Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekly round-up: Gubernatorial races

The three gubernatorial races, I am doing a round-up for are below.  This week I am focusing on three states that have a chance to switch from Republican to Democratic. There is one sort of surprise in there.  I hope you had a great week!

Florida: Rick Scott who governed to the right of many Floridians has tried to appear as more of a moderate in recent months.  Scott criticized Rick Perry for allowing undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition, vetoed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses, promised to copy Arizona's controversial SB1070, and referred to President Obama's deferred action policy as unconstitutional.  Scott now endorses in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. Some believe that Hispanic voters in Florida will make the difference in this election.  Scott is also appealing a court's decision that ruled that drug testing welfare recipients was unconstitutional.  Despite Charlie Crist's rather famous political party switch from Republican to Democrat, Crist is somewhat attacking Scott from the right on raising taxes.  Crist made national headlines when he stated that racism is why he left the Republican Party.  Political observers have opined that Crist left the Republican Party because he couldn't win.  The polls indicate that Crist has a slight lead over Scott in the race.  This will be one of the closest gubernatorial elections in the country and one definitely worth watching.      

Nebraska: Primary elections in Nebraska are held on Tuesday.  Chuck Hassebrook is running unopposed in the Democratic Primary.  Most of the news coming out of Nebraska lately has been about the Republican primary while Hassebrook has been able to stay out of the fray.  The GOP primary had nearly $12 million flow in, prior to Tuesday's primary.  Pete Ricketts, an Omaha investor, has led the way with fundraising with nearly $4 million.  Ricketts was considered the heavy favorite until Attorney General Jon Bruning mounted a last minute campaign in February to secure the nomination.  Bruning has raised over $2 million.  He has also received the endorsement of well-respected Governor Dave Heineman and not as well respected Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.  Ricketts, meanwhile, has received numerous nominations from outside of the state including Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz.  Nebraska politics are a little weird. High profile endorsements from outside of the state don't normally play that well.  Still Ricketts receives much of his support from the Omaha area, the most populous in the state.  The primary will be very close.  Despite the political party associated with his name, Hassebrook stands a good chance of winning the election in November. He has been able to gain support from large swathes of the population including the Democratic population in Nebraska (there is some, I swear) as well as many rural areas in the state. The support in the rural areas would be crucial to Hassebrook.  Despite some political pundits willing to write off the state after the primary, it will be an election worth watching in November.  

Pennsylvania: Embattled Republican incumbent Tom Corbett is running for re-election.  The Washington Post has identified this state as the most likely to switch parties in 2014.  Corbett who endorsed a voter id law earlier has announced that he would not appeal the court's ruling striking down the voter id law.  Tom Wolf seems to be the most formidable foe to Corbett.  Corbett has been on the attack drawing the ire of fact-checking organizations such as FactCheck and PolitiFact.  Corbett has often been criticized for a wide variety of reasons including rejecting the Medicaid expansion, the voter id law, and cutting education spending.  The primary is May 20th and that is when we find out if it will be Tom Wolf, Rob McCord, or Allyson Schwartz running against Corbett.  Corbett is one of the most vulnerable governors in the United States and will be the focus of fundraising, advertising, and lots and lots of money come November.  I don't foresee Corbett being the Governor of Pennsylvania in January.    

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