Posted by | August 11, 2010 19:27 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The New York Times yesterday had a useful reminder as most of us obsess over control of Congress.  The stakes may be even higher in a series of gubernatorial elections around the country.

There is ample cause for so much attention. At stake is far more than local policy making in a few state capitals. The new crop of governors will play a major role in deciding which party benefits from the pivotal redrawing next year of Congressional and state legislative districts, a once-in-a-decade occurrence.

Also, governors can play a role in helping their party’s candidate for President.  This is particularly important since there are gubernatorial elections in the most populous states (including a neck-and-neck race in California), and the most competitive ones.

I think that the anti-incumbent sentiment will play itself out much more strongly in races for governor.  Governors have to make the tough choices that the President and Congress can avoid by running budget deficits.  This means cutting services or raising taxes, both electorally unpopular.  And since governors have had to do this and the economy still stinks, look for them to be (often unfairly) punished at the polls.  This may be particularly bad news for Democrats as they hold a large number of the vulnerable seats.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.