SIU poll: Rauner, Pritzker lead governor races

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker each lead their closest primary rival by double digits with the primary election about three weeks away, a new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale shows. The survey found Rauner, the first-term governor, leading his Republican challenger, three-term state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, 51 percent to 31 percent, with 18 percent undecided or favoring someone else. On the Democratic side, the poll showed Pritzker, a billionaire entrepreneur and heir, with 31 percent, state Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston with 21 percent and Kenilworth businessman Chris Kennedy with 17 percent. A quarter of Democrats were undecided, with other candidates getting 2 percent or less of the vote. The survey also pointed to potential problems for Rauner in the November general election should he win renomination. A larger survey of voters found in one possible matchup that Pritzker leads Rauner 50 percent to 35 percent, while in another fall scenario, Biss is ahead of Rauner 48 percent to 34 percent. The Republican primary sample of 259 voters had an error margin of 6 percentage points, which is on the high side for a poll. The Democratic primary sample of 472 voters had an error margin of 4.5 percentage points. The larger general election sample of 1,001 voters had an error margin of 3 percentage points. The survey, conducted Feb. 19 through Sunday, was made up of registered voters who identified their party preference to poll takers and said they were likely to vote in the March 20 primary. The sample was not weighted to reflect voters more likely to go to the polls based on past voting history and was not adjusted for historical racial and age demographics or turnout. For example, African Americans make up about one-third of the state’s Democratic primary vote. But of Democratic voters surveyed in the poll, only 19 percent were black based on those giving their Continue Reading

Walz, Johnson, lead the field in governor race, but many Minnesotans remain undecided

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson have opened up small leads as they seek to be their parties’ nominees for governor, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The poll shows Walz leading the DFL pack with 21 percent, while Johnson leads Republicans with 24 percent. But the results also highlight the fluidity and uncertainty of the two races as they enter a crucial phase less than three weeks from precinct caucuses Feb. 6. Nearly one-third of DFL voters and more than half of Republican voters remain undecided. Voters have good reason to be deliberative: With DFL Gov. Mark Dayton not running for a third term, this year promises a wide open governor’s race that will help determine the state’s future, especially given legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2020 census. Poll: Jobs and the economy will dominate governor race Jobs and the economy dominate voters' thinking as the race for governor heats up, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. Nearly two out… And, with Republicans currently in the majority in the Legislature, the GOP has a chance at full control of state government for the first time in more than half a century, potentially transforming the state to become like its increasingly conservative neighbors in Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. Even voters who made a choice in the poll said they were relying heavily on name recognition. “I’ve heard he’s a decent guy,” Duluth DFL voter Richard Hansen said of former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Coleman came in third with 12 percent, behind Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson, who was preferred by 16 percent of 298 poll respondents who said they generally vote in DFL primaries. Swanson has not declared she is running yet despite a widespread belief she will be a candidate. Babs Anderson, a Brooklyn Park Republican who works at a hotel, said she supported Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt for Continue Reading

The 2017 governor’s race is shaping up

It may be hard to fathom after such a wild and grueling 2016 presidential campaign, but it's now primary season in New Jersey and the race to succeed Governor Christie is about to gain momentum.The Democratic primary was expected to be a brawl between the north and south. But suddenly it instead offers the prospect for an upset similar to the party's nomination battle this year for president, with a Bernie Sanders-supporting legislator seeking to defeat a moneyed favorite with ties to President Barack Obama. And no one quite knows yet how the Republican primary for governor is going to shape up, except that whoever ultimately wins faces long odds in retaining control of the executive branch.Not only is Christie facing historically low poll ratings, but not since Alfred Driscoll succeeded Walter Edge in 1947 has a Republican been elected to replace a Republican governor in New Jersey, a dubious historical marker for this race. Before David Wildstein was known as the admitted felon who devised the George Washington Bridge lane closures that derailed Christie's political career, he went by the online pseudonym Wally Edge in homage to the 36th governor.On top of all that, reliably blue New Jersey has become even more Democratic since Christie, a Republican, edged out the incumbent, Jon Corzine, for governor in 2009. Since that race, the Democratic Party has added 310,000 registered voters to the rolls, more than double what the GOP has done.At the center of it all in 2017 is likely to be the same singular force who has commanded New Jersey's attention for the past seven years: Christie. TRENTON: 17 faces you may see in NJ Governor race"The most interesting thing about 2017 is that the outgoing governor has the most influence over almost the entire race. For the Republicans, it's hard to escape the Christie legacy," said Ben Dworkin, director of Continue Reading

Meg Whitman loses California governor race despite $160 million tab; Jerry Brown wins for 3rd time

