The Challenges Of Electing Democratic Governors
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
When Nathan Daschle stopped by our studios recently, I asked him about the significance of having 37 governors' races in one year.
NATHAN DASCHLE: So the import of this just can't be overstated.
NORRIS: So there's a lot more at stake this time around.
DASCHLE: A lot more at stake.
NORRIS: Help me sort of look at - if you could pretend like the two of us are sitting here in the studio looking at a map. What are the races that you are most interested in, where the race is so close right now that you're not sure what's actually going to happen?
DASCHLE: I wish I could narrow it down to a few. There are about 15 races that I think are fairly considered toss-up races. But I'll tell you three that are in the toss-up category that I think are very important: California, Texas and Florida. These are three of our biggest states. All of them will undergo redistricting, and they're all states where they currently have Republican governors. We actually feel, the Democratic Governors Association, that we can go on offense.
NORRIS: President Obama's approval ratings are down. The jobless rate is up across the country. How much of this is a referendum on the Obama administration?
DASCHLE: They can't say Democrats at the state level are spending too much because they spend less than their Republican counterparts. And there's a real contrast in leadership at the state level. And this environment in particular, I think, favors the Democrats.
NORRIS: On the other side of the aisle, there's quite a bit of enthusiasm, voters are highly motivated. But if you look on your side of the aisle, it seems that there's not as much overt enthusiasm on the part of the voters. How much does that concern you?
DASCHLE: And we are seeing the GOP civil war take place all across the country. And that's where I think a lot of the noise that we are picking up here in D.C. is coming from. That noise is the dissatisfaction of the Tea Party with the Republican establishment. And it's that disunity that I think is really going to hamper the Republican Party this November.
NORRIS: If you had to succinctly reduce the message in the Democratic Party right now, what would that be in one sentence? What do Democrats stand for right now?
DASCHLE: Democrats, particularly at the state level, stand for an optimistic economic vision for the future. Because when times like this, when our country is experiencing this horrible economic crisis that we're just starting to climb out of, voters - particularly moderate and independent voters - want somebody who can give them a compelling vision that tomorrow is going to be better than today.
NORRIS: Nathan Daschle, thank you very much for coming in.
DASCHLE: Thanks for having me.
NORRIS: Nathan Daschle is the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association.
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