Saturday, May 17, 2014

Weekly round-up: Governor races

Here's our weekly round-up of three gubernatorial elections.

Wisconsin: Embattled governor Scott Walker is finally finishing up his first-term in office and is running for re-election.  Walker has been making news recently for endorsing certain Republican politicians in Republican primaries.  When he's not in the news for that, he is giving a commencement speech at Concordia.  Walker is being investigated for dark money and could hurt his chances if he wants to run in 2016.  EMILY's List, a(n) (in)famous women's activist group has targeted Walker in this election.   Walker survived a recall election and is the slight favorite to be re-elected this year.  According to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, Walker leads challenger Mary Burke by 3 points.  Burke voted to re-open negotiations with the Madison teachers' union.  Republicans have criticized Burke for being too close with unions.  This could turn into a union vs. anti-union election.  This will be an interesting election to watch.

Colorado: Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper is being challenged in his re-election bid by a bevy of Republican candidates.  The three horse race is between Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler, and Tom Tancredo.  Tancredo is the wildcard of the Republican primary.  He has been endorsed by political heavyweights Ted Nugent, Sheriff Joe, and Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Tancredo is running on the impeachment of Barack Obama, invoking the 10th Amendment, and defending Colorado's sovereignty.  Republicans should be scared if Tancredo wins the nomination.  Meanwhile, Bob Beauprez has snagged the endorsement of Mitt Romney.  Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been running on the idea that he is the only Republican who can win a statewide election.  None of the candidates are raising much money because people don't believe the Republican candidates can beat John Hickenlooper come November.  Hickenlooper is a strong candidate for re-election because of the weak candidates running against him.  At a recent luncheon, he stated that Colorado went from 40th to 4th in job creation.  When the economy does well, the executive gets too much credit and when it tanks, the executive gets too much blame.

Maine: Maine has a three way race in the general election.  Independent candidate Eliot Cutler, who finished 2nd in 2010 behind Paul LePage, is running in 2014 to be the Governor.  Cutler has unveiled an economic plan to focus on helping women in Maine.  This plan includes expanding early childhood education and creating flexible family working plans.  He has supported raising the minimum wage but prefers it is done at the national level. Democratic candidate Mike Michaud also supports raising the minimum wage. Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would raise the minimum wage.  Cutler trails Michaud and LePage in fundraising and the polls, as Cutler is polling at about 15%.  Democratic candidate is leading the three-way race by 4 points over LePage.  Michaud came out as gay in November of 2013 and will lead the LGBT Pride parade.  His campaign has focused on LePage's out of touch politics and obstructionism.  LePage was able to win the gubernatorial election, in part, because voters were divided in 2010.  His campaign has focused on calling his opponents "liberal" and referring to most social safety net policies to welfare.  The Bangor Daily News has stated that LePage has run on broad policies rather than specific policy positions.  They have also noted that LePage is reliant on the three-way race.  He is trying to stamp out food stamp fraud and has criticized his liberal opponents for ignoring nursing homes.   Michaud should be able to win the election, if Cutler doesn't play spoiler this year.      

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