The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the States

Florida Governor Rick Scott: A Man with One Dog

This is important? During the 2010 Florida gubernatorial campaign, then-candidate Rick Scott paraded a rescue dog named “Reagan” on the campaign trail, touting the Labrador retriever as a more down-to-earth pet choice than President Obama’s purebred Portuguese water dog, Bo. Reagan was a fixture with Scott, even after he won the election, before… disappearing. As it turns out, the Governor gave back his skittish pup shortly after being sworn-in, saying that Reagan would bark at anyone carrying anything, and that he was seriously freaking out executive branch staff in Tallahassee. Thankfully, the Sunshine State’s first family still has another rescue lab, a 7-year old named Tallee. [Tampa Bay Times]

For all the fuss the Ohio GOP made about early voting benefiting Democrats, they may have been totally mistaken. According to statistics from the Ohio Secretary of State, most in-person early votes were from Democratic-leaning counties, including 70,825 from Franklin County (Columbus) and 45,400 from Cuyahoga (Cleveland), the second- and first-most populous in the sate respectively. In terms of the percentage of a county’s votes cast early, however, Republicans hold a clear lead– of the 24 highest-percentage counties, only 8th place Athens County, home to all of 64,757 residents, voted for President Obama. [Columbus Dispatch]

If labor-backed Democrats in Michigan are hoping for a Wisconsin-style recall campaign, they may be out of luck. At the end of 2012, Republican governor Rick Snyder signed legislation altering how recalls are petitioned and conducted. Instead of being judged at a county level, petitions will be reviewed for “clarity and ‘truth’,” before being voted on by a state-level, bipartisan commission. Additionally, signatures must be collected in 60 rather than 90 days, and officials other than the governor will face an opponent (determined by a primary), rather than an up-or-down vote; the governor will be replaced by the lieutenant governor if he or she is voted down. [The Iron Mountain Daily News]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

This week’s Republican National Convention has exposed a large and growing rift between former allies George LeMieux and Charlie Crist.

It’s convention season, so Florida was bound to have some interesting problems. When Charlie Crist publicly endorse President Obama and began to slam the Republican Party (his former party) a few days ahead the Republican National Convention, George LeMieux, former US Senator from Florida and advisor to Mr. Crist, responded with a scathing editorial. LeMieux claims “this isn’t the Charlie Crist I knew” in a letter to the Tampa Bay Times, lamenting his former boss’s shift from a “Reagan Conservative to an Obama Liberal.” Worth noting: Crist lives in St. Petersburg, mere miles from the location of the ongoing convention. [Tampa Bay Times]

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

Congressman Todd Akin won the Missouri Senate Primary in an upset after “support” from that state’s Democrats.

This is what happens when state politics intersects with national. After an ad blitz declaring him the most conservative contender for Missouri’s Senate seat, Representative Todd Akin scored an upset in the Republican primary last night, defeating Tea Party favorite John Brunner and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. The catch? The ads were paid for by McCaskill allies, hoping that Aki would prove the easiest opponent in the general. She got her wish, insofar as Akin won, but it remains to be seen whether this will be an ultimately successful maneuver. (n.b.- In 2002, California Governor Gray Davis made a similar move, running attack ads agains moderate Republican Richard Riordan. The gambit paid off, and Davis was reelected, though we all know what happened next.) [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

It’s a bit unusual for this blog, but we’re going to start off with some (relatively) good news. This past Tuesday, the state of Colorado’s congressional delegation jointly introduced a resolution to honor the victims of last week’s shooting in Aurora, Colo. In response, the House of Representatives held a moment of silence for the victims. H. Con. Res. 134, “condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the heinous atrocities that occurred in Aurora, Colorado,” was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who represents Aurora, and cosponsored by Colorado’s 6 other Representatives. [The Denver Post]

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

The city of Scranton is undergoing tough financial times that many believe are a sign of things to come for cities and states across the country.

