Race by Race Gubernatorial Analysis – Part 3 of 3
Yes, here it is, Part 3 for the Governors – The Bloodbath Continues. In order to forecast these races, we look at the polling, the lean of the state, and the general mood of the electorate. Included is the favorability of a candidate to those who have the responsibility of voting for or against them. Will we be perfect, hard to say, but we are aiming for perfection. This is definitely not a great year for Democrats.
Oklahoma – Brad Henry – D (open) Definite Republican hold
It takes a certain type of Democrat to win in such a staunchly Republican state as Oklahoma. Drew Edmonson and Jeri Askins are hoping to be that certain type of Democrat, while Mary Fallon is the best known candidate for the GOP and is competing against Randy Brogdan, Roger Jackson, and Robert Hubbard. If Fallon wins her primary, this race is likely over and Fallon win become the next governor. If she doesn’t, then AG Edmonson has great name recognition and just might be that type of Democrat. Even so it’s Oklahoma. Definite GOP.
Oregon – Ted Kulongoski – D (open) Lean Republican takeover
Governor Kulongoski is term limited, which is probably good for the Oregon Democratic Party as he has been a rather unpopular governor. Vying for another Democratic term is former governor, John Kitzhaber. On the Republican side, it’s former NBAer, Chris Dudley. The polling in this race has been extremely close, and Oregon tends to be the most competitive of the Left-Coast states. The former Portland Trail Blazer Dudley has been ahead or tied in every recent poll since February, and Kitzhaber as a former two-term governor, is unlikely to grow in either name recognition or popularity. Given the political environment, Oregon is probably going to have its first GOP governor since 1987. Lean GOP.
Pennsylvania – Ed Rendell – D (open) Likely Republican takeover
Term limited Governor Rendell has been falling in popularity over the last two years, which, like Oregon, makes it a good thing for the Democrats that he can’t run again. In his place is the governor’s preferred candidate, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. For the Republicans, Attorney General Tom Corbett is the nominee. Since the current term limit laws have been in effect, Pennsylvania has always re-elected its governor and then changed party after that 2nd term has ended. There is no reason to expect anything different this year as Corbett has held a solid lead in most polling. Likely GOP.
Rhode Island – Don Carcieri – R (open) Lean Independent takeover
Another open seat this cycle has another three-way race in store. But unlike the others, the Independent in this case won’t be the spoiler, but the probable victor. Former RINO Senator Lincoln Chafee is that nominee. He will face Democrat Frank Caprio and one of two Republicans, John Robitaille or Victor Moffitt. Chafee is one of those politicians who runs because it is his birthright and unfortunately, Rhode Island still seems to love the Chafee name (Wild Citizen note: One of the things that we at Wild Citizen stand against is the fiefdom that certain political families call their own. We find political ownership of the citizenry by families ‘inheriting’ positions, to be a huge problem in this country. Think Kennedy, Chafee, the Bennett’s from Utah, The Udall’s, etc.). Chafee gives cover to those Democrats who don’t want to vote for a Democrat this year, but also don’t want to vote for a Republican. This should be a close race between Caprio and Chafee, but at this point there is no evidence that the GOP will be competitive. Chafee Party takeover.
South Carolina – Mark Sanford – R (open) Definite Republican hold
Once upon a time, Governor Sanford was the prototype Tea Party candidate and a potential front runner for the GOP nod for President in 2012, a consistent thorn in the side of establishment Republicans. But then came his Argentine soul mate and his strange disappearance from South Carolina to “walk the Appalachian Trail” with no way to contact him, and then the revelation that he was actually in Argentina. South Carolina is so much fun (See Part 3 of the Senate analysis, specifically, Alvin Greene). In this messy atmosphere, the Democrats nominated a very credible candidate in Vincent Sheheen, and the GOP countered with Nikki Haley, who had been dogged during the primary with unsubstantiated infidelity rumors of her own. South Carolinians chose to disregard those rumors as vicious innuendo and news of them has mostly gone away. As good a candidate as Sheheen might be, this is South Carolina and Haley is a great candidate in her own right. Definite GOP hold.
South Dakota – Mike Rounds – R (open) Definite Republican hold
Controversial, but popular Governor Rounds is term limited, but in South Dakota, the GOP and its standard bearer, Dennis Daugaard need not fear this open seat. Democrat Scott Heidepriem is the Democrat sacrifice this year. Definite GOP hold.
