2014 Gubernatorial Elections

There will be 36 gubernatorial races in 2014. The GOP currently controls 30 of the 50 state houses and if the conventional wisdom is correct they are likely to hold on to their majority for the foreseeable future. This page will be updated at least once a month, with updates becoming more frequent as the election approaches.

What the ratings mean:

Safe: The party is all but certain to win this seat.

Likely: The party is the clear favorite to win and it would be an upset if they lost.

Leans: The race will be close, but the party does have an edge.

Toss-Up: Each party has an equal shot at winning.

Totals:

  Safe Republican: 7                   Safe Democrat: 3            Toss Up: 5

Likely Republican: 8                  Likely Democrat: 6

Leans Republican: 4                 Leans Democrat: 3

Total:                         19                                          12                         5              

Alabama (Likely Republican)- Governor Robert Bentley (R) is going for another term and so far he looks likely to get one. His most significant worry, a big name primary challenger from the right, never really emerged and Bentley now faces two no-names in the race for the GOP nomination. His likely opponent in the general election is former Rep. Parker Griffith, the Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat who was unsuccessful in being renominated in after switching to the GOP in 2010. And unless Bentley really screws things up, Griffith will add yet another election to his growing losing streak

Filing Deadline – April 2014                              Primary – 6/3/2014

-Democrats

-Parker Griffith (former US Rep)

-Kevin Bass (businessman)

-Republicans

-Robert Bentley(i)

-Stacy Lee George (former Morgan County Commissioner)

Alaska  (Likely Republican)- Sean Parnell, who became Governor when Sarah Palin resigned in 2009, easily won re-election in 2010 and it looks like he’s likely to do it again. However it’s important to note that he is only mildly popular, with his approval ratings hovering in the high forties. In fact, 49% don’t even want him to run for reelection. The good news for Parnell is that there doesn’t seem to be any strong challengers in the Democratic field, which consists mainly of no-names and has-beens. He isn’t the strongest incumbent in the country, but it’s hard to see him losing in 2014.

Filing Deadline- 6/2/14      Primary- 8/26/14

-Democrats

-Byron Mallott (former mayor of Juneau)

-Republicans

-Sean Parnell(i)

Arizona (Toss-Up) - Incumbent Republican Jan Brewer is term limited and in theory she cannot run for reelection. However, that has not stopped her from publicly speculating that she could in fact run again 2014. Dammit Jan! But excluding Brewer’s delusions of grandeur, there are a bunch of Republicans and Democrats who’d like to replace her. There has been zero polling on this race so far, and until we get some numbers it’s anyone’s game.

Filing Deadline – 5/28/14                              Primary – 8/26/2014

-Democrats

-Fred Duval (former Chairman of AZ Board of Regents)

-Republicans

-Hugh Hallman (former Mayor of Tempe)

-Al Melvin (State Sen)

-Andrew Thomas (former Maricopa County Attorney)

-Christine Jones (former GoDaddy.com executive)

Arkansas (Leans Republican)- Popular Democratic incumbent Mike Beebe is term limited, and the Republicans are hopeful they’ll be able to replace him with one of their own. Former DEA head Asa Hutchinson leads the Republican field and would have an edge going into the general election. However, retired Rep. Mike Ross has effectively cleared the Democratic field and could give Hutchinson a run for his money.

Filing Deadline- March 2014                    Primary- 5/20/14

-Democrats

-Mike Ross (former US Rep)

-Republicans

-Curtis Coleman (businessman)

-Debra Hobbs (State Rep)

-Asa Hutchinson (former Head of DEA, former US Rep)

California (Likely Democrat)- Governor Jerry Brown’s 2010 comeback looks like it’s holding up as the 2014 cycle approaches. Brown hasn’t officially announced his reelection effort, but he sure has been raising the money he would need to fund it. California has a “jungle” primary, where all the candidates of all the parties are on the same ballot. The top two contenders, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election. That means that even though has relatively high approval ratings, he could still lose if a Democrat or Independent wins second place in the primary and is able to unite conservative and independent voters.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                        Primary – 6/3/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Tim Donnelly (State Assemblyman)

-Abel Maldonado (former AG)

Colorado (Leans Democrat)- In 2010 Democrat John Hickenlooper was elected in a three-way race where the Republican candidate garnered barely 11% of the vote. This time the GOP is more united and the 2010 independent candidate, former US Rep. Tom Tancredo, looks like the favorite for the Republican nomination. Polls show the race between Tancredo and Hickenlooper is a dead heat, which is bad news for an incumbent looking for another term. There’s a real chance this seat could flip over to the GOP in 2014.

