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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Green Shoots in Governors’ Races?

One of the most common political journalism narratives of recent weeks has been that Republicans are about to pull off a truly historic sweep of governor’s races, setting up an absolute domination of redistricting and replenishing the GOP’s presidential bench.
Maybe so, but there are some interesting counter-indications as well, and in states that could have a big impact on redistricting.
As noted here often, Democrat Roy Barnes is by all accounts competitive against any Republican in Georgia, a state where Republicans control the state legislature and where the additional of a congressional seat will create a major redistricting fight.
Another big redistricting cockpit is Texas, and there Democrat Bill White is certainly competitive against Rick Perry.
And now comes a new surprise: a PPP poll showing Democrat Alex Sink with a sizable lead in the governor’s race in Florida.
It appears that the nasty Republican primary battle between Attorney General Bill McCollum and moneybags Rick Scott is hurting both candidates. And the independent candidacy by Lawton Chiles, Jr., assumed in the beginning to be a real problem for Democrats, may actually be helping Sink. At the moment, she leads Scott 36-30, with Chiles taking 13%, and she leads McCollum 36-23, with Chiles at 14%.
With the incumbent Governor, Charlie Crist, having left the GOP to run for the Senate as an independent, GOP prospects in Florida suddenly don’t look that sunny. And that could matter nationally, since Florida is a state where Republicans pulled off an impressive gerrmandering feat during the last decennial redistricting round, and might be expected to do so again if they hang onto the governorship and the legislature.
Perhaps a bean-count of states where Republicans control governorships will look pretty good after November. But in terms of the bigger states, and those with a palpable effect ont he future shape of the U.S. House, Democrats are showing signs of life in surprising places, and could do much better than expected.

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