National Governors Association

Governors Meet, Bring Baggage From Home With Them

Governors on both sides of the aisle face scandals and dicey re-election campaigns as they gather for an annual winter meeting in Washington.

By John O'Connor | February 23, 2014

Typically when governors gather for their annual winter meeting in the nation's capital, it's a time to tout the work they've done in their states, talk about their party's chances in upcoming elections and prop themselves up as more functional than their counterparts in Washington. (Via Fox News)

This year, though, it's a little more complicated than that. 

Many governors find themselves in trouble back home with investigations, scandals or too-close-to-call re-election campaigns. (Via C-SPAN)

Most notably, two of the Republican party's brightest stars: New Jersey's Chris Christie and Wisconsin's Scott Walker — who now face national media scrutiny relating to scandals and investigations. (Via New Jersey Star-Ledger, The Wisconsin State Journal)

Christie, once considered a frontrunner for the GOP's 2016 presidential nomination, is keeping a low profile at the National Governors Association gathering this weekend — (Via ABC)

— not speaking with the press and skipping traditional NGA events despite being the Republican Governors Association's chairman. (Via Politico

His actions might have something to do with the ongoing investigation back home regarding his involvement in the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal. (Via CNN)

But while Christie's avoiding the limelight, Walker, another 2016 presidential hopeful, is taking a different approach. As Time puts it: "nonchalantly" stopping to answer reporters questions at events.  

"[Walker's] conveying a ‘nothing to see here’ message" regarding a trove of emails released last week detailing his communications with former political aides — six of whom were convicted of criminal wrongdoing in 2012 for illegal campaign activities. 

Walker told The Washington Post: â€‹“This is an old news story ... Many of the ones that have been highlighted of late have actually been in the[Milwaukee] Journal-Sentinel and other places several years ago.”

But it's not just White House bids at stake, Republican and Democratic governors alike are facing the possibility of losing their jobs in the fall elections. 

​Twenty-two Republicans seats are on the ballot for 2014, including 14 open or competitive seats, with nine of those governors defending seats in states President Obama carried in 2012. Democrats, meanwhile, are defending 14 seats, including 10 deemed competitive or open. (Via MSNBC)

NBC looks some of the states most likely to see the governor's office flip from red to blue and vice-versa in 2014. 

"For instance ... just 30 percent of Illinois voters approving of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s job ... Republican Gov. Rick Scott [trails] likely Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 8 points. And ... a majority of Pennsylvanians [say] that GOP Gov. Tom Corbett doesn’t deserve re-election."

It's not all doom-and-gloom for the governors though. Not a single governor's approval rating is lower than that of Congress, which currently hovers at around 12 percent. 

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