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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems On Track to Win Majority of Governorships

by EDM Staff
There’s no denying Dems face an uphill struggle in winning back majorities in the U.S. House and Senate. But it now appears quite likely that Dems will win a majority of governorships in November. Even Republicans are admitting as much, according to Dan Balz’s and Chris Cillizza’s WaPo article “Republican Crystal Ball: Rain on Governors’ Parade“:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association last week, and immediately confronted a troublesome landscape for 2006. As Romney put it during a break at the RGA gathering at La Costa resort, “The math is not in our favor this time.”
There will be 36 gubernatorial races next year, 22 in states held by Republicans and 14 by Democrats. Seven of the eight states where the incumbent isn’t seeking reelection are held by the GOP — and that could grow to eight if Romney decides to forgo a second-term bid in favor of running for president in 2008.

Romney and other GOP analysts see their party, which currently holds 28 of 50 governorships, losing from 3 to 6 governors next November. They may be optimistic, considering Dem landslides in Virginia and New Jersey gov races last month. Even better, Dem Gov candidates are running strong in larger states, including NY, FL, CA and OH.
Republicans at the La Costa meeting expressed optimism about winning the governorships of Michigan and Illinois from Dems. But Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm holds a “solid, double-digit lead” lead over GOP opponents in the latest Epic/MRI poll, according to Political State Report. Dem Governor Rod Blagojevich leads all GOP challengers in Illinois by at least 9 percent, according to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire.
All politics may be local, but GOP strategists are worried about the collateral effects of President Bush’s tanking popularity. Mike Finnegan’s L.A. Times article on the GOP meeting quotes GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who thinks voters may express their anger at Bush by voting against his Republican allies.

“You’ve got to have your own identity, and be really good, and really loud, or you could be a part of that,” Murphy told the governors, adding: “Federally, it could be really bad.”

Republicans are also concerned about the toxic fallout from GOP scandals spreading to gubernatorial races. Ironically, the GOP Gov’s meeting was held in the congressional district of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Rancho Santa Fe Republican who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes.