GOP Governors – Who’s HOT and Who’s NOT


We Currently have a Republican Governor in 29 states, and these states account for 310 electoral votes. The chart below lists these states, Governor’s name and electoral vote.

State Governor Electoral Votes
Texas Rick Perry 38
Florida Rick Scott 29
Pennsylvania Tom Corbett 20
Ohio John Kasich 18
Georgia Nathan Deal 16
Michigan Rick Snyder 16
New Jersey Chris Christie 14
Virginia Bob McDonnell 13
Arizona Jan Brewer 11
Indiana Mitch Daniels 11
Tennessee Bill Haslam 11
Wisconsin Scott Walker 10
Alabama Robert Bentley 9
South Carolina Nikki Haley 9
Louisiana Bobby Jindal 8
Oklahoma Mary Fallin 7
Iowa Terry Branstad 6
Kansas Sam Brownback 6
Mississippi Haley Barbour 6
Nevada Brian Sandoval 6
Utah Gary Herbert 6
Nebraska Dave Heineman 5
New Mexico Susana Martinez 5
Idaho Butch Otter 4
Maine Paul LePage 4
Alaska Sean Parnell 3
North Dakota Jack Dalrymple 3
South Dakota Dennis Daugaard 3
Wyoming Matt Mead 3

In my opinion 22 of these 29 are HOT. By this I mean that they are providing leadership and an excellent example that the Federal government should adopt. One Governor has been both HOT and lukewarm, and 6 just strike me as being lukewarm. I let cold apply to only the Democrat Governors who are trying to continue the process of thinking that other people’s money, especially those evil rich people are going to keep the money coming in to pay for all the things they have no money for. Let me first list the HOT Governors.
Rick Perry

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is in the middle of what will be a defining moment for our country and the conservative movement. It is essential that we stand with Governor Walker and show political leaders throughout the country that America is ready to take on its toughest political challenges.

Rick Scott

Collective bargaining is the key issue in the protests in Wisconsin. I’d like to see Florida’s Constitution changed so that it no longer guarantees workers the right to collective bargaining. It’d be great to be able to change it. Our state workers don’t pay for anything into their pension plan. And we can’t afford that – it’s not fair to taxpayers. If you didn’t have collective bargaining, would it be better for the state? Absolutely.

John Kasich

You’ve got a budget coming on March 15, and as Ronald Reagan said: “You ain’t see nothing yet.” My budget will seek to restructure the state’s Medicaid, education, tax, prison, regulatory and other systems that have pushed the state into an $8 billion deficit and made it less competitive than neighboring states.

Chris Christie

It is the unions, through their expenses, who are breaking New Jersey’s middle class. I contend unions sidestep the negotiations by going directly to the legislature to receive these benefits. I condemn the scenario of government attempting to rescind enhanced benefits, and the unions then crying foul over alleged collective bargaining violations when the unions themselves bypassed the process.

Bob McDonnell

Governor Scott Walker is taking the tough, but necessary, steps to balance the books in Wisconsin and get the state’s fiscal house in order. I applaud him for it. Here in Virginia we cut $6 billion out of our last two budgets and reduced state spending to 2006 levels. We did not raise taxes. The result is a more efficient and streamlined government, and a more competitive and economically vigorous Commonwealth. I thank Scott for his leadership, it’s what we need to see more of in every state capitol, and in Washington D.C.

Jan Brewer

No one should walk out. The Democratic lawmakers are doing exactly what we ask public employees not to do, and that is to strike, and it is wrong. They need to get back to Wisconsin, they need to go in there, and they need to vote. It is just so irresponsible. I can’t imagine them – any of them – getting reelected. The only thing you go to the legislature with is your vote.
It’s despicable, that you have elected officials in the legislature … that they would leave their job.

Scott Walker

We’ve seen union local after union local rush through contracts that had no pension contributions. We’re going to be forced to make layoffs, which to me is unacceptable. Taking away most collective bargaining rights is necessary because it would give local governments a chance to save money in a host of ways. That will be necessary because the two-year budget I unveil Tuesday will include nearly $1.5 billion in cuts to schools and local governments

Robert Bentley

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and the two state budgets almost assuredly are going to be smaller. I will push legislation to help Alabama’s small businesses, where needed, to create or at least sustain jobs. I’ve been working with the Legislature on the budgets and will take an active role in their outcomes. I could pass it on to the Legislature and allow them to make decisions, but I was elected to make decisions and that’s what I will do. I prefer to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. I think we need to be not pessimistic and we have to realize and know where we are and understand the situation.

Nikki Haley

While most other governors huddle with their counterparts in Washington this weekend regardless of party affiliation, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley planned to meet only with Republican state executives. Haley is skipping the winter meeting of the bipartisan National Governors Association because of her decision not to pay $100,000 for South Carolina’s annual dues to the main policy and lobbying group for the 50 state chiefs.
“South Carolina is facing a tough budget year,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said. “The governor simply doesn’t believe that in a time when we’re focused on returning government to its core functions, we should spend more than $100,000 on NGA dues.”
Haley will meet with the other 28 GOP state heads in concurrent sessions of the Republican Governors Association, a partisan group previously led by former Gov. Mark Sanford and whose members use campaign funds and other private contributions to finance its activities. “The RGA is covering the costs of the governor’s lodging,” Godfrey said. “A donor has been generous enough to provide transportation, which we will disclose via the governor’s voluntary plane log.”

Bobby Jindal

While government-sector unions and powerful Democrats in Washington may prefer to keep the status quo in Madison, the need for reform is real. Governor Walker is demonstrating remarkable political courage and showing what real leadership looks like. I encourage Governor Walker to continue to stand tall and fight for the taxpayers.

Mary Fallin

Oklahoma could dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of road and bridge projects across the state if not for cumbersome federal regulations like those that require environmental impact statements, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and her transportation secretary told a panel of federal lawmakers Thursday.

Fallin and Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley testified before three members of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The panel is conducting similar hearings across the country to receive input before reauthorization of a federal bill to fund roads and highways.

“The backlog of transportation needs in Oklahoma is large and requires a consistent, long-term federal investment strategy,” Fallin told the committee in a meeting at the Oklahoma City Community College. “It is our hope that such a strategy will include flexible federal funding, free of unfunded mandates or rigid ‘one-size-fits-all’ requirements on states.”

Terry Branstad

Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds visited cities in northern Iowa and the Des Moines area earlier this week. Next week they will hold town hall meetings in Pella, Ottumwa and Osceola on Wednesday. On Thursday, they will be in Glenwood and Council Bluffs, and on Friday Branstad and Reynolds will visit Sioux City and LeMars.

Branstad’s job creation plan includes cutting corporate income taxes in half; bringing commercial property taxes down from 100% of value to 60% of value, transforming the Iowa Department of Economic Development into a public-private partnership; and having a jobs impact statement with every new proposal that affects economic growth in Iowa.

Sam Brownback

The Kansas Senate Thursday voted 35-4 to expand the reach of Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed rural opportunity zones by 10 more counties, to cover almost half the state.

The plan amended by the Senate would cut state income taxes to zero for as many as five years to non-Kansans for moving into 50 of the most thinly populated of Kansas’ 105 counties, and provide up to $15,000 in student loan relief to doctors, dentists or other professionals moving there too.

The counties included in the zones stretch broadly from the state’s extreme southwest corner to just north of Manhattan, along the Kansas-Oklahoma border west of Wichita and Wellington, and into parts of southeastern Kansas.

In addition to expanding the proposed zones to 10 more counties than the 40 originally proposed by Gov. Brownback, the senators also voted to extend the student loan relief offer to graduates of Kansas universities as well as to out of state schools as the governor proposed.

Backers believe the expansions will strengthen economic development efforts throughout the state, said state Sen. Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican who led the arguments for the bill’s passage.

“We’re competing with lower taxes or no taxes in other states,” Bruce said.

And if the effort succeeds, Internal Revenue Service statistics cited in committee hearings on the proposal suggest that reversing the steepest of the population drains in rural Kansas could help create an additional half billion dollars in economic activity throughout the state, Bruce said.

Haley Barbour

Republican governors across the country are making tough decisions about state budgets, and I commend Governor Walker for dealing with government sector wages and benefits. It’s good to know Governor Walker is watching out for the whole state, especially the people stuck with the bill: the taxpayers.

Gary Herbert

Governor Gary Herbert told reporters in his monthly news conference that he’s encouraged by the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill.

