Entries in Governors (5)


North Carolina Elects First Republican Governor in Two Decades

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- (NEW YORK) --  North Carolina elected a Republican governor for the first time in more than two decades Tuesday night.

GOP candidate Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who had been leading in local polls in the final days leading up to the election, defeated Democratic candidate Walter Dalton, the state's lieutenant governor. It's the first time North Carolina has elected a Republican governor since 1988.

Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, who narrowly beat McCrory in 2008, served one term but was not seeking re-election.

North Carolina was a big target for Republicans in winning gubernatorial seats. The Republican Governors Association spent nearly $6 million in advertising buys to support McCrory and link Dalton to Perdue after a grand jury indicted one of Perdue's top aides for allegedly scheming to pay a staff member off the books in violation of state election laws.

Jennifer Duffy, a political analyst for Cook Political Report, a non-partisan election analyst group, said state Democrats made a mistake putting up Dalton against McCrory.

"Beverly Perdue was so unpopular she couldn't run for a second term," Duffy said. "It's easy to tag [Dalton] with everything she did, so Democrats kind of gave up on that one two or three weeks ago."

However, a big gubernatorial win for Democrats came in New Hampshire, one of three statehouse races that were considered toss-ups in the final days leading up to the election.

Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan, a former state Senate majority leader who had kept a slight lead in a tight race over the past few days, beat Republican challenger Ovide Lamontagne, despite the Republican Governors Association dumping a reportedly $6 million advertising buy into Lamontagne's campaign over the weekend.

Current New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat who has been in office for eight years, is retiring after his term.

It's an important win in the Democrats' column because New Hampshire, despite its meager four electoral votes, is considered a key battleground state in the presidential election. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney made last-minute campaign stops there before Election Day.

Eleven states are voting for governors Tuesday, and Republicans are aiming for a historic election night in statehouse races. The GOP now holds a total of 30 gubernatorial seats to the Democrats' 19. One state, Rhode Island, has an independent governor. If Republicans can grab four new seats, it will push their number to 33, the highest for the GOP in almost a century.

Six incumbent governors face re-election, four Democrats and two Republicans. Democrats grabbed the first two gubernatorial wins of the night with incumbent victories in Vermont and Delaware, two states that ABC News projects will also go to President Obama.

In those states, both of which were expected to remain blue, Democratic incumbents Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware and Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont were elected to second terms. In the presidential race, Obama picked up three electoral votes in each state.

But two Democratic incumbents, Jay Nixon of Missouri and Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, both face serious Republican challenges.

If Nixon wins, he will be the first Missouri governor to be re-elected in 16 years. In West Virginia, Tomblin faces GOP challenger Bill Maloney, whom he narrowly defeated in a special election just last year after then-governor Joe Manchin won a seat to the Senate.

Jack Dalrymple, the Republican incumbent for North Dakota, cruised to a second term, and Utah's Gary Herbert, also a Republican incumbent, is expected to do the same.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Grab First Gubernatorial Wins in Vermont, Delaware

Offices of the Governors(NEW YORK) -- Democrats grabbed the first two gubernatorial wins of Election Day with victories in Vermont and Delaware, two states that ABC News projects will also go to President Obama.

In both states that were expected to remain blue, Democratic incumbents Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware and Gov. Peter Shumlin in Vermont were elected to second terms. In the presidential race, Obama picked up three electoral votes in both states.

Despite the early wins in the Democrats' column, Republicans are still aiming for a historic election night in governor races. Patrick McCrory was elected governor in North Carolina.

Eleven states are voting for governors this Election Day -- eight are still held by Democrats, three by Republicans. The GOP holds a total of 29 gubernatorial seats to the Democrats' 20. One state, Rhode Island, has an independent governor. If Republicans can grab four new seats, it will push their number to 33, the highest for the GOP in almost a century.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Double Standard? Romney, Perry Grew State Payrolls as Governors

Steve Cole/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- have cast themselves as foot soldiers in the war against government workers.

Romney has criticized President Obama for presiding over an “unparalleled” expansion of the federal workforce that he would see rolled back, while Perry has insisted altogether that it’s not the place of government to create jobs.

Yet both men presided over substantial additions to state government payrolls at taxpayer expense during their gubernatorial tenures, a review of historical employment data found.

When Romney took office in January 2003, the Massachusetts state government employed 112,000 workers, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Four years later, the ranks of Massachusetts state employees had grown by 3,000, a 2.6 percent increase.  (Over the same period, nonfarm employment grew just 1.2 percent.)

During Perry’s decade-long tenure in Texas, the state workforce has also blossomed, climbing from 328,800 in December 2000 to more than 377,600 in July 2011, a net gain of 48,800 state government jobs, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The more than 14 percent expansion of Texas state government employment under Perry far outpaces the private sector job growth of 9.7 percent in the state over the same period.

As for Obama, the ranks of the federal government have swelled during his administration, though not by significantly more than they did under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Between January 2009, when Obama took office, and August 2011, the federal government has added a net 137,000 jobs,  a 6.6 percent expansion of the workforce.  During Bush’s second term, the ranks grew by 114,000 jobs, or 5.8 percent.

More than 2.2 million Americans worked for the federal government as of August 2011, excluding postal workers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Education Secretary Duncan Encourages Productivity and Flexibility

U.S. Department of Education(WASHINGTON) -- In a conference call Thursday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan stressed the need for governors to enhance productivity and flexibility in education despite facing a severe budget crisis.

“In these difficult financial times, meeting the challenge of improving education is even tougher, and many school districts are facing layoffs, reductions in state funding and massive budget deficits,” Duncan said.  “There is a right way and wrong way to cut spending, and the most important guiding principle I can offer is to minimize the negative impact on students.”

At the request of the states’ governors, the Department of Education released two documents Thursday to assist governors in making the best decisions about education while confronting demanding budget cuts.  The documents provide guidance for states to flexibly invest federal funds and ensure those funds are implemented in a way that fosters productivity for students.

“America’s governors are facing tougher financial challenges than any time in recent history, and we call this a ‘new normal’, but we can never allow the new normal to take us backwards.  We have to do more with less.  We have to have to put needs of children above everyone else,” said Duncan.

Duncan addressed pending teacher layoffs across the country and urged states and school districts to not simply rely on seniority when determining layoff decisions.

“We’re challenging states and districts to use teacher effectiveness in the classroom as a factor in teacher layoffs.  Districts should not let go of effective young teachers because it’s the easiest path and they should not let go of effective higher paid veterans just to save money,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cash-Strapped States Facing Budget Crises, Tough Cuts

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is set to release his budget plan for next year Monday, setting up a showdown with Republicans calling for drastic spending cuts to bring down the deficit.

Out in the states, though, the rhetoric is less heated and Democrats and Republicans are sounding strikingly similar, with governors from both parties calling for dramatic budget cuts to tackle massive deficits while pledging to not raise taxes.

Twenty-nine new governors were elected last fall and many are facing tough decisions on how to balance their budgets while retaining public services.  All told, states face a combined $125 billion deficit, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Almost all the states are required by law to balance their budgets; the federal government is not required to do so.

"The four big things that [governors] spend their money on is education, health care, transportation and public safety.  We're seeing pretty big cuts in all of those," said Nicholas Johnson, Director of the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Those cuts are not being well received by Americans.  A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that while Americans are not calling for increased government spending, they have strong opinions when it comes to cutting those services in order to bring down deficits.

Seventy-nine percent said they would not support cuts for funding for K-12 education, 76 percent are opposed to cuts to health care services and 66 percent said no to cuts to public colleges and universities.

California is facing a $25 billion budget deficit and newly-elected Gov. Jerry Brown has his critics howling in protest over his call for large cuts in Medicaid and higher education.  Brown also ordered government agencies to stop purchasing new cars and to get rid of ones that are not "essential" to state business.  He has asked state workers to give 48,000 cell phones, a move that could save the state $20 million.

In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called his state "functionally bankrupt" and called for cuts to education and Medicaid in order to close a $10 billion budget deficit.

In Florida, Republican Rick Scott rode the support of the Tea Party movement to victory in last November's gubernatorial race.  He's now under pressure to make good on his pledges to close the budget gap and cut taxes.

In the budget outline he released earlier this month, Scott proposed cutting state spending by $5 billion, with more than $3 billion cut from education spending.  Scott also called for a rollback of corporate income taxes and a reduction in property taxes, adding up to more than $4 billion in tax cuts over two years.

Meanwhile, over in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer has taken the unusual step of asking the federal government for a waiver so the state can remove nearly 300,000 adults from its Medicaid rolls in order to cut costs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio