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Saturday, January 22, 2022
HomePollsLooking at the Status of the 2014 Midterm Governor Races

Looking at the Status of the 2014 Midterm Governor Races

The 2010 midterm governor races couldn’t look more different from how the 2014 midterm governor races are shaping out to look. Instead of 24 governorships without an incumbent running, we’re more likely to see a mere half-dozen or so. This means approximately 30 of the 36 incumbents will be on the November ballot — the largest number in over a half-century.

In the 2010 midterm election, only 13 of the 37 incumbent state governors were running for reelection. That vast amount of open statehouses – 24 – produced tons of turnover. Republicans added a net six governorships, including the plums of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.* The GOP’s new total of 29 governorships was the most the party had held in a decade (Republicans hold 30 of 50 now).

Since 1960, approximately a whole 4 of every 5 incumbent governors who made a general election ballot have in fact been reelected. If this historical average holds true in the 2014 midterm, then this would naturally limit the amount of turnovers, which is good news for the GOP.

However, as it stands now, Democrats appear to have a more favorable political chance to defeat Republican incumbents. Govs. Rick Scott (FL), Rick Snyder (MI) and Paul LePage (ME) all are in what appear to be “toss-up” races, although they cannot in any way yet be classified as underdogs, unlike Gov. Tom Corbett (PA). It is possible that the governors who are in trouble and in states that have falling unemployment can capitalize on the economic improvements. Why take a chance with another guy or gal?

Still, even in an internal GOP poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, headed by former Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, shows Corbett to be struggling against unknown Democratic opponents and the problem is in large part his own base. The crew over at the University of Virginia Center for Politics has classified Corbett under a rare case of an incumbent underdog, and I would not disagree. His approval rating cannot seem to get above 35%, and a recent Quinnipiac poll was very bad news indeed for the Governor’s reelection prospects.

The Republicans’ best shot to defeat an incumbent governor might be in Connecticut, where Gov. Dan Malloy (D) according to another recent Quinnipiac poll is trailing Foley. The other two Democratic incumbents who are currently in political trouble — Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) and Pat Quinn (D-IL) — are much more likely to lose in their primaries before making it to the general election.

Chart 1 shows Crystal Ball’s rating changes for the current state of the upcoming gubernatorial race, and Map 1 above shows every state’s rating. Their full gubernatorial race chart with all the declared and potential candidates, follows at the end of the article.

Below is the rating chart for each state. For a detailed analysis of each state, click contact and fill out the form. Select other in the inquiries request, add the state you wish to receive information on the political landscape for, and I will email it back to you.

