Republicans and Democrats raising big money for governor's races

With 37 governor's races coming up this November, the Republican Governor's Association and the Democratic Governor's Association are pulling in big money. The RGA "raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand," CNN reported yesterday. The DGA raised $8 million during the first quarter, setting a new record for the organization, and has $22 million on hand. A DGA press release noted that first-quarter receipts in 2010 exceeded the organization's fundraising during the first six months of 2006.

The RGA and DGA set fundraising records in 2009, with the Republican organization bringing in $30 million and its Democratic counterpart raising $23 million. I'm pleasantly surprised that the DGA has been able to stay so competitive with the RGA's fundraising in 2010. The first couple of months of the year were rocky for Democrats politically, and many major Republican donors have been fleeing the Republican National Committee for various reasons, including RNC staffers' embarrassing fundraising plans and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. I suspect a lot of contributions that would have gone to the RNC in other years are flowing to the RGA.

Yesterday's press release from the DGA noted:

Since 2006, the DGA has compiled an impressive winning record on targeted races. In the six races where both governors committees have spent at least $500,000, DGA has won four. [...]

The strong first quarter fundraising piggybacks on two consecutive record-breaking years for the DGA and builds on what was already the largest cash-on-hand in organizational history. With $22 million already in the bank, the DGA will spend more on races in 2010 than it spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. Grassroots donors are fired up about the GOP’s redistricting takeover plan and they boosted the DGA tothe $8 million mark with a surge of contributions in the final days of the first quarter.

“Even as we’re raising more than ever before, we’re spending that money wisely,” said Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director. “We’ve trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters – into the races on the ground – and our burn rate is the lowest it’s ever been. We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high – Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power.”

Some of the key redistricting states with competitive gubernatorial elections include California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Democratic Governors Association raised big money in 2009

Democratic incumbent governors are facing some tough races in 2010, but fortunately the Democratic Governors Association will be in a position to help in key states:

 

The Democratic Governors Association raised $23.1 million in 2009, more than ever before in the organization's history, and will start the 2010 election cycle with nearly 12 times as much cash on hand as 2006, the last equivalent election cycle, Chairman Gov. Jack Markell announced today. [...]

 

The DGA's 2009 fundraising marks the second year in a row and the first off-year in which the DGA raised more than $20 million. Fourth quarter fundraising was by far the strongest, with more than $7 million in contributions received during the period. December contributions alone totaled nearly $4 million. 

The record-breaking fundraising means that the DGA begins 2010, the most critical gubernatorial cycle in a generation, with $17.5 million on hand. In the equivalent election cycle in 2006, the DGA carried over $1.5 million and spent less than $14 million on races that year.

The Republican Governors Association has historically outraised the DGA by wide margins. In spite of the fundraising gap, since 2007, the DGA has won twice as many targeted governors races as the RGA. The DGA's strong cash-on-hand position means that it will be able to spend at a competitive level with the RGA in this critical cycle.

 

Losing the governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia was painful enough, and I am glad to know that those campaigns didn't deplete the DGA's cash reserves.

Here in Iowa, Governor Chet Culver may need the DGA's help to keep pace with Republian expenditures. Culver held lots of fundraisers during the fall, but he also spent money running a couple of television commercials statewide. The leading Republican challenger, Terry Branstad, probably pulled in big numbers during the fourth quarter, although he will have to spend a lot of cash before the Republican primary in June. The other strong Republican candidate, Bob Vander Plaats, has a lot of support from conservative activists and should have the resources to run a solid campaign.

DGA Raising Big Bucks Under Schweitzer's Watch

The latest fundraising numbers from the Democratic Governors Association, which is tasked with the tough job of maintaining the party's 28 to 22 advantage in governorships around the country in 2009 and 2010, are pretty outstanding:

The Democratic Governors Association today announced what the group is calling a "record-breaking" first quarter fundraising take of $5.3M, the most the raised in an off-year first quarter. The organization brought in $23M last year and $18.1M in 2006.

"Governors are on the frontline of our economic recovery, and it's important to elect people who believe that we need to invest in our schools, help hardworking families over the hump of tough times and focus on creating jobs," said MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer, DGA chairman, in a release. "It's gratifying that our supporters continue to see the value of investing in these races for the once-in-a-generation elections in 2009 and 2010."

