Republican Governors Blame Washington in 2014 Message

Republican governors outlining their messaging for elections in 36 U.S. states next year contrasted their records with what they call dysfunction in Washington, even as that applies to their party in Congress.

“The one place where you can go in this country and see conservative principles being applied is across state capitals,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the outgoing chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said during a press conference today at the group’s annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jindal and other Republican governors said they’re seeking practical solutions in their states compared with inaction in Congress or measures they oppose, such as President Barack Obama’s health-care law and its troubled rollout. At the same time, Democrats blame Republicans in Congress for the 16-day partial government shutdown last month, exposing a rift between the anti-tax Tea Party and business wings of the party.

“I’m not interested in Republican fratricide,” Jindal said in response to a reporter’s question about the Republican-controlled House. “Absolutely, as a Republican Party, we need to be advancing solutions.”

Republican John Kasich, in his first term as Ohio’s governor, said House Speaker John Boehner, also an Ohio Republican, is “trying his best” to lead the party. Factions within the party make it difficult, just as Democrats can be fractured, said Kasich, who was a House Budget Committee chairman in the 1990s.

‘Whole Mess’

“The town is not working,” Kasich told reporters at the conference, referring to Washington. “Do Republicans bear some responsibility for it? Of course they do. But it’s the whole mess, it’s the whole thing, it’s the whole soup that’s not working.”

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin tried to make a distinction between “the Republican brand” of governors and “the Washington brand.”

“We think we’re creating the American comeback while Washington is sinking,” Fallin said.

There are 30 Republican governors, with 22 incumbents running among the 36 gubernatorial races next year, according to the RGA.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 51, will take the RGA chairmanship tomorrow during the final day of the association’s conference. Earlier this month, Christie won re-election to a second term, spurring talk that he may pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

--. Editors: Robin Meszoly, Michael Shepard

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Scottsdale at mniquette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net

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