Filing Deadline – April 2014       Primary – 6/24/14

-Democrats

-John Hickenlooper(i)

-Republicans

-Greg Brophy (State Sen)

-Tom Tancredo (former US Rep, candidate in 2010)

Connecticut (Toss Up)- Democrat Dan Malloy narrowly won in 2010, beating Tom Foley by just 7,000 votes. Foley is once again running for the Republican nomination, and polls have him narrowly ahead of Malloy in a 2014 rematch. Should Foley win the primary, which all indications are that he will, he would have an excellent chance of claiming the governorship for the Republicans.

Filing Deadline – June 2014         Primary – 8/12/14

-Democrats 

-None so far

-Republicans

-Thomas C. Foley (former Ambassador, 2010 nominee)

-John P. McKinney (Min. Leader of CT Senate)

Florida (Leans Democrat)- Republican incumbent Rick Scott is unpopular, and polls show him losing big time to former Governor Charlie Crist. Crist, who was a Republican up until a few years ago, is likely to run and is the favorite for the Democratic nomination. And if Scott doesn’t get his act together, Crist will end up returning to his old job in January 2015.

Filing Deadline – 6/6/14             Primary – 8/12/14

-Democrats

-Nan Rich (former Min. Leader of FL Sen.)

-Republicans

-Rick Scott(i)

-Elizabeth Cuevas Neunder (activist)

Georgia (Likely Republican)- The approval ratings for Republican Nathan Deal have been all over the place, so it’s hard to gauge the mood of the electorate in the Peach State. However, reliable polls show that he has a healthy lead over all potential Democratic challengers. This race has the ability to become competitive, but for now Deal’s reelection prospects look pretty damn good.

Filing Deadline – May 2014                    Primary – 7/15/2014

-Democrats

-Possible

-Stacey Abrams (Min. Leader of GA HoR)

-Jason Carter (State Sen)

-Scott Holcomb (State Rep)

-Kasim Reed (Mayor of Atlanta)

-Republicans

-David Pennington (Mayor of Dalton)

–John Barge (GA School Superintendent)

Hawaii (Likely Democrat)- Neil Abercrombie is a Democratic governor in a heavily Democratic state, which means it’s extremely likely that he will be reelected for another term. However, his approval ratings have been anemic at best and there are a few Republicans with the ability to run a statewide campaign. Still, I’d bet on Abercrombie to pull off a win in 2014.

Filing Deadline – 6/3/14                Primary – 8/9/2014

-Democrats

-Neil Abercrombie(i)

-David Ige (State Sen)

-Republicans

-None so far

Idaho (Safe Republican)- Idaho is a deep red state, so it’s practically assured that whoever takes office in 2015 will be a Republican. Incumbent Butch Otter is running for his third term in office and so far it looks like there’s nobody out there who can stop him.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                   Primary 5/20/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Butch Otter(i)

Illinois (Leans Republican)- Governor Pat Quinn is probably the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the country right now. He’s a got a formidable primary challenge from Bill Daley, the former White House Chief of Staff and brother of long time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Polls have consistently shown Daley with a small lead, which means that Quinn will have to fight hard just to get on the November ballot. But even if he pulls off a primary victory he still has to face a strong Republican field, which includes State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and the 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady. The big picture is that Quinn is in trouble and if things don’t turn around for him soon, he might not be around come 2015.

Filing Deadline – December 2013           Primary – 3/28/14

-Democrats

-William M. Daley (former White House CoS, former US Sec. of Commerce)

-Pat Quinn(i)

-Republicans

-Bill Brady (State Sen., 2010 nominee)

-Kirk W. Dillard (State Sen.)

-Bruce Rauner (Businessman)

-Dan Rutherford (IL Treasurer)

Iowa (Likely Republican)- Over the past three decades Republican Terry Brandstad has become a political institution in Iowa. When he first took office in 1983, Hall and Oates still had the number song in the country. We were still in the middle of the Cold War. And MTV actually played music videos. And while he took a decade long break after 4 terms in office, he made his return in 2010 by unseating Democrat Chet Culver by a comfortable margin. While he hasn’t officially committed to a run for another term, all indications point towards a Brandstad 2014 campaign. Polls show him leading all Democratic challengers, though he’s by no means dominating them. However, it will take some extraordinary circumstances to topple this giant of Iowa politics.