It isn’t a stat issue per se, but last week’s wage cut by Scranton, PA mayor Chris Doherty is perhaps a harbinger of things to come. Over the protestation of unions and against a state Supreme Court ruling, Doherty moved last week to temporarily cut all public employees’ wages to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Doherty, a Democrat, said that the maneuver was his only choice, as the city currently faces a nearly $17 million budget shortfall. This announcement comes during a two week timespan in which three California cities have filed for bankruptcy protection. [CBS News]

In other budget news, Illinois continues to grapple with prison issues. In the past six weeks, violent incidents have increased exponentially in the state’s overcrowded penitentiary system. Some factions in Illinois are using this uptick as ammunition against governor Pat Quinn’s plan to close the Tamms “supermax” prison in far southern Illinois, and all parties agree that there aren’t enough guards and other prison employees for the incarcerated population. (At the very least, they aren’t saying anything to the contrary.) [Springfield Journal-Register]


Moving to somewhat happier news, the state of California has finally approved funding for a high-speed rail project that has been in the legislative equivalent of development hell for several years. The plan passed the State Senate by a margin of one vote and was signed into law by governor Jerry Brown, who commended the legislators for their “bold action.” [San Jose Mercury News]

Andrew Cuomo may be going rogue . After holding fundraisers for Assembly Democrats last week, the New York governor said that he won’t necessarily support his own party in State Senate elections: “I could see myself endorsing any individual regardless of party label depending on positions, depending on the individual.” Many Senate Democrats are counting on Cuomo’s support in their quest to retake the tight but Republican-controlled chamber. [The Daily News]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

After nearly a month of power plays, peace may finally be coming to the University of Virginia’s administration.

In Virginia, the never-ending UVA power struggle may finally have come to an end. Governor Bob McDonnell has reconfirmed Helen Dragas as Rector of the University’s Board of Visitors (what most schools would call chair of the board of directors) and appointed several new members to that board. What began as an internal academic dispute when the Board effectively forced president Teresa Sullivan to resign on June 10 morphed into a statewide political matter; outcry against Sullivan’s ouster was fierce, and McDonnell had threatened to remove the entire board if they couldn’t reach a consensus regarding her status at a June 26 meeting where her resignation was unanimously reversed. The governor’s most recent move has been met with praise, even from those organizations that had called for Dragas’s resignation, namely the UVA Faculty Senate. [C-Ville]

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

Until a health care decision is released Thursday, SCOTUS watchers will have to focus on the ruling in Arizona v. United States.

There was no health care ruling yesterday, but Constitutional scholars have plenty to talk about with Arizona’s win/loss on SB 1070. The Supreme Court struck down part of the highly controversial law, but invited further litigation to better establish the parameters of what enforcement is Constitutionally acceptable. Who “won” the decision is up for debate, but the Court has, of course, released the full decision for you to come to your own conclusions. [SCOTUS]

Tonight’s marquee primary races are both in New York, and one in particular promises to be exciting– New York’s 13th Congressional District. Democrat Charlie Rangel, who has represented the Upper Manhatan-based district and its predecessors since 1971 is fighting for his political life against State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Espaillat is challenging Rangel in today’s primary and may have a demographic advantage as a popular legislator of Dominican descent in an increasingly Hispanic district, but Rangel has a major advantage in his incumbency and endorsements. [POLITICO]

California’s budget problems and political dysfunction continue to have a negative impact on that state’s residents. Should a tax increase initiative fail in November, individual districts would be allowed to decrease the length of the school year by 15 days in each of the next two school years, down to 160 days. (Previous budget cuts already shortened the year from the traditional 180 days to 175.) This new school year would, of course, still be subject to collective bargaining. [Sacramento Bee]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again coming to blows with New York’s union leaders over proposed education reforms.

With a teacher evaluation plan, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finds himself once again at odds with some of the same unions that helped get him elected two years ago. The governor is facing off with Democrats in the state legislature over a provision that would allow parents to see their children’s teachers’ evaluations, including the teacher’s name. Names, however, would be withheld on the publicly available evaluation database. If the governor and legislature don’t come to an agreement by the time an evaluation system is agreed upon (which may not be any day soon), then all information will be visible in the state databases. The only person pushing for that setup? Mayor Michael Bloomberg. [NY Daily News]

Here is some interesting insight into the state of Florida’s Republican Party. The subject of the piece is former Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice, who is running for his old job in the large, politically moderate, suburban Tampa county. Rather than running on his record, Rice has embraced some of the furthest right of the far right wing, questioning President Obama’s citizenship, declaring ObamaCare a socialist plot, and entertaining the notion of Agenda 21 as a move toward World Government. All this for a sheriff’s seat. [Tampa Bay Times]

The Virginia GOP finds itself in an interesting position, as evidenced by its underwhelming convention in Richmond last week. To be sure, it got the business of the convention done, but without any of the usual pageantry such events normally entail – none of the state’s highest-profile Republicans, including Governor Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was in attendance. One interesting piece of news came out of the meeting: Next year’s gubernatorial nominee will be selected at convention, a maneuver that places firebrand Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at an advantage over Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. [Washington Times]

