For GOP, Some Good News at Last -- on the Gubernatorial Front

(By Gerry Broome -- Associated Press)
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By Chris Cillizza
Monday, October 27, 2008

The 2008 election could be the worst in a generation for Republicans, with the White House slipping away and heavy losses predicted in the Senate and the House.

Looking for a bright spot? Look no further than two governor's races, in Washington state and North Carolina.

In each, the Republican candidates have successfully snatched the "change" mantle from the Democratic candidates, and polls show both states are the truest of tossups.

In Washington, former state senator Dino Rossi (R) is back for a rematch against Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), to whom he lost by 129 votes after a series of contested recounts in 2004. The race has been tied since the Republican announced his second candidacy, and strategists on both sides acknowledge that it could go either way with a week remaining before the vote.

Working in Rossi's favor is Gregoire's long résumé in politics -- three terms as state attorney general before being elected governor, disadvantages in this year's hostile climate -- and some sense of buyer's remorse among the Washington state electorate. Working for Gregoire is the strong Democratic wind in the state and the power of incumbency.

In North Carolina, the departure of Democratic Gov. Mike Easley, term-limited out of office, seemed to open the door for his lieutenant governor, Bev Perdue, to step into the governor's mansion.

But Republicans smartly nominated Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a business-minded, pragmatic politician who has successfully painted Perdue as a defender of the status quo.

A recent Civitas Institute poll showed Perdue and McCrory knotted at 43 percent, with the Libertarian candidate receiving 2 percent.

Although Republicans could be on the ascent in Washington and North Carolina, not all the news on the gubernatorial front is good. In Missouri, Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) is swamping Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) in the open seat race to replace retiring Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

Bachmann Digs Big Hole for Herself

The electoral saga of Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) continues.

Bachmann, a freshman Republican seen as close to a shoo-in for reelection just 10 days ago, now finds herself struggling for her political life -- all because of an inexplicable decision.

That decision? To appear on national television -- MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, to be specific -- and suggest that Sen. Barack Obama holds "anti-American" views.

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