Days after rumors erupted around Rudy Giuliani’s 2010 intentions, we have yet to receive any confirmation that the former New York City Mayor has indeed pulled the plug on the gubernatorial run and is preparing to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand; for all it’s worth, The Village Voice is now contradicting The Daily News and the AP to report that Giuliani will not run. Yet, that we are even talking about that possibility underscores the fact that the NRSC is still in a position to pull of formidable recruitment coups that would dramatically alter the Senate landscape: This past week also saw former Governor Tommy Thompson open the door to running in Wisconsin, as well as an increase in the buzz that North Dakota Governor John Hoeven might challenge Byron Dorgon.
In Kansas, Democrats finally have a candidate in the gubernatorial race: Tom Wiggans, a retired pharmaceutical executive. That the state party sounds very eager to embrace him speaks to how desperate they have gotten. Indeed, it looks unlikely that Wiggans (a political novice who spent his career in California before moving back to Kansas this January) can be much of a match for Senator Sam Brownback, the presumptive Republican nominee. While the fact that he has donated a lot of money to GOP candidates might not hurt him, what could is that he primarily looked interested in building connections with his donations: In 2008, he donated to the presidential campaigns of Obama, Giuliani, Romney and McCain.
On the other hand, Wiggans has two things going for him. First, he should be able to self-fund his campaign, which is all Democrats are looking for at this point. Second, Democrats are betting that, in the current anti-establishment context, the contrast between his business experience and Brownback’s service in the federal government will appeal to the state’s independent voters.
In Wyoming, Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal has yet to announce whether he will challenge the state’s term-limit law, but the GOP is already getting organized. Two have already announced - former state Rep. Ron Micheli and House Speaker Colin Simpson - and a third just walked into the race: Matt Mead, who served as U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2007, formed an exploratory committee. By my count, this makes him the fourth Republican U.S. attorney to seek political office this cycle (Chris Christie, Tim Griffin, Pat Meehan are the others), so keep an eye on the people Barack Obama is currently appointing: We might hear about them in the 2014 or 2016 cycles.
Finally, Maine looks to be competing with Minnesota for the title of most crowded gubernatorial race: former Speaker John Richardson announced this week that he would run for the Democratic nomination, joining a long list of credible contenders (former AG Rowe, state Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli and still others all have a credible path to the nomination). On the Republican side, no one new jumped in the race this week but I had missed state Senator Peter Mills’ candidacy announcement from a while ago; Mills, who got 35% in the GOP’s 2006 primary, joins two wealthy businessmen and still other candidates.
As always, I list all the changes I have logged in during the week to the “retirement watch” and recruitment pages. Written in red are those politicians who announced their definite plans rather than simply expressed interest or stroke speculation. First, updates to Retirement Watch:
|Will retire||No one|
|Will not retire||No one|
Second, updates to the Senate recruitment page:
|KY-Sen, GOP||former Ambassador Cathy Bailey added to list|
|NC-Sen, Dem||former LG Dennis Wicker will not run|
|NH-Sen, GOP||businessman Sean Mahoney will not run|
|WI-Sen, GOP||former Governor Tommy Thompson added to list|
Third, updates to gubernatorial races:
|KS-Gov, Dem||retired businessman Tom Wiggans is running|
|ME-Gov, Dem||former Mayor Donna Dion is running
State Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan added
former Speaker John Richardson announced run
Rosa Scarcelli is running
|ME-Gov, GOP||Waterville Mayor Paul LePage is running
state Senator Peter Mills is running
|MN-Gov, GOP||state Sen. Paul Koering dropped out (in August)|
|NY-Gov, GOP||Rudy Giuliani reportedly will not run|
|OR-Gov, Dem||former Hewlett-Packard VP Steve Shields dropped out|
|PA-Gov, GOP||National Guardsman Robert Mansfield announced run|
|WI-Gov, Dem||Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced run|
|WY-Gov, GOP||former US Attorney Matt Mead: exploratory committee
former state Rep. Ron Micheli is runnin