The Governor races around the country in 2009 and 2010 are key for the future of the Democratic Party, as they will in most cases be the final elections prior to the upcoming redistricting processes around the country. With Republicans maintaining a robust history of trying to gerrymander their way into power or to keep power (see, e.g., the ridiculous and unlawful effort spearheaded by Tom DeLay and his lackeys back in 2003 to muck up the district lines in Texas) and the party unlikely to retake the House any time soon without the districts looking significantly different than they do today, it is imperative that the Democrats are assured a seat at the table by electing and reelecting Democratic Governors over the next two years. So kudos to DGA Chairman Brian Schweitzer, executive director Nathan Daschle, and the whole team at the committee for such a strong fundraising quarter.

There's more...

GOP Goes for Trifecta of Ineffectiveness with Rick Perry at RGA

The respective heads of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, John Ensign and Tom Cole, are already having terrible trouble keeping up with their Democratic counterparts, both in terms of fundraising and recruitment. Now it looks like Rick Perry is poised to join their ranks of ineffectiveness as new head of the Republican Governors Association. The Rothenberg Political Report's Nathan Gonzales has the story over at Political Wire.

In a development not yet made public, knowledgeable Republicans say that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is likely to take over the Republican Governors Association in 2008. The move is significant because RGA Vice Chairman Matt Blunt (R) has been in line to become chairman next year. Governor Blunt is the son of U.S. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R).

The reason for the change is clear: the Missouri Republican's own '08 reelection is in doubt, and he will need to spend all of his time and energy trying to win a second term. He faces state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D), a formidable foe. Perry isn't up for reelection again until 2010, which gives him more time to help the RGA with fundraising and candidate recruitment.

The Perry-for-Blunt switch is still pending official approval until the GOP governors' vote at their annual conference in November, but savvy observers expect the change to be accepted without controversy.

Perry is an interesting choise for this position. I suppose somebody had to claim the post this cycle. Last fall, Perry was reelected with just 39 percent of the vote -- the lowest percentage support for a victorious gubernatorial candidate since Jesse Ventura won Minnesota's governorship on the Reform Party ticket with 37 percent of the vote in 1998, and the lowest percentage support for a victorious gubernatorial reelection bid in recent memory. Perhaps Perry will be able to bring some of this winning spirit to his party's efforts to reclaim their majority of the nation's governorships this cycle, which they lost in 2006...

There's more...

Democratic Governors and the Progressive Netroots: Winning Together in 2006

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico will be posting here every week until the election. On behalf of MyDD, I welcome him here. I hope the community will do the same. As many of you have seen, he is also sponsoring the Governors forecast, which will help keep MyDD running in the weeks leading up to the election. I am proud and honored to have such a distinguished and successful member of the Democratic leadership here, and there are few more distinguished and successful than Governor Richardson. I expect his posts to be very useful to our community, as they will highlight many races that need our help--Chris

On Sunday, September 10th, I returned to New Mexico from Sudan after a successful mission to secure the release of imprisoned Chicago Tribune journalist and New Mexican Paul Salopek and his two Chadian colleagues. Our goal was accomplished through diplomacy, respectful face-to-face communication between me and President Al Bashir that allowed us to come to a reasonable agreement -- something that would have been impossible had I invoked the threats and bluster that characterize our nation's foreign policy under George Bush.

Even though we were far from Darfur on this trip, the consequences of generations of violence pervade every barren acre of Sudan. Meanwhile, as the Bush administration's misguided occupation of Iraq continues to deteriorate and waves of bloody violence push the country toward civil war with no end in site, the genocide in Darfur has continued and hundreds of thousands of people have suffered unspeakable atrocities.

George Bush has concentrated so many of our nation's resources on Iraq that he's taken his eye off the ball everywhere else, doing little to stop the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan or nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran. Unlike Bush, who is unable or unwilling to talk to anyone with whom he disagrees, the rapport Al-Bashir and I developed during our talks made it possible for me to encourage the President to accept the UN peacekeepers that Sudan so desperately needs.

It is time for a new American foreign policy -- a policy based on diplomacy, strong alliances, and the use of our great military only as alast resort. But while we will have to wait until 2008 to change our foreign policy, we have an opportunity right now to help the millions of Americans who have been abandoned by Washington. In the absence of federal leadership on health care, education, border security, disaster preparedness, the environment, renewable energy, fiscal responsibility and economic development, it is up to states -- and governors -- to get the job done.

