Plus, McDonnell is very well funded, already has great name recognition from running statewide & winning the Attorney General race in 2005. Either way this is painted, McDonnell is the front-runner just sitting back watching the primary until he knows who he will face in the general, because this primary is up in the air and is too close to call.

In NJ gov. Jon Corizine is in deep trouble. Not only does he face a primary challenge from ex Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson, but he also faces very stiff competition if he makes it to the general against ex US atty. Chris Christie. Christie is a dynatmite fundraiser and has the R nomination all but secured. I believe Corizine also has his Democratic primary won as well. But Christie is the big front-runner for this seat.

2009 could be a great comeback year for R's. Especially if Tedisco takes Gillbrand's NY seat and Christie & McDonnell wins their governor's seat in November. The Tedisco vs. Murphy NY seat is to be decided on March 31...only 15 days away. That would be a slap against Obama in a conservatively democratic NY district. Let's see how this one plays out. Plus, having Va. & NJ governor's races for 2010 would be a major plus for the comeback of the GOP.

Posted by: reason5 | March 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse


OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Will the national press corps start doing some serious reporting on this...

...or at least ask Robert Gibbs about Sy Hersh's contention that U.S. government "black ops" against American citizens are still ongoing?

Is such authority still vested in the VP's office? If not, when was such authority rescinded, and by whom?

That is a question that needs answering.


And John King: How could you NOT ask Cheney about this?

A true sin of omission that cannot be dismissed as inadvertent.

Was there a "deal" struck?

What would Wolf Blitzer have done?

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 16, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

I think obama has to get the ball funny and sexy videos at

Posted by: roverfind | March 16, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

re. California's election for gov.

It doesn't matter who, or what party wins the gov. seat in California, because he/she will be nothing more than a figurehead. The Democrap Socialist Party has run California for over 30 years, and they'll run it no matter who wins.

Posted by: armpeg | March 15, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

If loving you is wrong. I don’t want to be right. If being right means being without you…I’d rather live a wrong doing life. Yo momma and daddy say’s its a shame…it’s a down right disgrace. But, long as I got you by my side. I don’t care what your people say. Your friends tell you, its no future in loving a married man. If I can’t see you when I want you. I see when when I can. If loving you is wrong…I don’t want to be right. If loving you is wrong…I don’t want to be right.


And am I wrong wrong… so deeply in love with you. Lord, I got a wife and two little children depending on me to. And am I wrong to hunger for the gentness of your touch. Lord I got someone else at home that needs me just as much. If loving you is wrong..I don’t want to be right..If loving you is wrong..I don’t want to be right…

Posted by: opp88 | March 15, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Since we are all beholding to the Central Government...these 'Governors' are just for adornment.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 15, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I dont know, If Obama doesnt get on the ball with the economy the GOP will be there to take back some power.,

the GOP faithful are already rolling out theyre nominees for 2012. here the link

Posted by: crimesw1 | March 14, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised that New York didn't make it into your top ten. Patterson, last I heard is a bit on the vulnerable side in terms of electability whether its because of his proposed budget, the Caroline Kennedy fiasco or perhaps an unwillingness on New York's part (remember Carl McCall) to consider an African American candidate for governor. Should a Battle Royale between him and Andrew Cuomo materialize, which is better than a 50-50 shot, the very bloodied winner might in turn be vulnerable to Rudy (God forbid) and to a lesser extent Peter King.

Posted by: dilemma_ny | March 14, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

it seems that if only the rich would pay for all our health care ( ignore new jobs), if only every kid in line at mcd had a degree paid for by the one. Too bad the housing policies of FrankenDodd are bring ignored and the banks are irrelevant. Did all libs fail econ class.

Let's tax energy into oblivion since al gore was cheated. Etc.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 14, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Abercrombie is no shpe in because his primary challenger Mufi Hannemann has the backing of unions, and recently won the mayor's race in th City and County of Honolulu with 54% of the vote. The rest of the state combined does not equal the voting population of the County of Honolulu - which means Abercrombie will have to do well in the outer islands. Obama's cache of votes has been seen as nontransferable in this state, so Abercrombie will need to stand on his own and he is seen as an out of touch, white guy in a state where local matters matter and everyone is a diferent ethnic minority.

Mufi Hannemann is also an extremely tenacious, hard working, and well organized campaigner.

The primary could come down to who has the most votes sucked away by the other Democratic challengers, and with the current list Abercrombie stands to lose liberal professional wimmin and outter island liberals - while Hannemann will only lose a realitely small number of West O'ahu votes.

Republican Aiona has no chance because he is a pro-life conservative Republican and the electorate is overwhelmingly not. Lingle was seen as a liberal Republican in a time when people were sick of corruption by the Dems. That will not be the case this time around.

Posted by: fdegiac | March 14, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for messiah, the truth eventually finds its way around the NYTimes and msdnc. Deploy the dirty tricks squad. Nancy spends the money and barry votes present.

