WASHINGTON (CNN) – Relations between Republican governors and congressional GOP leaders is the best it has been in at least a decade, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.
Barbour, vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, singled out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole for reaching out to governors during the 1990s, but noted that the state and national GOP leaders "sort of drifted away" from each other over the past 10 years. The Mississippi governor delivered the Republican weekly address in March.
Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, also said the RGA and the RNC are "like-minded" in that both campaign organizations are focused on the 2010 midterm elections.
"I do think the RNC agrees with us at RGA that we don't need to talk about anything past 2010," Barbour said.
Next year, one-third of the Senate and the entire House will be up for election, and 36 gubernatorial races will take place. This year, two gubernatorial races are scheduled in New Jersey and Virginia.
And when asked if recent news stories about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, had been a distraction, Barbour said he didn't think so.