Tennessee – Phil Bredesen – D (open) Definite Republican takeover
Governor Bredesen has been a pretty conservative Democrat, but this seat in 2010 is very likely to turn to the GOP. Wanting that honor are three GOP hopefuls, Zach Wamp, Bill Haslam, and Ron Ramsey and polling shows Knoxville Mayor, Bill Haslam, with the Primary lead. Also according to the polls, Haslam is the strongest of the candidates against Democrat Mike McWherter, hitting the 60% mark in the latest poll. Given the trends of this race and Tennessee in general, Wild Citizens should be stunned if the GOP doesn’t take this open seat. Definite GOP takeover.
Texas – Rick Perry – R Likely Republican hold
The incumbent Perry has held this seat since taking over for George Bush in 2000. Perry has since gone on to win two more terms of his own and is looking for yet another term. His opponent is Houston Mayor, Bill White. White has thus far run a very good campaign and Gov. Perry had a bruising primary with sitting Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perry has led in nearly every poll – of course, nearly every poll has been conducted by the same polling firm – and has never been behind. The only thing that keeps me from rating this as definite GOP hold is the potential for “Perry fatigue” in the state. However, that is unlikely to push Bill White across the finish line first. Likely GOP.
Utah – Gary Herbert – R Definite Republican hold
Governor Herbert is very popular, this is 2010, and most important, this is Utah, so Democrat Peter Corroon stands virtually no chance of being elected governor. Definite GOP hold.
Vermont – Jim Douglas – R Leans Republican hold
Surprisingly in this, the land of Ben and Jerry, that has elected the country’s only self-proclaimed Socialist to the US Senate, the Republican’s have a hold on the Governor’s mansion. While an opening has been created by the decision of Gov. Douglas not to seek another term, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie is popular in his own right and leads the polling against all five of his Democrat challengers. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz is seen as the strongest challenger among the Democrats. Those other challengers are former Lt. Governor Doug Racine, and State Senators, Matt Dunne, Susan Bartlett, and Peter Shumlin. Vermont is fun, and there are a number of independent candidates representing small parties, some calling for legalization of drugs to some degree or another including, Trav Fryor, Cris Ericson, and Em Payton. Other far left Socialists or Progressives are on the ballot, as well as the standard Vermont secessionist, Dennis Steele. Any relation Steele? The Democrats choose their candidates on August 24th, so we’ll have a better read on this race then. In the meantime, this race leans GOP.
Wisconsin – Jim Doyle – D (open) Lean Republican takeover
Governor Jim Doyle passed on running for a third term. The Democrat to try to hold this seat will be Tom Barrett. His Republican opponent will either be Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker, or former US House Rep. Mark Neumann. Walker is the likely GOP nominee and also has not trailed in polling since January to his Democratic opponent. Given the atmosphere this year in a state as closely balanced as Wisconsin, this race tilts to the GOP.
Wyoming – Dave Freudenthal – D (open) Likely Republican takeover
Freudenthal was a surprise winner eight years ago in the contest for governor, but has decided not to run for re-election. All of the Republican candidates (Colin Simpson, Ron Micheli, Rita Meyer, and Matt Mead) poll far ahead of the two Democrats (Leslie Peterson and Pete Gosar), signifying that this race is almost a certainty for the Republicans.
The third 12 gubernatorial races start the cycle even at six apiece. After the election, this Wild Citizen sees that changing to an 11 to 0 to 1 advantage for the GOP, or a swing of 5 governor’s mansions. Of those swings to the GOP, only 3 of them are close to going to the Democrats at all and they have all had very consistent leads for the Republican in question.
Overall, in the 37 governor races up for grabs, the GOP looks to gain 10 for a 28-8-1 advantage this cycle, and a 34 to 15 to 1 advantage when totaling all 50 states. It would also include 6 of the 7 most populous states.
The importance of this year’s gubernatorial races cannot be understated because of redistricting. Included in those probable Republican takeovers are Ohio and Pennsylvania. Between those two states alone, the GOP would gerrymander at will 37 US House seats; although both states stand to lose 1 House seat each. But if the GOP controls the process, it becomes which Democrat House seat is eliminated. Soon, we will post some basic analysis of redistricting and how many seats each party is likely to control.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve begun to re-think Colorado. Tom Tancredo has been making some noise about an Independent challenge, although I believe that ballot access is closed. Does he make enough noise to splinter the GOP? Do McInnis and Maes both begin to implode? Mayor Hickenlooper gets the pleasure of watching the Colorado GOP eat each other. Does that translate to votes? We shall see and as always, Wild Citizens are watching…