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USApp Managing Editor, Chris Gilson, looks at the week in U.S. state blogging. Click here for our weekly roundup of national blogs. 


This week in Maine, The Political Carnival reports that the town of South Portland is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent crude oil from being exported from its waterfront. This comes after an 18 month campaign against the plans of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line company which wants to start exporting Canadian tar sands via South Portland. They say that environmental groups are every concerned that one break in the pipeline would ruin the town’s water supply.

National Journal writes on Thursday that despite his double digit polling deficit New Hampshire GOP Senatorial candidate, Scott Brown, still has the confidence of his state party. They say that Brown is likely to get a bump after the state’s primary in early September, and that voters won’t begin to pay attention until Labor Day in any case.

Heading west to the Green Mountain State, VTDigger writes on Wednesday that a state lawmaker has said that the ongoing problems with Vermont Health Connect, the state’s healthcare insurance exchange, are now at ‘crisis’ stage. This claim comes after it was revealed that 22,000 Medicaid beneficiaries have lost coverage in recent months because they were unable to complete their annual reviews on the insurance exchange’s website.

Moving on to New York, The Feed says that New York City’s war on new forms of taxi services such as Uber has run into trouble, as cars have been seized on suspicion of running illegal taxi services, when they have in fact been innocent. Staying in the Empire State, on Wednesday, Daily Kos writes that Governor Andrew Cuomo is one ‘corrupt bastard’, after he killed a commission that was tasked with investigating corruption in state government, after it starting subpoenaing his friends and allies.

In New Jersey this week, PolitickerNJ reports that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has announced that following a three year investigation, significant civil rights violations have been found on the part of the Newark Police Department. These include unconstitutional stop and frisk pedestrian stops, and a pattern of the use of excessive force by officers. They say that the police department will now be placed under federal oversight. Staying in the Garden State (and in Newark), Hit & Run writes that the 2012 ‘One Newark’ system that integrated charter schools with the public school system is now under investigation by the Department of Education after accusations that it is discriminatory. The system involved school closing and moves that disproportionately affected black students.


This week Hit & Run reports that the gun manufacturer, Beretta, has decided to move its manufacturing base from Maryland to Tennessee. They cite new restrictive gun laws in the state, which will see Tennessee gain 300 jobs at Maryland’s expense.

Moving over to Kentucky, PoliticusUSA writes that a local GOP leader has resigned in an act of protest over Senator Mitch McConnell. They say that the resignation of Barbara Knott, of the Daviess County Republican Party’s executive committee, shows that if McConnell loses the Tea Party crowd, he will have a near impossible time winning the November mid-term election.

Having better luck is former Georgia State Senator, Barry Loudermilk, who this week staved off a challenge from former Representative Bobb Barr in a runoff for the state’s 11th Congressional District, writes Roll Call’s At the Races. They say that there is no Democrat running in the seat in the fall, so Loudermilk has essentially won the seat.

Former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist Credit: Neon Tpmmy (Creative Commons BY SA)

Former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist Credit: Neon Tpmmy (Creative Commons BY SA)

In the Sunshine State this week, a Florida Keys judge refused to allow same-sex marriages, even after ruling the state’s ban was unconstitutional last week, writes SaintPetersblog. They say that the judge is responding to a pending appeal by the state attorney general. Still in Florida, PoliticusUSA reports on Wednesday that former GOP Governor turned Democratic candidate for the same job, Charlie Crist now has a six point lead in the race for the Governor’s mansion. This comes after Crist trailed the sitting Governor, Rick Scott, as recently as two weeks ago.

Moving north to Alabama, Left in Alabama says that the state legislature’s Republican supermajority is not competent enough to manage the state’s budget, after they ruled out tax increases to fund budget shortfalls, instead suggesting the state government could cut its workforce by 9 percent.

In Mississippi this week, the saga of June’s GOP Senate primary continues. Roll Call’s At the Races writes on Wednesday that defeated candidate Chris McDaniel still has $386,000 in his campaign coffers with which to contest the election that saw incumbent Senator Thad Cochran win the nomination by nearly 8,000 votes.