Chart 2: Crystal Ball 2014 gubernatorial ratings

State Incumbent Possible Primary Challengers Major Party Opposition Third party Party Rating
AK Sean Parnell
– 2010 candidate Bill Walker – 2010 nominee Ethan Berkowitz?
– State Sen. Bill Wielechowski?
Safe R
AL Robert Bentley
– Former Morgan Co. Commis. Stacy Lee George
– State school board member Mary Scott Hunter?
Safe R
AR Mike Beebe
– Ex-Rep. Mike Ross
– Ex-LG Bill Halter
– Ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson
-Businessman Curtis Coleman
– State Rep. Debra Hobbs
Leans R
AZ Jan Brewer
– Sec. of State Ken Bennett?
– Ex-Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman
– Treasurer Doug Ducey?
– State Sen. Al Melvin
– Mesa Mayor Scott Smith?
– 2010 AG candidate Andrew Thomas
– Ex-State Board of Regents Pres. Fred DuVal
– State House Min. Leader Chad Campbell?
Leans R
CA Jerry Brown
– Ex-LG Abel Maldonado
– Asm. Tim Donnelly
– Former Treasury Dept. official Neel Kashkari?
Safe D
CO John Hickenlooper
– Secretary of State Scott Gessler?
– Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo
– State Sen. Greg Brophy?
– Ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez?
– Ex-Rep. Bob Schaffer?
Leans D
CT Dan Malloy
– 2010 nominee Tom Foley
– State House Min. Leader Lawrence Cafero?
– State Sen. Min. Leader John McKinney?
– Danberry Mayor Mark Boughton?
– Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti?
FL Rick Scott
– State Agriculture Sec. Adam Putnam? – Ex-Gov. Charlie Crist?
– 2010 nominee Alex Sink?
– Ex-state Sen. Min. Leader Nan Rich
GA Nathan Deal
– Dalton Mayor David Pennington? – State Sen. Jason Carter?
– State Rep. Scott Holcomb?
– State Rep. Stacy Abrams?
Safe R
HI Neil Abercrombie
– Ex-Rep. Charles Djou?
– 2010 nominee Duke Aiona?
Likely D
IA Terry Branstad
– Ex-Gov. Chet Culver?
– State Sen. Majority Leader Mike Gronstal?
– State Sen. Pres. Pam Jochum?
– State Sen. Jack Hatch?
– State Sen. Rob Hogg?
– State Rep. Tyler Olson?
– Ex-state Rep. Bob Krause
Likely R
ID Butch Otter
– Rep. Raúl Labrador?
– LG Brad Little?
Safe R
IL Pat Quinn
– AG Lisa Madigan?
– Ex-White House CoS William Daley
– Treasurer Dan Rutherford
– 2010 nominee Bill Brady
– 2010 candidate Kirk Dillard
– Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner
Leans D
KS Sam Brownback
Safe R
MA Deval Patrick
– Treasurer Steve Grossman?
– Rep. Michael Capuano?
– Ex-federal health care official Donald Berwick
– State Senate President Therese Murray?
– Biotech exec. Joe Avellone
– Ex-Sen. Scott Brown?
– 2010 nominee Charlie Baker?
MD Martin O’Malley
– LG Anthony Brown
– AG Doug Gansler?
– Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger?
– State Del. Heather Mizeur?
– Harford Co. Executive David Craig
– Delegate Ron George
– Former RNC chairman Michael Steele?
– Ex-Ehrlich Cabinet secretary Larry Hogan?
– Frederick Co. Board of Commissioners Pres. Blaine Young?
– 2010 House candidate Charles Lollar
Leans D
ME Paul LePage
– Rep. Mike Michaud?
– Ex-Gov. John Baldacci?
– Outgoing SBA Admin. Karen Mills?
– Ex-state House Speaker Hannah Pingree?
– State House Speaker Mark Eves?
– Yarmouth Town Councilor Steve Woods
– 2010 independent candidate Eliot Cutler Toss-up
MI Rick Snyder
– Ex-Rep. Mark Schauer Toss-up
MN Mark Dayton
– Hennepin Co. Commissioner Jeff Johnson
– 2010 candidate Marty Seifert?
– State Rep. Kurt Zellers
– State Sen. Min. Leader David Hann?
– State Sen. Dave Thompson?
– Businessman Scott Honour
Likely D
NE Dave Heineman
– State Sen. Charlie Janssen
– State Sen. Beau McCoy?
– Auditor Mike Foley?
– Treasurer Don Stenberg?
– State Sen. Tom Carlson?
– Cattle rancher Charles Herbster?
– Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook
– State Sen. Steve Lathrop?
– Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler?
Likely R
NH Maggie Hassan
– 2012 candidate Kevin Smith?
– Executive Councilor Chris Sununu?
– Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas?
– State Sen. Andy Sanborn?
– State Rep. George Lambert?
Likely D
NJ (2013) Chris Christie
– State Sen. Barbara Buono Safe R
NM Susana Martinez
– AG Gary King
– State Senator Linda Lopez
– State Sen. Joe Cervantes?
– State Sen. Howie Morales?
– State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez?
– 2010 LG nominee Brian Colon?
Likely R
NV Brian Sandoval
– Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak? Likely R
NY Andrew Cuomo
– Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin? Safe D
OH John Kasich
– Cuyahoga Co. Executive Ed FitzGerald Leans R
OK Mary Fallin
Safe R
OR John Kitzhaber
– Businessman Jon Justesen Safe D
PA Tom Corbett
– Rep. Allyson Schwartz
– Treasurer Rob McCord
– Ex-head of PA Dept. of Env. Protection John Hanger
– Ex-head of PA Dept. of Env. Protection Kathleen McGinty
– Ex-Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf
– Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz
– Pastor Max Myers
Leans D
RI Lincoln Chafee
– Treasurer Gina Raimondo?
– Providence Mayor Angel Taveras?
– Cranston Mayor Allan Fung?
– Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian?
– 2012 Moderate Party nominee Ken Block Likely D
SC Nikki Haley
– 2010 nominee Vincent Sheheen Leans R
SD Dennis Daugaard
Safe R
TN Bill Haslam
– State House Min. Leader Craig Fitzhugh? Safe R
TX Rick Perry
– AG Greg Abbott?
– Former state party chair Tom Pauken
General:Safe R
VA (2013) Bob McDonnell
– AG Ken Cuccinelli – 2009 candidate Terry McAuliffe Toss-up
VT Peter Shumlin
Safe D
WI Scott Walker
– Assembly Min. Leader Peter Barca?
– Businessman Kevin Conroy?
– 2012 Recall LG nominee Mahlon Mitchell?
Likely R
WY Matt Mead
– Sup’dent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill
– Retired surgeon Taylor Haynes?
Safe R

 Download a sample of “Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract” 

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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