Go ahead and cross Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio off the list of possible Vice-Presidential candidates for Senator Obama. Governor Strickland was profiled today on NPR’s All Things Considered and spoke unequivocally about his feelings when it comes to the veep spot.
“Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve.”
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, whose popularity plummeted after two hurricanes devastated Louisiana during her term, announced Tuesday that she will not seek re-election.
Blanco has been burdened by the sluggish pace of recovery and by pressure within the Democratic Party, but she said she wanted to push through important initiatives without having to worry about political considerations.
“I am doing this so we can work without interference from election year politics,” she said in a televised appearance from the governor’s mansion Tuesday evening.
She had already broken the news in phone calls to legislative leaders, a meeting with her Cabinet secretaries and in a letter to her staff.
Deval Patrick has beaten Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy for Governor of Massachusetts according to MSNBC. With some precints reporting, Patrick has won with 56% percent of the vote, making him the second black Governor ever in the nation.
Now that the One Minivan Tour has rolled into America’s Dairyland, it’s worth taking a quick peak at three of the hottest races in Wisconsin this fall.
GOVERNOR: A hard-charging challenge from hard-right Congressman Mark Green notwithstanding, Governor Jim Doyle still leads by a few points according to the latest Republican poll. Democrats won’t be able to rest easy before Election Day, because this one is definitely coming down to the wire.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Democratic Dane County Commissioner Kathleen Falk is one of the talented and articulate players in Wisconsin politics. Nevertheless, Christian fundamentalist Republican nominee J.B. Van Hollen is running a strong race for the GOP. Touting his prosecutorial experience, endorsements from law enforcement (including seven “Democratic” County Sheriffs), and some labor groups, Van Hollen is threatening to become the most reactionary Top Cop in Wisconsin history. A recent poll gives Falk the lead, but this race could also have voters and activists up ’til the wee hours on Election Night.
CONGRESS, 8TH DISTRICT: Democratic Doctor and Businessman Steve Kagen is running a great campaign to pick up a much-needed seat for the Democrats in this Green Bay-based district. GOP Assembly Speaker John Gard is the repugnant Republican version of D.C.’s Denny Hastert and the Culture of Corruption. Among recent shenanigans, John Gard forced anti-death penalty Republicans to be suspiciously absent from the Assembly Floor when voting to place an advisory referendum on the issue on this November’s ballot. One Republican chalked up her absence to a nasty bout of diarrhea contracted at an unnamed pizza parlor! John Gard needs to go down, and various polls have suggested Kagen has a small lead.
All of these swing state races will be very close, so if your wallet isn’t already empty for this cycle, help these Wisconsin candidates win today! And stay on the lookout for the Wisconsin episode coming soon.
As the Republican House of Cards threatens to blow over from a strong wind of corruption and incompetence at the federal level, it’s easy to forget how important the many hotly contested gubernatorial contests are this year.
The prospect of more Democratic governors isn’t nearly as sexy as the idea of Democrats running one or both houses of Congress. Yet much of the progressive change that happens in America takes place at the state level.
Wisconsin and Ohio exemplify just how important gubernatorial elections can be to the culture and economic future of the States. Last night’s gubernatorial debate in Milwaukee was an impressive battle between two polished politicos: Governor Jim Doyle and Congressman Mark Green. One of Doyle’s most devastating arguments was his blunt warning that many researchers will simply look elsewhere for jobs if Mark green wins the election. Although Wisconsin is the original home of stem cell research, the Christianist wing of the GOP controls the state legislature. Mark Green tries to pretend he’s in favor of stem-cell research, but he’s a rabidly anti-choice candidate who opposes abortions even in the case of rape or incest, as well as any medical advances that Jerry Falwell wouldn’t approve of. Jim Doyle represents a high-tech future of medical progress; Mark Green promises only a Bible and more tax cuts for special interests to grow Wisconsin.
In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is easily the most extreme candidate nominated for governor in the history of the state. Blackwell is militantly anti-gay and anti-choice; much of Ohio’s GLBT community will feel unable to stay if he wins. College professors who happen to be gay have already fled Ohio since voters passed a gay marriage ban in 2004. The constitutional amendment bans not only gay marriage but equal benefits to gay state employees. Luckily, since Democrat Ted Strickland has a double-digit lead in every poll taken, this shouldn’t come to pass.
Americans vote with their feet, and unless Ohio and Wisconsin go blue this fall, both states will be drained of some of their most economically productive citizens. Neither state’s economy can afford such a body blow.