Filing Deadline – 3/14/14                       Primary – 6/3/14

-Democrats

-Tyler Olson (State Rep)

-Jack Hatch (State Sen)

-Republicans

-None so far

Kansas (Safe Republican)- Republican Sam Brownback is quite unpopular in the state, sporting a dismal 37% approval rating. Normally, that would be a troublesome sign for his reelection chances. But this Kansas, where Republicans dominate political scene and polls consistently show him dispatching all Democratic challengers, making him the favorite should he seek reelection. And should he decline to run again, any Republican should pull off an easy win in this red state.

Filing Deadline – June 2014                        Primary – 8/5/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Sam Brownback(i)

Maine (Toss-up)-  Republican Paul LePage’s approval rating is dangerously low, hovering around 40%. And polls show him losing big time in a two-way race with pretty much any Democrat. However there is a credible independent candidate, Elliot Cutler, who has the potential to split the vote and give LePage another term. This is exactly what happened in 2010, where LePage received only 38% of the vote but still won in a three-way race. So will history repeat itself in 2014? Only time will tell.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                            Primary – 6/10/14

-Democrats

-Mike Michaud (US Rep)

-Republicans

-Paul LePage(i)

-Independent

-Elliot Cutler (lawyer)

Maryland (Likely Democrat)- Incumbent and term limited Governor Martin O’Malley (D) has a mediocre approval rating hovering at around 50%. The top Democratic candidate to replace him, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown looks like a strong candidate and in this heavily blue state that should all he needs to pull off a comfortable win. There hasn’t been any polling on this race, but I think once numbers start coming out the rating will change to “Safe Democrat.”

Filing Deadline – 4/9/14                           Primary – 6/24/14

-Democrats

-Anthony G. Brown (LG)

-Doug Gansler (MD AG)

-Heather Mizeur (State Rep)

-Republicans

-David R. Craig (Harford County Executive)

-Ron George (State Rep)

-Brian Vaeth (Businessman)

-Blaine Young (Pres. Federick County Board of Commissioners)

Massachusetts (Toss-Up)- Governor Deval Patrick (D) is not running for reelection, and the field is wide open on both sides. Due to the Democrat’s dominance in the state, they have many top-tier candidates who could win the primary and the November election. The Republican roster is considerably thinner, but polls show that former Senator Scott Brown would be the favorite for the nomination if he ran and that he would have an edge in the general election.

Filing Deadline – June 2014                  Primary – 9/16/14

-Democrats

-Joseph Avellone (businessman)

-Donald Berwick (former head of CMS)

-Steven Grossman (MA Treasurer)

-Martha Coakley (MA AG)

-Juliette Kayyem (columnist, former DHS official)

-Republicans

-Charles D. Baker, Jr. (former MA Cabinet member)

Michigan (Toss-Up)- Governor Rick Snyder set off a firestorm in the Badger State last year with the enactment of Right-to-Work legislation in heavily union state. His approval ratings took a dive and for a while he was one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country. Since then, he has seen his approval ratings rise and many of his possible opponents decline to run. That being said, things are still precarious for Snyder and at least for now this race is still a toss-up.

Filing Deadline – May 2014                     Primary – 8/5/14

-Democrats

-Mark Schauer (former US Rep)

-Republicans

-None so far

Minnesota (Safe Democrat)- Incumbent Mark Dayton enjoys high approval ratings in this heavily Democratic state and many top-tier Republicans have declined to run. All in all, it’s very hard to see this race becoming competitive.

Filing Deadline – 6/3/14                         Primary – 8/12/14

-Democrats

-Mark Dayton(i)

-Republicans

-Scott Honour (businessman)

-Jeff Johnson (Hennepin County Commissioner)

-Dave Thompson (State Sen)

-Kurt Zellers (State Rep)

Nebraska (Likely Republican)- Governor Dave Heineman is term-limited and won’t be running for another term. The race for the Republican nomination is wide open and there’s no one dominating the field. And the same can be said for the Democratic side as well. There’s no polling so far on the race, but given that is is a deep red state I’d say that the GOP has the upper hand here.

