Stateline pegs 2010 gubernatorial race as ‘worth watching’

The political Web site predicts the likelihood of a Republican renaissance in governors’ mansions across the nation as the next big opportunity for voters to punish politicians for a tanking economy and crumbling quality of life.

But Colorado Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams shouldn’t break out the noisemakers or “Boulder liberal” epithets just yet.

In the article GOP looks to rebound in 2010 govs’ races, Stateline writes:

For starters, the party has complete control of the federal government, at a time of economic challenges more severe than any in decades. Democrats will be seen as responsible for whatever happens between now and Election Day 2010. Worse-than-expected economic distress could lead voters to punish Democrats up and down the ballot, regardless of whether an individual governor “deserves” it.

Moreover, state-specific budget problems will weigh heavily on incumbents in both parties — and since there are more Democratic-held governorships at stake in 2009 and 2010 (21 Democratic seats to the Republicans’ 17) that reality disproportionately hurts the Democrats.

Indeed, the last time a major gubernatorial election year came in the midst of a state budgetary crisis — in 2002 — Republicans and Democrats lost control of governorships in droves, even in places where the “out” party had historically been weak.

Seems reasonable enough. But where does Colorado fit in these prognostications?

Stateline calls Gov. Bill Ritter’s re-election campaign merely “worth watching” and not the coveted “vulnerable” category that includes our largely Republican neighbors — Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming — that are currently led by Democratic governors.

Why the tepid endorsement? It might have something to do with the pretty lackluster GOP bench that has been jostling for attention to run against Ritter.

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