Look around. In Wisconsin, in Arizona, in Michigan, in New Hampshire, and in my state of New Mexico, Democratic Governors are making a difference. Our states have balanced budgets. Our states are expanding access to health care. Our states are creating jobs, investing in renewable energy, and making schools work. In the 2006 midterm elections, there are 36 Governors races -- 36 opportunities to make things better.

We don't have to wait for 2008 -- working together, Democrats and the Netroots can win in 2006 and build a track record of success for years to come.

That's why I'm committed to supporting and building the progressive online infrastructure we need to win now. It's why the Democratic Governors Association is stepping up our internet efforts to serve as a clearinghouse for information on races around the country and how people can get involved. It's why I've set up a page at ActBlue.comto highlight our candidates, and why it's so important to activate ActBlue fundraising for every state. And it's why I'm proud to partner with MyDD to sponsor the Governor Forecast 2006.

Between now and election day, I'll be posting here at MyDD on races around the country about once a week. I hope you'll follow the links to get more information and get involved in any way you can -- online, on the ground, in campaign offices and at polling places on Election Day. I look forward to continuing this discussion on how we can best work together, so please leave your comments and questions on this post and I'll answer as many of them as I can.

Here are the latest updates on gubernatorial races around the country:

KS - Sebelius Leads by 20. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has a 20-point lead over her opponent, Republican Jim Barnett, according to a new poll. The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for KWCH Channel 12 Eyewitness News andThe Wichita Eagle, showed 58 percent of Kansas voters interviewed would vote for Sebelius while 38 percent would vote for Barnett.

Sebelius campaign website
Ca mpaign commercials

NH - Lynch Maintains Healthy Lead.A new poll by the Concord Monitor shows Gov. John Lynch holding a huge lead over Rep. Jim Coburn of Windham, the Republican nominee for governor. Lynch was favored 61 percent to Coburn's 24 percent in the poll. Lynch's support has surged in two years and transcends party lines: Nearly three-quarters of independents and 21 percent of Republicans endorsed Lynch in the poll.

Lynch campaign website
Campaign commercial

OH - Clinton Campaigns for Strickland.Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for gubernatorial nominee Ted Strickland at a luncheon that harkened the faithful back to better days. Pointing to government scandals in Washington and Columbus, Clinton said Republicans have abused their power and voters are ready to end one-party control of government in Ohio.

Strickland campaign website
Biographical ad
Wheeling -Pitt ad

CO - Mountain States Turn Blue. Democrats have made gains in recent years in the eight states in the Rocky Mountain West. In Colorado, Democrats have a chance to win the open governor's race. Democrat Bill Ritter, a former Denver prosecutor, has a 17-percentage-point lead over U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, a Republican, according to a recent Rocky Mountain News poll. If Ritter wins, Democrats could be governor in five of the eight Mountain West states. Before the 2002 election, all these states -- Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming -- had Republican governors.

Ritter Expands Lead. Democrat Bill Ritter has a remarkable 17-point lead over Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez in the race for Colorado governor, accord ing to a Rocky Mountain News/CBS 4 poll of likely voters. Fifty percent of voters surveyed said they were likely to vote for Ritter, versus 33 percent for Beauprez.

Ritter campaign website

MI - Granholm Widens Lead. A new survey is out with Governor Jennifer Granholm widening her lead over Republican challenger Dick DeVos. Fifty-percent of the people surveyed in the Epic-MRA poll said they will vote for the incumbent, while only 42 percent say will vote for DeVos.

Granholm campaign website
Cam paign commercial

FL - Sierra Club Backs Davis. The Sierra Club on Monday endorsed U.S. Rep. Jim Davis in the governor's race. Davis used the endorsement to repeat his campaign theme that he is the candidate of change versus Republican Charlie Crist, whom Davis says represents the status quo. "Congestion and sprawl are a threat to our quality of life and to community," Davis said. "We will start thinking and planning more regionally when it comes to transportation, when it comes to water, when it comes to planning and parks."

Davis Announces Running Mate. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis has tapped former Miami state Sen. Daryl Jones to join the ticket and possibly become modern Florida's first African-American lieutenant governor. "Daryl Jones has a record of leadership and commitment to public service that the people of Florida can trust," Davis said. "We share a vision for a Florida in which the voices of working men and women are heard in Tallahassee and the issues most important to Florida's families are at the top of the agenda."

Davis campaign website
Campaign commercials

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