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Race by Race Gubernatorial Analysis – Part 2 of 3

July 21, 2010
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Welcome back everyone to part 2 of this Wild Citizen’s analysis of the 2010 gubernatorial races.  The Governorships are so important especially after the census because of redistricting.  As usual, no toss-ups (and I’ve resolved our Georgia crisis).

And now, the next 12 …

Kansas – Mark Parkinson – D (open) Definite Republican takeover

Conservative Senator Sam Brownback is returning from Washington to run for governor.  The current governor decided not to seek re-election, but even if he had, I think Brownback would have been a solid favorite.  Instead, Tom Holland will represent the Democrats on the ticket and therefore, will be the sacrificial lamb.  Nothing to watch here.  Definite GOP takeover.

Maine – John Balducci – D (open)                                            Lean Democrat hold

Governor Balducci is term limited and so there is an open seat challenge pitting Conservative Paul LePage is the Republican nominee.  He was homeless at eleven, and a native French speaker at that, LePage has an interesting life story as a self made man.  The Democrat in this race is Libby Mitchell and there is an Independent as well, Eliot Cutler who is a former Carter Administration official.  I haven’t seen much polling in this race, but what I have seen surprises me because it’s a significant LePage lead.  However, LePage is under 40%, and Cutler takes 15%.  I think the Democrats will come home in this race and keep this in the Democrat column.

Massachusetts – Deval Patrick – D                                       Lean Democrat hold

Governor Patrick has had severe bouts of unpopularity, but seems to have recovered in recent surveys.  He faces Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat turned Independent, Tim Cahill in the general.  While Patrick is still a little upside down in the approval/disapproval ranks, the 3rd party candidacy of Cahill breaks up the anti-Patrick votes.  Add that to the fact that this is Massachusetts, and electing another Republican statewide is probably too much to ask, so, the Dems hold this.

Maryland – Martin O’Malley – D                                           Lean Republican takeover

Governor O’Malley is opposed in this race by the man he replaced, former Governor Bob Ehrlich.  Ehrlich was well liked as governor, but was defeated in a heavily Democratic year in a heavily Democratic state.  But even then, he didn’t lose by much.  Now in 2010 with high unemployment, Ehrlich has a chance to repay O’Malley for knocking him off, and the party in power usually takes the blame, so, GOP takeover.

Michigan – Jennifer Granholm – D (open)                            Likely Republican takeover

Granholm was once considered the darling of the Democratic Party, so much so that people wanted to change the Constitution to allow her to run for President (She was born in Canada).  Now, she has earned the nickname (by some) of “Jenny no jobs”.  Granholm can’t run again, but one of the worst state economies and unemployment rates in the US will not make it easy for the Democrat nominee, either Andy Dillon or Virg Bernero.  Both Democrats consistently poll far behind any of the three likely GOP hopefuls, Mike Cox, Peter Hoekstra, or Rick Snyder.  This looks like a GOP pickup.

Minnesota – Tim Pawlenty – R (open)                                  Lean Democratic takeover

In Minnesota, there is yet another three-way race for governor.  As of now, the polling is pretty tight, but in a state where people say they like Governor Pawlenty, yet still say they’d vote for Obama by a large margin if Pawlenty ran against him, it’s difficult to see how either Democrat, former Senator Mark Dayton or Margaret Kelliher, could lose to Republican Tom Emmer or Independent, Tom Horner.  Complicating things for the GOP, Horner is one of those “Moderate” Republicans who leave the party because they see a political opening – sorry, ah, because the party is too extreme – and in a Democratic state that hasn’t elected a Democrat governor since 1986, the Democratic nominee should squeak this one out.  However, if Horner drops in the polls as Independents usually do, will those people go back to the Republicans or take the moderate “GOP is mean” track and vote for the Democrats.  Should be interesting to watch, but this one leans Democrat to me.

Nebraska – Dave Heineman – R                                             Definite Republican hold

Good news for the Democrats – they finally found someone to actually run against Governor Dave Heineman.  The bad news is that their nominee, attorney Mike Meister, is going top lose badly.  Definite Republican hold.

