Saturday, August 09, 2008

Indiana Governor Race

Race of the Day

Indiana Governor

August 9, 2008
87 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Leans Republican

Four years ago, the political situation in Indiana was one that allowed former White House budget official Mitch Daniels to play up his affiliation to President Bush, who had called him "My Man Mitch" to see him unseat a sitting Democrat Governor. Four years later, Indiana is seen as far more of a battleground and now Governor Daniels will not be mentioning President Bush very much, but instead will be focusing on his own record as Governor.

Due to budget related matters and some other issues, it has not always been smooth sailing for the first Republican Governor of the Hoosier State in nearly a generation. Democrats have been focusing on trying to deny him a second term for quite some time now and in may, their primary was won by Jill Long Thompson, a former Congresswoman who already had some electoral losses under her belt, and then after having been defeated for her reelection, served as an Assistant Agriculture Secretary in the Clinton Administration and would eventually lose a Congressional comeback attempt in 2002. Despite these setbacks, Thompson, who would become Indiana's first female Governor, won a very competitive and close primary over an opponent, who others have said would have been more of a threat to Daniels in a general election.

Still though, many pre-primary polls between Daniels and Thompson have showed a very close race. More recently though, polls have shown that Daniels has established a lead. The closest poll has it at 5 points while a couple of others even have it into the double digits. Daniels has a heavy money advantage and appears to now be favored to be reelected, if not overwhelmingly so. If the next batch of polls from the state show him with a double digit lead, this race would probably move into the "Likely Republican" column.

In the meantime though, people are expecting a close race in the Hoosier State both for Governor and in the Presidential contest. The focus on the state would be even greater if Senator Evan Bayh, one of Barack Obama's presumed top choices to be his Vice Presidential candidate is put on the ticket. Such a move would certainly not hurt Obama in the state, but it would also add an angle of increased attention to this contest for Governor as if Daniels is reelected and Bayh were to be elected as Vice President, the state's GOP Governor would be able to name a Republican replacement.

Daniels campaign link:

2008 Governor Races predicted: 1 D, 1 R
Predicted Gubernatorial total thus far: 23 D, 18 R

Race for the White House- 8/9/08

87 Days Until Election Day

Before convention season begins and before the running mates are unveiled, the two week Olympic Games have commenced in Beijing China, and many believe this will cause the frenzy of Presidential politics to take a back seat. Barack Obama has gone to his native Hawai'i for a week's vacation, Brett Favre has gone to New York (and this received about as much attention this week as anything else), John Edwards took advantage of the Olympic opening ceremonies to admit a much talked about in the tabloids affair (while denying that he fathered a "love child") and one has to wonder just what would be going right now on if Edwards had happened to have won the Democrat Presidential nomination. But alas, Edwards' political career now appears to be over, if not forever, then for a very long time.

Perhaps somewhat significantly, the Edwards scandal hitting the mainstream media completely overshadowed any hope of attention to be played to Hillary Clinton's first solo campaign apperance on behalf of Obama. The news yesterday of Russia invading its neighbor of Georgia may also turn out to be signficant and place some increased emphasis on foreign policy in the election.

While Obama is on vacation, John McCain may turn out to have the national stage to himself, at least to the extent that people will be focused on politics. He continues to hammer Obama through negative television ads, and in fact is plannin to narrowly outspend Obama on the airwaves during NBC's Olympic coverage. With the polls continuing to show an extremely close race, the next couple weeks could work to McCain's advantage in trying to gain a point or two any way he can, especially since once the conventions are over, and he takes the public financing, he will be at a great financial disadvantage.

The back and forth between the candidates this week, on the airwaves, on the stump, through press releases, and through surrogates continued hot and heavy but the week may have actually been won by Paris Hilton, who was of course featured in a McCain tv ad not long ago (and who it might be worth noting Barack Obama used to compare his celebrity to back in 2005). Ms. Hilton released a video reply to all the hubub surrounding and offered up an energy plan of her own, which the public seems to have fallen behind, as both the Obama and McCain camps have rushed to embrace aspects of it. In fact, Paris's plan for both offshore drilling and utilizing new technologies does happen to be pretty close to what McCain is suggesting.

So kudos to Paris Hilton for impressing many Americans in what will certainly be her second most talked about and viewed internet video appearance.

Straight Talk: