Monday, September 03, 2007

2007 Races: September Edition

Kentucky Governor:

With the arrival of Labor Day, the 2007 Gubernatorial contests are entering the homestretch. No state is more familiar with the concept of the horse race than Kentucky and with the finish line in reach, Democrat Steve Beshear, appears to be holding onto a lead of at least a few lengths.

Within the past month, another poll has shown the former Lt. Governor continuing to lead first term Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher by a margin well into the double digits. Even the one poll from earlier this summer, showing a very tight race, had Fletcher in a relatively weak position, with that poll just having a large amount of undecideds.

Fletcher seems to be betting heavily on turning the race around on an anti-casino stance, as Beshear has a plan to introduce that form of gambling to Kentucky. It is still not too late for the Governor to make a late push to the end and the race could very well tighten in the final weeks with Republicans, who opposed Fletcher in the primary, finally coming around to supporting him, but at this point, his holding on to office would have to be considered a major upset, and one which would probably generate steep odds in one of those casinos that the candidates are fighting to much about.

September rating: Likely Democrat

Fletcher campaign link:

Louisiana Governor:

As Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal looks more and more certain to pick up the Governorship of Louisiana, state Democrats have been seen as fully entering desperation mode.

A few weeks back, the Louisiana Democrats began running a series of television ads, in which the Catholic Jindal is accused of being an anti-Protestant bigot. Interestingly enough, but perhaps not surprisingly, those ads only are being run in the northern, heavily Protestant parishes of the state, and not in the southern, more Catholic areas.

Just about all the newspapers in the state have criticized the Democrats for taking this tact, saying that the articles that they are quoting from, came from Jindal's college days and are grossly taken out of context and distorted. While the two major Democrat contenders for the Governorship have apparently remained silent on the issue, and not called for the ads to be taken down, Jindal has been very forceful in defending himself against what he believes is a smear against his character. The ads and the claim that they make do appear to be so over the top, that Democrats may face a backlash by the voters, particularly Catholics.

Recent polls continue to show Jindal being the far and away favorite for the first round of voting on October 2oth. At least one of those polls now shows Jindal favored by more than 60% of the state. If he manages to just get one vote more than 50% next month, he is automatically elected Governor, without the need to face the second place finisher of the "jungle primary" in a runoff. While it is not inconceivable that something could happen to hold Jindal under a majority, a runoff now looks significantly less likely to occur than it does of occurring. Regardless, Jindal is in a commanding perch and a special Congressional election in Louisiana's very Republican First District, may soon be in order.

September rating: Safe Republican

Jindal campaign link:

Mississippi Governor:

The matchup between popular first-term Republican Governor Haley Barbour and his opponent, Democrat trial attorney John Arthur Eaves Jr. remains set and there is little indication that it is much of a contest worth paying close attention to. The most notable aspect of this fall's general election in Mississippi might be that in a state that was recently so heavily dominated by Democrats for statewide state level offices, may next year only have one Democrat left standing statewide.

Once Barbour formalizes his reelection in November, he can expect to hear a fair amount on how he may make a strong Vice Presidential running mate for potential Republican nominees Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani.

September rating: Safe Republican

Barbour campaign link: