One year out from the 2012 presidential election, Republicans say they plan to capitalize on GOP governors in battleground states to propel their yet-to-be-determined candidate to victory.
"In the three years this president has been in office, we’ve elected nine governors in battleground states that Barack Obama won in 2008," said Rick Wiley, the Republican National Committee’s political director, who pointed to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s 2010 victory and the four additional U.S. House seats won that year in Florida. "The infrastructure from those governors represents 131 electoral votes -- Florida and Virginia being two of those. The infrastructure from those governors helps the party up and down the ticket."
But what if, say, those Republican governors are not that popular? And like Scott, have approval ratings worse than the president's?
Florida voters represent a "financially discerning electorate" who will focus on the economy, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said. "I think Gov. Scott's got a long time to build in Florida, and he already is bouncing back. His numbers have improved over the last several months and I think they’re going to continue to improve. Rick Scott's not on the ballot, Obama is, and I think that’s what matters."
When asked whether his counterpart at the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, should be worried about her own district in Florida, Priebus had this to say: Wasserman Schultz and "any Democratic member of the House or the Senate has got to think twice about standing on stage with an extreme president that hasn't followed through on his promises and...has to face the reality that our economy's in the ditch, and that Americans are sick and tired of the pageantry and the speeches," Priebus said. "She’s one of the few that are willing to stand next to him, and I think there’s a reason why Democrats across the country suddenly have scheduling conflicts and are sick with the flu every time the president seems to come into their district."