What does $160 million buy? A lot, probably. You can get an entire college at Princeton with a cool $30 mil. Turns out that's a bargain-basement deal compared to the cost of second best in California, as Meg Whitman discovered last night. The former eBay CEO lost the California governor's race to Democrat Jerry Brown, and she drew boos from supporters at a glum gathering in Universal City when she said she had finally conceded and her campaign was over.  "Tonight has not turned out quite as we had hoped," Whitman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We've come up a little short, but certainly not for lack of hard work, determination and a clear vision for making our state better." Nor a lack of cash. Whitman had hoped that her astonishing personal fortune and sparkling corporate résumé would be enough to push her into the governor's mansion, and she shattered campaign spending records by pouring $140 million of her own money into her run for governor. That personal sum topped the previous record of $109 million, spent by Michael Bloomberg in his run for New York City mayor in 2009. She ran a lavish juggernaut that many state pundits said had the sophistication of a presidential race, complete with chartered jets, fund-raisers held at posh Beverly Hills hotels and a fat Rolodex of six-figure consultants. At the GOP state convention in Santa Clara in March, Whitman bought an entire television channel at the convention's host hotel for the weekend. During her two-year campaign, she carpet-bombed the airwaves and television stations with ads targeting women voters, Latinos, undecided Democrats and independents. But none of it was enough to topple 72-year-old Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown, who captured nearly 54% of the vote despite a tight budget and lean staff. Brown, the state's governor from 1975 to 1983 and also a former mayor of Oakland, claimed victory at a raucous rally at the Fox Theater in that city, Continue Reading

NJ governor race: Here’s where the candidates stand on top issues

Where do the New Jersey gubernatorial candidates stand on the biggest issues?We asked them, they answered and we put it all together to make it easy to see what they've had to say on what matters to you most. NJ governor race: Who should you vote for? Take this quiz!See how the candidates match up on top issues below.Election 2017: Learn more about the third-party gubernatorial candidates   Continue Reading

Poll: Andrew Cuomo only 6 percentage points ahead of Tea Party rival Carl Paladino in governor race

ALBANY - Flame-throwing Republican Carl Paladino is within striking distance of overtaking longtime gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, a shocking new poll finds.    Among likely voters, the Democrat Cuomo has a paltry 49% to 43% lead over Paladino, the blowhard Buffalo businessman who won a shocking and decisive victory last week in the GOP primary, the Quinnipiac University poll finds.    Quinnipiac's findings are in stark contrast to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday that showed Cuomo with a more robust 54% to 38% lead.     Cuomo "might be a victim of his own excess," Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said. "Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the 'throw the bums out' attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year."     Neither the Quinnipiac nor the Rasmussen polls included Rick Lazio, who Paladino beat in the Republican primary, but who won a spot on the Conservative line. Lazio, who many experts believe would draw more votes from Paladino than Cuomo, is deciding whether to remain on the ballot. In the two-way race between Cuomo and Paladino, Quinnipiac found that Cuomo has strong leads among Democrats and women.  Paladino not only crushes Cuomo among Republicans and those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, but he also leads by a 49% to 43% margin among independents - a key voting bloc. The tough-talking Paladino also leads among men by a 49-46% margin, Quinnipiac found.    Nearly 80% of voters say their minds are made up. "The question was whether Carl Paladino would get a bounce from his big Republican primary victory," Carroll said. "The answer is yes. He's within shouting distance and - you can count on it - he will be shouting." Since winning the primary, Paladino has unleashed venomous attacks against Cuomo, most recently questioning his manhood Continue Reading

New Yorkers want President Obama to butt out of governor race, though poll still a blow to Paterson

ALBANY - Butt out!That's the message from of a new poll of state voters that says the White House was wrong in telling Gov. Paterson not to run for office next year. The Marist College poll, released Thursday, shows 62% of voters think the White House should not have gotten involved in state politics. Just 27% thought the Obama administration was right. Still, the poll was grim news for Paterson, with 63% saying he shouldn't run - and his approval rating hit a record low 17%. The Daily News reported last Sunday that White House political director Patrick Gaspard told Paterson the Obama administration's preferred he not run. The White House fears a Paterson candidacy would hurt other Democrats on the ticket - and entice to former GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani to run. Pollsters said 43% feel Paterson's name on the ticket would hurt other Democrats, 41% disagree and 16% are unsure. Meanwhile, the governor told WCBS radio it was "comforting" that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office denied involvement in the White House gambit. Cuomo, whom many Democrats prefer over Paterson, has the best poll numbers of any statewide official. Paterson said that's because Cuomo has not had to deal with the tanking economy. "He, like others, have not had to make the tough decisions of telling agencies you have to cut them - telling the state work force that you might have to lay people off," Paterson said. "You do enough of that, and believe me, you will be unpopular." Meanwhile, Giuliani said concern over his candidacy was "flattering" but would not influence his decision-making. "That sounds more like an excuse than a reality," Giuliani said. With Carrie Melago and Glenn Blain Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New Jersey governor race 2009 results: Republican Chris Christie beats Democrat Jon Corzine