Burnt Orange Reports writes this week that the race for Lieutenant Governor in Texas could be the most interesting in the country. They say that the GOP challenger, Dan Patrick, is likely to be associated with Tea Party legislators if elected, and will not be one for compromise, while the Democratic candidate, state Senator Leticia Van de Putte is not a polarizing figure who will help to fire up the Latino electorate in the state.


On Sunday, Crooks & Liars reports that protestors took to the streets in Detroit to demand an end to the city’s water crisis. The protests follow the shutting off of water to residents who have been unable to pay their bills. Wonkblog also looked at Detroit this week, writing that the city’s bankruptcy, may actually work out relatively better for the city’s retirees compared to its investors. They say that former city employees are facing pension cuts of 4.5 percent, a massive change compared to the 27 percent cuts originally envisioned earlier this year. Meanwhile, eclecta blog points out that unemployment is still rising in the state of Michigan, and that it now has the third highest rate in the country at 7.5 percent. They say that GOP Governor Rick Snyder either lied to the electorate about the economic benefits of the state’s new corporatist policies, or was just plain wrong.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Credit: Gateway Technical College (Creative Commons BY NC ND)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Credit: Gateway Technical College (Creative Commons BY NC ND)

Heading west to the Badger State, Outside the Beltway reports that the incumbent Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is looking like he will have a tough bid for re-election in the fall, after a new poll shows that he is in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Mary Burke. They say that as Walker has been discussed as a viable presidential candidate, this race will be closely watched.

Minnesota’s mn progressive project reports (with some glee) that anti-immigrant rallies in the state drew only one protestor this week.

Moving south to Missouri, PoliticMO says that in August, voters in the state will get to decide whether or not there is a constitutional ‘right to farm’. This comes as the chair of the Missouri House Agriculture Policy Committee has led a public campaign to amend the state’s constitution to declare “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices.”

In Kansas this week, PoliticusUSA reports that Democrat Paul Davis now leads his Republican opponent, incumbent Sam Brownback by eight points in the race for the state’s governorship. They say that Brownback’s purge against moderate Republicans after taking office and Davis’ endorsement by some state Republicans are likely to be contributing factors to the incumbent’s poll disadvantage.

West and Pacific

Montana’s recently appointed Democratic Senator, John Walsh, was in the news this week, after it came to light that he plagiarized his master’s thesis, writes The Lonely Conservative. By Thursday, The Flint Report writes that a New York Times report into Walsh’s plagiarism may well be the final ‘nail in the coffin’, and that Montana’s Democrats will need to think about naming a replacement for him ahead of the Senate mid-term elections this fall.

Heading south to Colorado, Hit & Run says that the state has allocated $3 million over two years towards new background checks for gun owners brought in by tighter state gun laws. They say that despite this expense, only 13,600 background reviews have been carried out, or about 7 percent of the estimated first year total. Staying in Colorado, Red State writes on Sunday that a rift between Democratic Congressman Jared Polis and Senator Mark Udall and Governor John Hickenlooper over fracking in the state risks may help the GOP gain Udall’s Senate seat in a state where the majority of the public supports the practice.

Outside the Beltway writes this week that Oregon will vote on the legalization of marijuana on the November mid-term ballot. They say that more than 88,000 people signed a petition supporting the initiative, meaning that it will be the second time in two years that Oregonians have had the chance to vote on legalization.

In California this week, Flashreport writes on the GOP gubernatorial candidate, Neel Kashkari. They say that he is a candidate without a party, as he is not being backed in any way by state Republicans in his bid to win the fall election against popular incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. Staying in the Golden State, Hit & Run reports that Los Angeles has shut down the city’s first ever marijuana farmers’ market, claiming that it does not comply with the city’s medical marijuana laws.

Featured image credit: kiddharma, Flickr, CC-BY-NC

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USApp– American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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