Filing Deadline – March 2014       Primary – 5/13/14

-Democrats

-Annette Dubas (State Sen)

-Chuck Hassebrook (Director of Center for Regional Affairs)

-Republicans

-Tom Carlson (State Sen)

-Charlie Janssen (State Sen)

-Mike Foley ( NE Public Auditor)

-Beau McCoy (State Sen)

-Pete Ricketts (former TD Ameritrade COO, 2006 US Senate nominee)

Nevada (Safe Republican)- Brian Sandoval has one of the best approval ratings in the country and he’s running for reelection. Polling shows him well ahead of Democratic challengers and he’s been mentioned as a possible contender for president in 2016. He’s safe until proven otherwise.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                  Primary – 6/10/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Brian Sandoval(i)

New Hampshire (Safe Democrat)- Maggie Hassan won the governorship by a wider than expected margin in 2012 and she looks to be in pretty good shape for reelection. She enjoys a high approval rating and polling shows her easily beating every Republican challenger. This will probably scare away anyone who could make this seat competitive, meaning that for now Hassan looks safe and sound for 2014.

Filing Deadline – June 2014                Primary – 9/9/14

-Democrats

-Maggie Hassan(i)

-Republicans

-None so far

New Mexico (Safe Republican)- Susana Martinez, a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, enjoys the support of two-thirds of the electorate according to a recent poll. Other polls show her consistently beating her potential Democratic rivals by double digits. It’s safe to say that she’s safe for 2014.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                                  Primary – 6/3/14

-Democrats

-Gary King (NM AG)

-Linda Lopez (State Sen)

-Republicans 

-None so far

New York (Safe Democrat)- The New York Republican Party is a joke and Governor and perhaps future presidential candidate Andrew Cuomo is running one of the bluest states in the country. So it’s hard to imagine anyone who could stop him from being reelected in 2014. And while his approval rating has slid in the past few months, as long as he’s above 45% he should be fine in a state like New York.

Filing Deadline – April 2014                           Primary – 6/24/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-None so far

Ohio (Leans Republican)- Four years ago former Fox News host and US Representative John Kasich successfully unseated Governor Ted Strickland (D) in the midst of a phenomenal year for Republicans. This year Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D)  looks to return the favor in what is either a close or not so close race, depending on who your preferred pollster is. If you put your faith in Public Policy Polling, which has had a pretty good track record over the past few years, Kasich is barely ahead in his race for reelection. On the other hand, the venerable polling outfit at Quinnipiac University gives the Governor a much more substantial lead. Either way, FitzGerald has been stuck in the high thirties while Kasich has been as high as 47%. 

Filing Deadline – February 2014                              Primary – 5/6/14

-Democrats

-Ed Fitzgerald (Cuyahoga County Executive)

-Republicans

-John Kasich(i)

Oklahoma (Safe Republican)- Governor Mary Fallin is extremely popular, with polls from earlier this year putting her support at around 65%. Considering that Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the county and given the fact that the race has not attract any top-tier Democrats, it looks like Governor Fallin will do just fine in 2014.

Filing Deadline – April 2014            Primary – 6/24/14

-Democrats

-R.J. Harris (lawyer)

-Republicans

-None so far

Oregon (Likely Democrat)- Governor John Kitzhaber is seeking to become Oregon’s first governor to be elected to a four term and so far things are looking pretty good for him. He has decent approval ratings, and in a Democratic leaning state like Oregon that’s often enough to eek out a victory. However, he’s not exactly crushing his opponents and if his approval ratings dive he could be in some trouble

Filing Deadline – 3/11/14                  Primary – 5/20/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Dennis Richardson (State Rep)

Pennsylvania (Leans Democrat)-  Tom Corbett is the most unpopular Republican governor in the country. He trails or is tied with almost every Democratic challenger and he’s down by double digits against Rep. Allyson Schwartz. However, there is still more than a year until election day and Schwartz hasn’t locked down the Democratic nomination just yet. If the Democrats nominate someone other than Schwartz and Corbett sees at least some improvement in public opinion, he may stand a chance for reelection. And even if things don’t improve, he could decline to run or face a strong primary challenge. Either way, if he’s not on the ballot in 2014, this race will be a toss-up.

