It's strange how this "mandate" thing works, at least at the Associated Press.
In Ohio, Republican John Kasich defeated incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland on Tuesday with a victory margin of about 2.5%, or almost 100,000 votes. Strickland is the first incumbent Buckeye State governor to lose a reelection bid since Democrat John Gilligan lost to Republican Jim Rhodes in 1974. In that race, everyone went to bed on Election Night believing that Gilligan had held on -- including Rhodes himself, who conceded the race -- only to wake up the next morning learning that late ballots had pushed Rhodes over the top by a razor-thin margin.
In Illinois, incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn defeated Republican challenger Bill Brady by about 20,000 votes, a margin of about 0.5%.
Below the jump, you'll see who has permission to claim a "mandate," at least according to the Associated Press's headline writers:
Ill. Dem gov. earns chance to argue he has mandate (link)
Gov. Pat Quinn's quest to become the elected leader of Illinois was fulfilled Friday when his Republican challenger conceded the state's closest governor's race in decades, leaving Quinn to argue he has a mandate to push a tax increase in the face of one of the nation's worst state budget problems.
Quinn defied a national Republican surge that cost many other Democratic incumbents their jobs by defeating state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, but it was far from a resounding victory with just more than 19,000 votes separating the two.
Still Quinn, who has held the office since replacing ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich in January 2009, says he'll continue arguing for an income tax increase to deal with a budget shortfall that could soon reach $15 billion and already has forced the state to stop paying some of its bills.
"I have a mandate, I think, to serve Illinois for the next four years, and I'm going to take that seriously and work hard on the issues that I espoused in the campaign. ... I think there are those who understand the election returns gave us a lot of support, and that will help us get the votes in the Legislature to do challenging but very important things," Quinn said Thursday.
Well of course. Quinn has a "mandate" because he wants to increase taxes. Kasich apparently doesn't because he wants Ohio to align its tax receipts and spending without tax increases. In fact, Kasich has talked of gradually phasing out the income tax that John Gilligan and Democrats imposed on the Buckeye State in the early 1970s. Somehow, Ohio got by without an income tax until then without disappearing into Lake Erie. Since then, states without income taxes like Florida and Texas have generally prospered. Ohio? Not so much.
Separately, AP writer Deanna Bellandi describes Brady as "more socially conservative" than Quinn. This strong implication that Quinn is also socially conservative is not supported by the facts, as more fullly described here. Some examples:
- Quinn had the endorsements of gay agenda-supporting newspaper the Windy City Times, the Pro-Abortion Political Action Committee, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, and the pro-gay lobby Equality Illinois. Brady did not.
- Brady had the endorsement of Illinois Family Action, the political arm of the prolife Illinois Family Institute. Quinn did not.
- Brady was rated as "100% prolife" by Illinois Citizens for Life. The same group tagged Quinn as "not prolife."
Other than that, there was very little difference between the candidates on social issues (/sarcasm).
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.