The GOP takeover of 2010 is being felt in the states and could give Republicans an advantage in 2012
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will be vulnerable in next year's election
Perhaps the most sweeping ramifications of Republican wins in 2010 have been felt in the states, where new governors are cutting budgets, revamping regulations and election laws, and reinventing a party that only recently seemed at the precipice of obscurity.
Indeed, governors are driving much of the political conversation. The protests over Wisconsin's new collective bargaining law, the tough new immigration laws in states seeking to catch up with Arizona, and the election-overhaul proposals in Florida are just part of the story. Serious budget shortfalls in at least 44 states are going to test the scientists who run the laboratories of democracy in ways that will fundamentally reshape government.
The governors themselves will have a big impact on the 2012 presidential contest. Their governance will send a powerful signal, but the very fact that almost a dozen governorships will be on the ballot is going to inject big money into key states. Those governors who do not have to seek reelection next year can donate their political organizations -- often the best existing machines in their states -- to their party's eventual nominee.
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A party holding the governorship is an advantage in a presidential contest, though it doesn't guarantee a victory. The correlation between a governor's mansion and winning elections is much stronger when it comes to Senate contests. Since 1995, almost three quarters of the Senate seats Republicans have picked up have come in states that either had a Republican governor serving at the time or had a Republican gubernatorial candidate win the same day.