Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

Friday, October 29, AD 2010

With all the talk about the upcoming Congressional midterms, local races are getting overlooked.  This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, despite a century plus of actions and efforts to the contrary, federalism is still alive, and state governments still matter.  Second, these races have an impact upon national elections because states will be redrawing their districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

It would be a massive undertaking beyond my abilities and time to look at each state’s legislative elections, though most projections I have heard have the Republicans gaining a massive amount of seats in state legislatures.  Republicans are projected to switch majority control in about five or six states at a minimum.  Here I will be taking a look at each of the gubernatorial elections.

On a side note, it may seem odd to label these elections as pickups and holds.  After all, it’s not as though governors gather en masse and vote, so having a “majority” of governorships seems not to be that big of a deal.  But for the aforementioned reasons, it is important to win as many of these races as possible.  Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican.  Republicans will certainly have a majority after Tuesday.  As is the case with the House, the only question is how big of a majority.

And now, to the races we go:

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14 Responses to Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

  • “While the south started voting for Republicans on the presidential level around the time of Barry Goldwater …”

    It was Eisenhower that first got the South voting for Republicans for President. In 1952, Ike won Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida (and, if you count “border states”, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Maryland); in 1956, he won those same states, except for Missouri, and added West Virginia and Kentucky.

    Goldwater was able to crack the deep South, but not for reasons I’d be particularly proud of.

  • The importance of the governerships is that this is the year for reapportionment, and the governor may have a role, depending on the state’s law.

  • I’ll give Maryland one thing. It’s been easier to register my historic sports car with heavily modified and highly illegal V8 engine in Maryland than in DC, my other address of record. DC is more blue than Maryland.

  • Paul, this is the best analysis of the gubernatorial races I’ve read. My only disagreements are in Colorado where I think crazed Tom Tancredo will win, and Minnesota where I think crazy, and certifiable, Mark Dayton will win. Our bottom line totals are precisely the same.

  • Thank you, Donald. I thought it would be helpful to have them all in one place.

    And now tomorrow, all 435 House races.

    Errrr, maybe not.

  • Great observations about New England. All of the states but Maine have elected Republican governors in recent years. I can’t wait for this red state / blue state myth to disappear.

  • Seems to me, Paul, that, quite the contrary, federalism is on the decline as the rights of states have been eroded by a tide of tyranny from the halls of Congress and the White house. Arizona is the latest in a long line of victims.

  • You won’t get much disagreement from me, Joe. SCOTUS has turned the 10th Amendment into a mere “truism,” and the trend has certainly been towards more power in the hands of the federal government. But federalism isn’t completely dead yet, and state government still retain a great deal of autonomy. Hopefully we can reverse the trend in the coming years.

  • There were a couple of polls that had Palladino within striking distance, but then he opened his mouth.

    That is ‘Paladino’. Much of the embarassment surrounding his campaign can be attributed to the behavior of the Republican establishment, who have abandoned him. The New York Republican Party is a cliquish institution, and those chaps react very badly to characters they view as unclubbable. That would enclude Messrs. Paladino and Hoffman, whose potential as candidates was stunted by the behavior of other elected officials and party hacks.

    What is interesting is that some engaging candidates are running for Congressional seats this year, but they did not seem to be able to recruit anyone of note for the state-wide contests. The state party chairman attempted to recruit a Democratic politico from Long Island to run for Governor (for whatever reason). The clubmen on the state committee were not buying and nominated the amiable Mr. Lazio. Mr. Paladino petitioned for a primary and dispatched the clubmen’s choice so thoroughly that it revealed a chasm between them and their voting public (about which I would wager they give not a damn).

    Some time decades hence there may be in New York an authentic political party organized in opposition to the rule of public employee unions and fixers. Right now what there is is a rancid fund raising and patronage mill thoroughly dominated by mediocrities.

  • Yes, here in Illinois, our governors make the license plates, literally.

    In my area of downstate Illinois, it seems like what’s been going on at the national level has filtered down to every other level. At every level, we’ve had Democrats in charge for a while, and they’ve gotten arrogant, wasteful, and sloppy about covering their tracks. Whether it’s Congressman Phil “I don’t worry about the Constitution” Hare putting his foot in his mouth again, or our mayor and top city officials taking an afternoon off for a celebratory golf outing after maintaining their majority in the last election, or our sheriff driving his work vehicle all over the place on personal time; the story is pretty much the same: people who think we can’t live without them, so they can do whatever they want.

  • “the near certainty of a jail sentence upon the completion of one’s term (as Illinois governor)”

    That is particularly true if said governor is a Democrat.

    The last elected Democratic governor to avoid criminal conviction or imprisonment was Adlai Stevenson — yes, THE Adlai Stevenson who ran against Ike twice. EVERY other Democrat elected in the last 60 years — Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and Rod Blagojevich — ended up being convicted of some crime, although in Walker’s case, the offense for which he went to prison (some kind of S & L loan fraud) occurred long after he had left office and become a private citizen.

    Republican governors have a much better (though not perfect) track record of staying out of jail. In the last 60 years, one (George Ryan) ended up in jail; one (William Stratton) was acquitted of tax evasion charges; and three (Richard Ogilvie, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar) have clean records. I’d say that bodes better for Brady.

    I think Brady will win in Illinois, though it won’t be a blowout. Democrats can, of course, take Chicago and Cook County for granted, but the suburbs or “collar counties” outside Chicago are still on the fence.

    The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.

  • “The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.”

    Music to my Downstate heart Elaine!

  • Don, it should be noted here that if Quinn loses on Tuesday, the 60-plus-year streak of ELECTED Democratic Illinois governors ending up as felons will remain unbroken for at least four more years, since Quinn was not originally elected governor but succeeded Blago after the latter’s impeachment.

    The only other exception to this Democratic-governors-becoming-felons rule was Sam Shapiro — the Democratic lieutenant governor who succeeded Otto Kerner when the latter was appointed a federal judge. Shapiro served only 8 months in 1968-69 and ran for election in his own right but lost. Unfortunate, since he was by all accounts a smart and honest guy.

  • California please vote for Meg Whitman! If Brown wins, this state will become a gay marriage state, there will be extensive embryonic stem cell research, and cap and trade will be implemented, causing more business to leave the state. Schwarzenegger’s troubles in leadership are hurting Meg. If a republican state house is voted in you will see major changes in the state with Meg. Don’t be turned off by her ability to pay her own way. She is a successful, courageous woman ready to serve the people of the state, not labor unions, not extreme environmentalist, not the liberal agenda hurting our schools.