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2009/2010: The 'W' test

"At least eight former staffers who worked for George W. Bush's

administration are running for office," The Hill's Wilson reports. "Even though President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney left the White House with poor approval ratings, aides who cut their teeth in their administration say the experience was invaluable. Still, it is also likely to hamper their electoral bids."

NEW JERSEY: Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie will unveil a "sweeping plan today to crack down on political corruption, including harsher penalties for officeholders charged with or convicted of crimes. Two weeks after one of the biggest FBI raids in the state, Christie's announcement today "marks a shift into politically fertile -- and volatile -- territory for Christie…Democrats and defense attorneys have long criticized Christie for letting politics guide his targets, a charge he denies." Right after the June 23rd arrests, "Christie said he could not view the allegations in a 'political context,'" although his campaign has a television ad playing up his anti-corruption creds.

Special-interest groups are "becoming more heavily invested in the New Jersey governor's race" by donating funds directly to the Republican and Democratic national governors associations: the NRA has given $90,000 to the RGA since December, and the NEA has given $200,000 to the DGA since March, according to CQ Moneyline. Unlike the national groups, which have no contribution limits, New Jersey's state party can accept "no more than $25,000…and a mere $300 if the donor has business with the state." In a year with only two gubernatorial races this fall" -- New Jersey and Virginia -- "donors have some assurance that a contribution to the national governor's association would be spent in New Jersey." Campaign finance laws are less strict in Virginia, "making it easier for individuals and organizations to give directly to a candidate." 
VIRGINIA: Citing a recent poll, Politico's Ben Smith remarks on the disparity of voter intensity between Virginia Democrats and Republicans with regard to the upcoming gubernatorial election. Smith notes that "more McCain voters are rallying to [Republican candidate] McDonnell than Obama voters are to Deeds." He lists some of Virginia Democrat's recent substantial successes: "not only have they won consecutive governor's races, captured both Senate seats... but they ended a 44-year streak of giving their electoral votes to Republicans." In the descent from that electoral high, "getting pumped for yet another governor's race--every four years--isn't easy."