HERBERT: What I’ve heard about it I think incorporates my six principles and the Utah Compact principles and I think that’s certainly moving in the right direction. I’m encouraged by what I hear.

The Utah Compact consists of five principles put forth by the business community, religious leaders and others to guide the immigration debate. They include respect for the law, keeping families together, and acknowledging the economic role migrants play. The bill’s guest worker permit would require a federal waiver, making it the first of its kind in the nation.

Susana Martinez

This critical matter of public safety deserves an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Legislature. The people of New Mexico have made it clear that they disapprove of the policy of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, but their voices are sadly not being heard by some of their elected representatives.

One question is whether Nunez will try to gather enough votes to blast his bill out of the committee that has tabled it and bring it directly to the House floor for a vote. Nunez would need the support of the entire GOP caucus – which he’s likely to have – and at least two Democrats to make that happen.

Nunez wouldn’t go into detail, but said he’s working on reviving his bill and thinks it still has a chance.

Butch Otter

For too long, elected leaders like Governor Walker, who are responsible and accountable to our citizens, have been virtually held hostage by the outdated and costly demands of public employees’ unions. We live in a republic, and there is room for all voices to be heard – within the context of an open public process, not in the context of entitlement-driven protests, work stoppages and disruption of the people’s business.

Paul LePage

LePage supports right-to-work legislation that is currently being advanced by Republican lawmakers. Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway, has two bills that address unions’ ability to collect dues. The first, LD 309, would address public employees. The second would address all unions in the private sector.

If enacted, the proposals would effectively make Maine a right-to-work state. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, 22 states have right-to-work laws, but none are in New England.

Dan Demeritt, LePage’s communications director, said proposals such as Winsor’s mesh with the governor’s philosophy about unions.

“He believes that any Maine worker that wants to be part of a union ought to have the opportunity to do that,” Demeritt said. “He also believes that union membership shouldn’t be a condition of employment.”

Sean Parnell

If it looks like a moratorium and walks like a moratorium … maybe it is.

There’s a direct link between the economic recovery and the failure to use Alaska’s oil reserves as a national security buffer against the uncertainty in Libya and other oil-producing countries in the Middle East. Higher gasoline prices could harm any economic recovery.

This is the moment our government must re-examine its ‘no new wells’ policy when it comes to oil exploration and development here at home. “The U.S. foolishly imports more than 63 percent of our oil. That leaves us vulnerable to the economic shock of disruption of these oil supplies and it drives down that economic recovery.

Federal decisions have blocked oil companies from three of the most promising Alaska locations for major oil discoveries, all in the Arctic:

  • The Chukchi and Beaufort seas that Shell wants to explore.
  • The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • The Teshekpuk Lake region of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Jack Dalrymple

North Dakota GOP senators approved Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s proposed $50 million state income tax cut Wednesday, a less generous plan than the tax package favored by House Republicans.

The tax bill, which senators approved 37-9, would lower the state’s income tax rate equally across the state’s five income tax categories. It would drop the top rate from 4.86 percent to 4.65 percent and the lowest from 1.84 percent to 1.63 percent.

It would also raise the income minimum for each tax level, with the top bracket taking the biggest jump. A person would have to earn $379,150 in a year to be taxed at the top rate, up from $372,950.

“We’ve had a tax policy that is predictable. It’s been stable and we’ve been consistent. The private sector looks at that as they make their investments,” said Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.

Dennis Daugaard

As I stated during the campaign, my top priority as governor is to create jobs and grow our economy. I have submitted a bill to the Legislature which will improve the way South Dakota attracts large, job-creating projects to the state.

Right now, large projects automatically qualify for a refund of a portion of their sales and contractors excise taxes. If the program continues in its current form, it will cost the state $23 million annually. The problem with our tax refund program is that it subsidizes many projects that would have come to South Dakota anyway. That is not a good use of taxpayer dollars.

My bill avoids this situation by replacing the tax refund program with a Large Project Development Fund that will be managed by the bipartisan Board of Economic Development. Rather than giving $23 million in subsidies to all businesses that qualify, the Board of Economic Development will be able to analyze new and expanding projects on a case-by-case basis before deeming them worthy of an economic development grant.

