Rainy days ahead: States boost reserves, anticipating slowdown
An expanding economy led to expanded budgets. Now, with slowdown looming, rainy-day funds get more attention

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signs the state's fiscal 2020 budget in his ceremonial office in the State House. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As the longest economic expansion in American history continued last year, state governments increased salaries for teachers and other public employees, authorized new construction projects and — recognizing good times won’t last forever — added to reserve funds.

Cash reserves could become more important this year, as experts project the economy to slow down in 2020. Though a full-scale recession seems less likely than it did at points last year, a slower rate of growth still appears likely. Fitch Ratings, a credit ratings agency, projects a 1.7 percent expansion in 2020, which would be the lowest level since 2011.

Pence Withdraws From Governor's Ballot, Beating Noon Deadline
Reps. Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita both launch bids to replace Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, left, appearing here with Donald Trump on Tuesday, withdrew from his gubernatorial re-election race Friday. (Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes were on the Indiana Secretary of State’s office Friday morning waiting to see if Gov. Mike Pence, who was announced as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate, would withdraw from his re-election bid by the noon deadline.

On Friday, he did just that, filing with the secretary of state to withdraw his candidacy. 

From Top Lieutenant to Lt. Governor
Minnesota’s Tina Smith may go for the top job next

If Tina Smith decides to run for Minnesota governor, "she would be considered a front-runner right off the bat,” a party leader said. (Aaron Lavinsky/AP/Star Tribune)

Tina Smith had never held an elected office when Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton asked her to be his running mate in 2014 – and that may have been to her advantage.

That’s because before she was Dayton’s lieutenant governor, she was his chief of staff, a role in which she had the kind of relationship with the governor that assured she’d be more than a sidekick.

Gubernatorial Races to Watch in 2016

Democrats in North Carolina are hoping McCrory has overplayed his hand. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Despite Democrats' surprising victory last week in Louisiana — where state Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican Sen. David Vitter in the runoff –  they hold only 18 gubernatorial seats, compared to the 31 held by Republican governors.  

Next year, Democrats will defend eight seats, including ones in targeted U.S. Senate battle grounds such as Missouri and New Hampshire, while Republicans will defend four.  Missouri: With incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon on his way out,  Republicans believe one of their top pickup opportunities is in Missouri, where the chief executive's office has been held by Democrats for all but four of the past 22 years.  

Vitter Won't Seek Re-Election After Louisiana Governor's Loss

Vitter thanks supporters during his election night watch party in Kenner, La., on Saturday. (Max Becherer/AP Photo)

Republican Sen. David Vitter said he will not seek re-election next year after his stunning loss to Democrat John Bel Edwards in the Louisiana governor's race.

"I came up short tonight," he told supporters at his election night watch party in Kenner, La.

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.  

Vitter Inches Into Runoff in Louisiana Governor's Race

Vitter, R-La., will face Edwards, a Democratic state representative, in a Nov. 21 runoff to become Louisiana's next governor. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:58 a.m., Oct. 26 |Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter will face John Bel Edwards, a Democratic state legislator, in a runoff to become Louisiana’s next governor.  

Edwards finished first with 40 percent of the vote to Vitter's 23 percent. Most of the rest of the vote went to the other two Republicans in the race: Scott Angelle, a member of the state’s utility regulating commission got 19 percent of the vote, and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne finished with 15 percent. The two will face off in a Nov. 21 runoff to succeed Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is term-limited.  

Kentucky Governor Race Tilts Toward Democrats

Bevin, shown here during his 2014 Senate campaign, has underwhelmed some Republican strategists in his run for governor. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With just weeks to go before the Nov. 3 election, Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway has a narrow advantage over Republican Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor race.  

The race certainly isn’t over, and public polling has the two candidates virtually running even. But Bevin’s personal ratings have declined in the face of Democratic attacks, while Conway’s image has consistently been in better shape.  

Hassan’s Decision Changes Outlook in 2 New Hampshire Races

Hassan's entry had been expected for months. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After months of speculation, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan announced her bid Monday to challenge GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, setting up what should be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.  

Hassan’s decision is yet another victory for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which continues to succeed in fights with the other Democratic campaign committees for top recruits. But it won’t be an easy race.  

Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie Announces Virginia Governor Run

Gillespie is a longtime political operative. Above, he speaks to the crowd during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event event in Boston. (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie confirmed to The Washington Post Friday that he intends to run for governor in Virginia.  

There was wide speculation earlier this week that Gillespie, who narrowly lost a challenge to Sen. Mark Warner last fall, would mount a bid after his friend, state Sen. Mark Obenshain, passed on the race Monday.