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« Don't Say No | Blog Home Page | Polls Show Tight Race For Hastert Seat »

Looking Ahead To 2010

New York

Of the freshmen governors elected in 2006, several are doing extraordinarily well. Ohio's Ted Strickland and Florida's Charlie Crist are routinely mentioned as potential vice presidential candidates. Chet Culver has his turn in the limelight as Democratic presidential candidates fawn over him. And even Maryland's Martin O'Malley is getting good press.

For New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, freshman year has been a lot more difficult. Dogged by scandal, held up as a shining example of coddling illegal immigrants. After winning election easily, Spitzer's approval ratings have steadily tanked. A new Siena College poll shows just 33% of the state views his job performance as excellent or good, down from 55% in June. The trend line is getting progressively worse: In July, 46% rated him positively. It was 44% in September, and 41% in October.

Sure, the guy will raise a bijillion dollars for his 2010 re-election bid, and his biggest potential threat, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has said he won't make a bid, but Spitzer had better do something to turn his numbers around. For starters, his party needs him to be popular if he is going to help Democrats re-take the New York State Senate, which would likely kick two Republicans out of Congressional districts after the 2012 redistricting.

Tennessee

He's not going to be president in 2008, but former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said this week that he might be up for a bid for the governor's mansion in 2010. Incumbent Gov. Phil Bredesen is term limited that year, but Frist won't have an easy path to either the nomination or the general election. Reps. Zach Wamp and Marsha Blackburn have said they might be interested in running, and even freshman Sen. Bob Corker refused to completely rule out a run, according to the Knoxville News.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Lincoln Davis is actively contemplating a bid, and one can't rule out a comeback attempt from former Rep. Harold Ford Jr.

The state is somewhat unique in that the Lieutenant Governor, at the moment Republican Ron Ramsey, is the Speaker of the Senate, elected by his colleagues. Ramsey is also said to be considering a bid, but his base would be much less than in other states, where a lieutenant governor faces voters every four years.

South Dakota

Speaking of term-limited governors and their possible successors, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin says she won't rule out a governor's bid in 2010, when Republican Gov. Mike Rounds will not be on the ballot. If Herseth Sandlin runs for the executive post, Rounds might be enticed to replace her in the House. It's not an unprecedented move; former Gov. Bill Janklow left the governor's mansion for Congress before he was forced to resign after a car accident killed a motorcyclist.

A further wrinkle, the Rapid City Journal reports: Herseth Sandlin did not rule out running for any other office in 2010, when Sen. John Thune is up for re-election. Thune, of course, narrowly defeated Tom Daschle in 2004, and Democrats would love to give him a taste of his own medicine. Odds are, though, that if Herseth Sandlin left the House, she would go for the seat Thune doesn't seek.