The Large Project Development Fund will be funded by 22 percent of the contractor’s excise tax. That will generate about $16 million in a typical year. Because the Board of Economic Development will target these dollars more efficiently, we can save $7 million annually for the general fund.

Matt Mead

As I said in my inaugural address, the federal health care bill may be the best Congress could do – it is not the best we can do. Therefore, I support legislation that would establish a litigation fund related to the federal health care law. As you no doubt know, I have taken steps to join the Florida lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. I understand the criticism in doing so – some because they like the Act, some because of the cost associated with the lawsuit.

I do not like the Act – in my view it is bad policy and too costly. This law will significantly increase our Medicaid rolls. Mississippi, for example, forecasts the overall cost to implement the Affordable Care Act in that state will be $1.7 billion over ten years, including $443 million in year 10 alone.

While the federal government has committed to the bulk of the cost associated with the Medicaid expansion the last I checked the federal government has significant financial problems. On top of that, the federal promise does not cover all the additional expenses.

Concerning the cost of the lawsuit, the current prediction is that it will cost us $1,000 and the Attorney General has been told it may cost more but not a lot. But, frankly, even for a much larger amount I am willing to fully test the legality of the law because it has implications beyond health care.

While this is a Tenth Amendment issue, this law should be tested with the same force as if the First or Second Amendments to our Constitution were being eroded. I believe that the rights of the states remain important not just for legal principle but because I believe the states can do a better job. Comparison of Wyoming’s checkbook to Congress’ checkbook is evidence we can and we have. I hope I will have your support in standing firm for Wyoming.

It is not enough to say “no”. We should continue to seek state solutions even as we fight the federal law. I support legislative proposals that advance state health care solutions, including expansion of the Healthy Frontiers pilot project begun last session. That project has passed the initial test and is currently enrolling participants in both Cheyenne and Casper. The expansion will give us the data and the experience that we need to develop more effective and less costly health care options.

Now I did not assign any grade of who is more HOT. I simply conclude these Governors I listed have displayed leadership. They should receive encouragement, and especially if you are a Precinct Committeeman in their state it will be much appreciated by the Governor.

Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana and potentially a candidate for President, has in my opinion displayed both leadership and a lack of leadership lately.

Mitch Daniels

On Tuesday, Gov. Mitch Daniels sounded cool, calm and conciliatory. “I trust that people’s consciences will bring them back to work,” Daniels said of Democratic House members who absconded to Illinois to bring the General Assembly to a halt. “I choose to believe that our friends in the minority will, having made their point, come back and do their duty and the jobs they are paid to do.”

On Wednesday, he sounded a little more like his old “eleventh-hour car bombing” self: “The House Democrats have shown a complete contempt for the democratic process … if you are not successful, you go home and take your case to the voters. You do not walk off the job.”

What a difference a day and a good nose-thumbing by House Minority Leader Pat Bauer can make!

It was one thing when it seemed that all Democrats wanted to do was kill the right-to-work bill, which Daniels was never that enthusiastic about in the first place. It was quite another when it became clear there was a much larger objective: Face down Daniels and the General Assembly’s Republican majorities over much more in their “radical agenda,” especially targeting the governor’s education-reform plans.

Below I list the 6 GOP Governors who in my opinion are showing a penchant for just letting things develop by the lawmakers instead of taking a strong leadership role.

Tom Corbett

Gov. Tom Corbett has no plans to follow the path of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose push to reduce the strength of public employee unions has sparked more than a week of protests in the Midwest state.

Corbett will instead focus on upcoming negotiations with state employee unions whose contracts expire at the end of the year, said Kevin Harley, the governor’s press secretary. Harley declined to say whether Corbett will seek contract concessions as part of the talks.

“It’s too early to tell but certainly the state is in a difficult position financially,” he said. “Obviously, the governor is focused on presenting a balanced budget without raising taxes.”

Nathan Deal

Governor Deal says he doesn’t want to make life difficult for Georgia businesses, but the Farm Bureau and other business groups say the Arizona-type immigration bills the legislature is looking at could spell trouble.

Governor Deal has taken some heat from conservatives for saying he would sign a Sunday alcohol sales bill if one ever gets to his desk and for his support of specialized drug and DUI courts for non-violent offenders.

As far as Sunday store sales of alcohol are concerned, the governor says it’s not his priority, but he thinks local communities should be allowed to decide whether to keep the old blue laws.