Republican Chris Christie booted New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine from office last night, thrashing the deep-pocketed Democrat after one of the nastiest campaigns in the nation.With 99% of precincts reporting, Christie had 49%, compared with 45% for Corzine. Independent candidate Chris Daggett had just 6%. "We are going to pick Trenton up and turn it upside down," Christie told supporters in his acceptance speech. In ousting Corzine after just one term, the 47-year-old Christie overcame a $12 million spending advantage by Corzine - much of it poured into ads mocking the GOPer's girth - and the full weight of the Obama White House. President Obama stumped with Corzine five times, putting his own capital on the line in a race that many - rightly or wrongly - cast as a referendum on Obama's agenda. Exit polls showed a slightly more complicated picture. Garden State voters said their top concern was the economy, an issue where Corzine polled better. But Christie scored higher on taxes and jobs, both big concerns in a state with the worst unemployment in the Northeast. In the end, independent voters swung heavily toward Christie, making the former U.S. attorney the first GOPer to win a statewide race in Jersey in a dozen years. It was much the same story in Virginia, where independents powered Republican Bob McDonnell past Democrat Creigh Deeds, 59% to 41%, making for a Republican sweep on the gubernatorial front. Both Republicans piled up 2-to-1 majorities among independents, the same bloc that helped Obama rack up big wins in both states a year ago. "This is a wakeup call for all incumbents, and that includes President Obama," said one former Democratic Party official after surveying the wreckage. "People voted their anger and fears about the economy, and you can't insulate Obama from that." A year ago, Obama became the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to carry Virginia in a presidential race. Now - with lots of voters expressing angst over Obama's health care, Continue Reading

New York mayor race, New Jersey governor race figure for large presence on local radio stations

It may be an off-year election, but local radio will be all over the New York mayoral race, the New Jersey gubernatorial race and various other contests - like the New Jersey Assembly and New York Congressional District 23 - as the results come in Tuesday night. New Jersey is on particularly high alert, since the closest contest is expected to be the gubernatorial race there, between incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie. "We will begin wall-to-wall coverage at 7," says news director Eric Scott of WKXW (101.5 FM). "And we anticipate a very late night. It wouldn't surprise me to still be on the air at 5 a.m." In the city, WCBS-AM (880) and WINS (1010 AM) will start full election coverage at 7, though WINS will not go wall to wall. Steve Scott will be anchoring on WCBS-AM, and both stations will have reporters at the major local headquarters. At WNYC (93.9 FM, 820 AM), Brian Lehrer will host coverage beginning at 8 p.m. If either major election is still undecided by 11 p.m., coverage will continue on WNYC-AM only. WABC (770 AM) will not go wall to wall, but it will have staff reporters and an in-studio desk delivering updates and special reports. Noam Laden and Hilarie Barsky are the anchors. Regular hosts Mark Levin (6-9 p.m.) and Curtis Sliwa (9 p.m.-1 a.m.) will provide analysis. At WOR (710 AM), wall-to-wall coverage starts at 8 p.m. and will continue "at least" until 11. Joe Bartlett and Steve Malzberg will anchor. One station taking a slightly different tack is WFUV (90.7 FM). George Bodarky will anchor election news coverage starting at 9 p.m. But the station will also sprinkle in music inspired by the metropolitan area, like Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train" and Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl." All news and news-talk stations are also planning extensive online coverage that will include news updates, statistics, video, blogging and listener discussions. Continue Reading

Former DNC chief Terry McAuliffe files papers for Virginia governor race

RICHMOND, Va. - Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe filed papers Monday necessary to run for governor in Virginia next year. McAuliffe established his campaign committee, Friends of Terry McAuliffe, with the State Board of Elections and will tour Virginia for the next 60 days before making his candidacy certain. He also launched a new Web site Monday and said he would be announcing political advisers over the next week. McAuliffe just finished a series of campaign appearances across the state on behalf of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In each, he rallied local party activists and volunteers for Obama and the Democratic ticket. RELATED: PALIN EYES OPENING IN 2012He said he won't formally announce a decision until Jan. 7, but neither his tone or nor his words were those of an undecided candidate. "I think I can make a difference. I think I can go out and fight for people. I think I can create jobs. I think I can take this state in a new direction, and the thing I'd like to do, too, is to come out with some big, bold ideas. I think that's what this state has to hear," McAuliffe said in the interview. McAuliffe would face two other Democrats who have been active for nearly a year in an already contentious nomination fight to succeed Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. RELATED: GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN WARNS OF OBAMA DICTATORSHIPState Sen. Creigh Deeds narrowly lost the attorney general's race in 2005, and House Democratic Caucus chairman Brian Moran is also in the race. "I think Brian and Creigh are terrific. They have been great legislators. I would bring something different," McAuliffe said. The acidic tone of the looming nomination battle became quickly clear when Moran's campaign welcomed McAuliffe to the race by recalling speculation from three years ago about McAuliffe's interest in another governor's race. "Given Mr. McAuliffe's previous ambitions to run for Governor of Florida, he needs to explain to the people of Continue Reading