I suggest you consult rasmussen for some non lib unpleasant facts about the popularity of The One. Could be his gutter ball approach and I don't refer to his legendary bowling skills.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 14, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

king of zook, delusional as ever. Bush never had Obama's ratings and none of the GOP hopefuls for 2012 do either.

California Democrats deserve better than the "3 Stooges" mentioned above. "Monbeam Brown" is a "has been, Newsome's "Pretty Boy Floyd" and has a really grea history of screw ups, the LA Mayor's a no go in the Bay Area. Shame Arnold can't run again.

Posted by: NotBubba | March 14, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

It seems another barry pronouncement has reached it's expiration date. Now the economy is not so bad, a week after catastrophe. Or is it mr thin skin scrambling to avert criticism. I also heard today about his dirty tricks squad. How nixonian. I thought he was carter.

Ratings are now below bush and headed for jimmy.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 13, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Can we possibly get a most competitive Governors line? the Governors Line is my favorite, but I think we may get tired of hearing about states like Rhode Island for two years...


Posted by: AnthonyJBrady | March 13, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you once again fail to understand the dynamics of either Oklahoma or Hawaii. Let's begin:
1) Oklahoma's state Democratic Party is VERY different and MUCH, MUCH more popular than the national Democratic Party in Oklahoma. Oklahoma may be a "VERY Republican state" but only on the national level. Brad Henry won his first term in 2002 when George W. Bush was at the peak of his popularity. The Democrat still won.

2) Hawaii is an extremely Democratic state and Barack Obama carried the state by double-digits. Linda Lingle is the first Republican to win Hawaii's governorship since statehood but she's not as popular these days. Duke Aiona has never won a statewide race without Lingle leading the ticket. Neil Abercrombie is popular, a familiar name, and his entrance into the race should really help clear the primary field. Add that to the fact that he and Barack Obama are close. Once Obama sets foot in Hawaii and campaigns for Abercrombie, the race will be over.

Posted by: fable104 | March 13, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse've totally ignored the fact that harold ford will likely trade his talking head status in and run for governor in Tennessee....he still maintains a residence and lives here, and won 48% of the vote, just barely losing to Corker for Senate. I think he will throw his hat in, especially now that Frist will not be the Republican. He has strong statewide name recognition and his recent marriage makes him a respectable family man and he will have my vote!

Posted by: douglechleiter | March 13, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

JUST POSTED TO RAWSTORY.COM "comments" section by Vic Livingston, a/k/a "scrivener50" RE: Sy Hersh story about domestic "ops" against U.S. citizens:

To the poster above who says Hersh should "turn over" his evidence to the DOJ immediately...

I, a well-known journalist, have been a victim of the microwave radiation weapons (DEW) "slow-kill" torture of this "extajudicial punishment network." It's not just "commandos." There is evidence that this weaponry has been deployed to units fronted by federally-funded community policing, town watch and "anti-terrorism" volunteer groups -- Citizen Corps, USA on Watch, Infragard, etc.

I have been BEGGING the FBI, the intake agency for DOJ, to open a civil rights investigation. I was told there is nothing to investigate.

BUT some good people within the FBI apparently interceded to save my life -- because I was incapacitated, unable to write, barely able to speak.

But no investigation -- and the "directed energy weapons" attacks continued -- UP UNTIL TODAY. We have been irradiated as we sleep. I believe radiation devices or weapons have been secreted in our home, and in the homes of close neighbors.

DOJ "investigate? THEY KNOW ALL ABOUT THIS, FROM THE INSIDE. They FUNDED this weaponry. They AUTHORIZED its "use."

But a security/intel "Multi-Agency Action Coordination Center" has been, and still is, conducting this "program" -- a wide-ranging "extrajudicial punishment network" that has tentacles into ALL aspects of American life, including the health care system -- in which "targets" are said to be HARMED, and not helped. I am one of them.

Now AG Eric Holder and President Obama must act.

As for the mainstram media -- of which I was a member for thirty-plus years -- I have been the object of a slander campaign that ruined my career as my health was degraded. My colleagues, including Sam Roberts at the New York Times, refused to take me seriously. I believe some powerful entity slandered me to him -- and he is a former boss, someone who knows the quality of my work.

Even Keith Olbermann -- who acted like someone had told him terrible things about me -- would NOT listen when I ran into him at 30 Rock.

Keith and Sam: Will you listen now?

Read my articles and leave a message at

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 13, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse


The ongoing "extrajudicial punishment network" that has included the "executive assassination ring" is a "multi-agency" coordinated "action program" -- but insiders call it "the program."

Or "The Torture Matrix."

IF YOU MISSED THE SEYMOUR HERSH BOMBSHELL, LINK HERE: RE: "Seymour Hersh / Executive Assassination Ring"

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 13, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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