Nevada – Jim Gibbons – R (open)                                           Likely Republican hold

Scandal tainted Governor Gibbons lost his re-election primary against Federal Judge, Brian Sandoval.  Sandoval will face Democrat, Rory, in the fall.  Rory is the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and with Senator Reid’s early unpopularity, Rory dropped his last name in his political ads.  Reid or no Reid, however, it seems that Rory has been well behind in the polling this year even as his Dad surges.   Likely GOP hold.

New Hampshire – John Lynch – D                                        Definite Democrat hold

John Lynch is looking to win his 4th 2-year term as governor, and it looks as if he will be successful.  There are three GOP challengers, John Stephen, Jack Kimball, and Karen Testerman.  While there hasn’t been any recent polling, Stephen looks to be the frontrunner and does best against Lynch in the hypothetical match-up, but Stephen has not broken 37% against the incumbent.  The Democrats will hold this seat.

New Mexico – Bill Richardson – D (open)                              Lean Republican takeover

Governor Richardson is term-limited and so the nomination to replace him has fallen to his Lt Governor, Diane Denish.  However, in this leans Democrat state, Republican Susana Martinez won the GOP nod to challenge and the polling has shown her with a small lead.  Either way, New Mexico gats their first female governor this year, and it should be the Republican in a takeover.

New York – David Paterson – D (open)                                  Definite Democrat hold

If David Paterson had run for re-election, this race would likely go Republican.  Instead, Paterson opted not to and the Democratic establishment is quite happy.  The Democrats will have Andrew Cuomo to represent them for a seat that his father once had.  In opposition is Rick Lazio, 2000 Senate candidate against Hillary Clinton.  Lazio is infamous for his walking across the stage in a “threatening manner” to hand Ms. Clinton a pledge to sign.  That little walk effectively killed Lazio’s political career.  I don’t see any chance of resurrection here.  Definite Democratic hold.

Ohio – Ted Strickland – D                                                         Lean Republican takeover

Governor Strickland is running for re-election and is in a tight battle with former Republican rep John Kasich.  Ohio generally leans GOP, but in 2006 and 2008, it followed the rest of the country in supporting liberals, although, in fairness, Strickland has a good 2nd Amendment record.  Kasich made some waves this year criticizing Gov. Strickland’s humble beginnings, but since Kasich’s dad was a mailman, it seems to have washed out.  With its high unemployment, Ohio should go back to its GOP roots this year.  Lean GOP.

The second 12 gubernatorial races start the cycle with an 9 to 3 edge for the Democrats.  After the election, this Wild Citizen sees that changing to a 7 to 5 advantage for the GOP, or a swing of 4 governor’s mansions.  Overall, a +4 for the GOP.  If you consider the three 3-way races which are all close to being toss-ups, it is possible that that the Republicans could make this group 10 to 2.  Of course, Ohio, New Mexico, and Maryland could also all fall into the Democrats hands as well, but in a wave election as this is shaping up to be, I doubt that the Democrats catch all the breaks.  It is much more likely that the GOP catches all the breaks.  Either way, I think that is unlikely, but it bears watching.

Oh yeah, there is that pesky little issue of Georgia I left hanging.  Qualifying for the GOP run-off election were Karen Handel and Nathan Deal.  Both are well know and will garner support from the losing candidates.  Deal has more votes to make up.  The question is who has more pull in Georgia, Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich – or Roy Barnes for the general.  I’m betting on Palin and a four year term for Karen Handel, but Barnes should be tough to beat.  We’ll call this leans GOP.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lansing4Real permalink
    July 21, 2010 9:03 pm

    You’re wrong about the polling in Michigan. Several have shown Dillon and Bernero within a few points of some of the Repubs, including Cox, who is widely considered the frontrunner.

  2. wildjim permalink*
    July 21, 2010 10:28 pm

    True, there is some evidence that the Michigan race is closing between the D’s and R’s, and I haven’t seen recent general election polling, so we’re kind of going on older info. At the same time, I’ve not seen one poll which showed either Democrat with a lead. A lot can change, though, especially once the primaries sort themselves out.
    I have to admit, I think Hoekstra is going to take the GOP nod. Joining the new Congressional Tea Party Caucus will probably help him in the primary – didn’t he get the Teamsters endorsement as well. I also think Dillon will win the Dem primary, but both are still pretty fluid.

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