Having said that, the governor says he won’t be disappointed if the Senate bill remains stalled in committee and never gets to his desk.

Rick Snyder

“I believe in good faith we should be going through the collective-bargaining process, and my belief is it should work in our state to achieve the goals we need to achieve in terms of balancing our budget and addressing some of these issues,” he said.

Is that because it is a fight not worth having or because it simply isn’t necessary to do what he wants to do? “It could be either one, but shouldn’t I go work with them first?” he responded with a laugh. “One of the things I’ve worked hard to do – I’m here to work with people, not get in fights with people.”

Bill Haslam

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has spearheaded a confrontation with unions as part of budget-balancing efforts, leading to thousands of protesters descending on the Capitol while Democratic senators fled to block a vote on Walker’s proposals.

Haslam, on the other hand, has determinedly avoided taking a position on the three bills that brought about 200 pro-union protesters to the Capitol last week. The measures would stop collective bargaining between teachers unions and school boards, end dues deductions from government paychecks and prohibit union donations to political campaigns.

Lee said Haslam, “being the huge businessman that he is, is probably a little more laid back” than those motivated by political ideology. Besides, even if sympathetic with the bill, Haslam doesn’t really need to get involved, Lee said.

“He’s got these fire-in-the-belly, blood-in-their-eyes Republicans (in the Legislature) coming after the unions,” Lee said. “He doesn’t have to (lead).”

Brian Sandoval

Former Gov. Jim Gibbons sought changes similar to Walker’s, but Gibbons lost to former federal judge Brian Sandoval in the Republican primary and Sandoval backed off Gibbons’ proposal.

Instead, the newly elected Republican wants legislators to make their own proposals for him to consider.

Most state workers in Nevada don’t have collective bargaining rights. But local government workers do and Republican state legislators blame overly generous contracts for financial crunch facing governments across the state.

Dave Heineman

He’s willing to give the Legislature a chance to resolve the issue, he said, but senators have a long way to go.
“I’ve not seen a significant and meaningful piece of legislation out of the committee yet,” he said.
Governors and mayors and other government leaders are asking for flexibility in how they can manage their budgets, and key components are wages and benefits.
People in the state who have seen their own wages and benefits frozen and reduced tell him they are looking for balance in the public sector. Public employees continue to get benefit increases and pay raises at taxpayers expense.

I welcome discussion about my analysis of all of these GOP Governors. What will please me the most is if the discussion includes suggestions on what you can do. If you like what a Governor is saying and doing, then how can you show your support? If you are disappointed in what a Governor is saying and doing, then how can you light a fire under them and get them to be a leadeer? We are needing take action instead of being a peanut gallery taking potshots at politicians. This is how we should behave.

Cross-posted at The Minority Report

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I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

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February 28, 2011 6:15 pm

Is the paragraph beside each Governor’s name a quote from him/her about today’s situation and the role Republican Governors can play today to resist the aggressive hegemonic push of the federal government into states’ issues?

February 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Daniels: “I choose to believe that our friends in the minority will, having made their point, come back and do their duty and the jobs they are paid to do.”

Why does that quote make me want to vomit?

February 28, 2011 7:24 pm

No surprise to me Haslam would land in the lukewarm list. I was for Ramsey, but with Republican majorities in the state House and Senate Ramsey may be in the better spot.

redneck hippie
February 28, 2011 7:39 pm

Good for you, Pilgrim, for the point well made. What ARE we going to do? I could provide analysis for Daniels, but you already know where I stand on that. I would just say that Daniels has been on the phone with Gov. Walker more than once and before the dust-up in Indiana. He was supportive of what Gov. Walker did, and Gov. Walker has called Daniels a great inspiration and mentor. Already noted the link in another thread. Gov. Walker isn’t alone in his praise for Daniels. Both Jeb Bush and Chris Christie say that Daniels is the only… Read more »

February 28, 2011 8:55 pm

Excellent research as usual, Pilgrim. I always look forward to your columns.

Mike gamecock DeVine
February 28, 2011 9:29 pm

I want to apply these same pilgrim principles to Cuomo and some other Dem Governors that appear to have been mugged by reality and are taking on the public sector employees and edifices of the welfare state, more later