A California Assemblyman has found a novel way of fundraising in an era of austerity – for the low price of $1,000, he will shine your shoes. Das Williams, a Santa Barbara Democrat in his first term, is hosting a 38th birthday fundraiser at Russo’s Shoe Repair, across the street from the California State Capitol. Tickets start at $1,000 and go for as much as $3,900, the state limit for a general election campaign, but Williams has said he will let invitees attend for less. [Sacramento Bee]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems – The Politics of the States

Florida has run afoul of the US DoJ for at least the second time under governor Rick Scott, this time for the purgation of some 100,000 Floridians from voting rolls.

Florida finds itself in hot water with the US Justice Department yet again after purging some 100,000 names from its voting rolls. Although states re allowed to remove ineligible voters from the roll, DoJ has said that Florida did not comply with legal standards, citing “critical imperfections, which lead to errors that harm and confuse eligible voters.” Moreover, some are arguing that the purge targeted minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters ahead of what is sure to be a very tight presidential race in Florida this November. [CNN]

It’s not just Wisconsin. California is entertaining the possibility of a regulation that would ban corporations and labor unions from contributing directly to campaigns. Additionally, it would stop paycheck reductions from being used for political purposes. Unions, who use paycheck deductions to fund the majority of their political endeavors, would see their influence slashed dramatically, and all this on the heels of the Wisconsin recall vote that was seen by many as an affirmation of unions’ diminishing power. [Sacramento Bee]

Illinois politicians’ struggles with the law are well known. It is, after all, the state with not one but two former governors in jail. What is less well known is the bipartisan pair of State Representatives who have been sitting on ethics panels together. After presiding over the investigation into former governor Rod Blagojevich, Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, and Jim Durkin, a Republican from suburban Cook County, will investigate ethics charges being brought against Derrick Smith, also a Chicago Democrat. [State Register-Journal]

Rick Perry may not even belong in Texas at this point. The governor and  former Presidential candidate was booed at the state convention last week after declaring his support for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who is running for US Senate in a run-off with Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. [CBS Houston]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the States

Today's gubernatorial election in Wisconsin may be the state's most high profile recall, but it is by no means the first.

In dubious honor of the impending Wisconsin recall election, this week’s Politics of the States will be dedicated to that most polarized of states, the Badger State.

– It’s conventional wisdom that Governor Scott Walker will fend off challenger Tom Barrett today. A more unknown quantity is how the down ticket races, for State Senate and Lieutenant Governor, will play out. Rachel Weiner at The Washington Post takes a look at a couple of unexpected possibilities: Republicans keeping the governor’s mansion while Democrats either take the State Senate or win the Lieutenant Governor race. (Wisconsin elects the positions separately, so firefighters’ union head Mahlon Mitchell could well end up Walker’s lieutenant.) [The Washington Post]

–  With polls tightening up in recent days and Walker seemingly unable to cross the 50% threshold with Wisconsin voters, that state’s Democrats are gearing up for yet another grueling, divisive recount (a sequel, perhaps, to last year’s month-long nailbiter of a supreme court election). State and national Republicans refuse to comment on the prospect, but the Wisconsin Democratic Party has some 440 lawyers ready to go across the state today in case a recount is necessary. [POLITICO]

While Wisconsin’s recent political acrimony is well-known and widely-documented, less famous is that state’s lengthy history of recall elections, both successful and unsuccessful:


  • 1996: State Senator George Petak (R-Racine)
  • 2002: Milwaukee Country Executive F. Thomas Ament
  • 2002: Milwaukee County Board Chair Karen Ordinans
  • 2002: Milwaukee County Supervisors Penny Podell, LeAnn Launstein, David Jasenski, Kathy Arciszewski, James McGuigan, and Linda Ryan
  • 2003: State Senator Gary George (D-Milwaukee)
  • 2011: State Senators Randy Hopper (R-Fond Du Lac) and Dan Kapanke (R-French Island)
  • 2012: Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan


  • 1932: State Senator Otto Mueller (R-Wausau)
  • 2011: State Senators Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), and Jim Holperin (D-Conover)

For those of you keeping count at home, that’s 13 recalled elected officials and 8 unsuccessful attempts, all but one of which were in the 15 years between 1996 and 2011, in addition to the 6 officials up for recall today (Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, and 4 Republicans in the State Senate).

This requires no comment.

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