Filing Deadline – February 2014                                    Primary – 5/20/14

-Democrats

-John Hanger (former PA Environmental Secretary)

-Jo Ellen Litz (Lebanon County Commissioner)

-Robert McCord (PA Treasurer)

-Kathleen McGinty (former PA Environmental Secretary)

-Max Myers (businessman)

-Allyson Schwartz (US Rep)

-Tom Wolf (former PA Revenue Secretary)

-Republicans

-None so far

Rhode Island (Toss-up)- Governor Lincoln Chafee, the Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, is not a popular figure in the state. A poll from January shows him trailing in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, but keep in mind that it was taken before Chafee switched parties. If he loses the nomination, he might run in the general election as an independent, which would create a competitive three-way race where any candidate could come out on top. To make things even more volatile, 2010 Moderate Party (yes, there is such a thing) nominee Kenneth Block may run again in 2014, which would turn this into a four-way race. Who will win? It’s anybody’s guess right now.

Filing Deadline – June 2014            Primary – 9/9/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-None so far

-Moderate

-Kenneth Block (2010 nominee)

South Carolina (Leans Republican)- A great Tea Party hope in 2010, Nikki Haley has seen her approval ratings drop since she took office. A poll from late last year shows her narrowly trailing the 2010 Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen and there are a few Republicans openly mulling a primary challenge. But before the Democrats start getting excited, they should remember that this is South Carolina we’re talking about. I would expect in the coming months for Haley’s polling to rise and while she is definitely vulnerable, she still has the edge in this contest.

Filing Deadline – March 2014                   Primary – 6/10/14

-Democrats

-Vincent Sheheen (State Sen, 2010 Gov nominee)

-Republicans

-Nikki Haley(i)

South Dakota (Likely Republican)- South Dakota is red as red gets and while 2014 polling has been nearly non-existent, there is no reason to believe that Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard is any danger of losing his bid for reelection. When polling does come out on this race, expect it to move to the Safe Republican column.

 Filing Deadline – March 2014           Primary –  6/3/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-None so far

Tennessee (Safe Republican)- Bill Haslam is a widely popular governor in a deep red state. And with no top top Democrats in sight, he is one of the safest incumbents in the country.

Filing Deadline – April 2014           Primary – 8/7/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Bill Haslam(i)

Texas (Likely Republican)- Unpopular 3-term incumbent Rick Perry is not running for reelection in 2014, leaving Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott as the favorite for the Republican nomination. For the Democrats, Wendy Davis’s filibuster on abortion rights drew national attention and she became the Democrats’ top choice in March. However, it’s important to remember that Texas is a red state and that a wide majority of voters in the state are in favor of the bill that Davis filibustered. Abbott is consistently leading Davis in the polls and it’s likely that the GOP will hold on to this seat next year.

Filing Deadline – January 2014                                 Primary – 3/4/14

-Democrats

-Wendy Davis (State Sen)

-Republicans

-Greg Abbott (TX AG)

Vermont (Likely Democrat)- Governor Peter Shumlin easily won reelection last year and while polling is scare in the Green Mountain state, all the surveys say that his approval rating is in positive territory. If the Republicans nominate a strong candidate this race could become competitive, but it’s hard to imagine this seat changing hands in 2014.

Filing Deadline – June 2014                         Primary – 8/26/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-None so far

Wisconsin (Likely Republican)- Governor Scott Walker is one tough cookie. After a close election in 2010, he went pushed through the most comprehensive public employee union reforms ever seen in the Badger state. The unions fought back tooth and nail, even trying to unseat him in a recall election last year. But even after pouring millions of dollars into the effort, the recall attempt was unsuccessful and Walker is still in office. If they couldn’t unseat Walker in 2012, they’re not likely to do it in 2014.

Filing Deadline – 6/2/14                                    Primary – 8/12/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Scott Walker(i)

Wyoming (Safe Republican)- Wyoming is probably the most Republican state in the union. Republicans outnumber Democrats 5 to 1 in the state House and 6 to 1 in the state Senate. Incumbent Matt Mead is mildly popular and his only concern is the primary challenger from Wyoming Schools Superintendent Cindy Hill. Polls show Mead safely ahead of Hill and if he wins the primary, the election is as good as his.

Filing Deadline – June 2014                         Primary – 8/19/14

-Democrats

-None so far

-Republicans

-Cindy Hill (WY Schools Superintendent)

One thought on “2014 Gubernatorial Elections

  1. Pingback: Occam's Razor Scooter | 2014 Gubernatorial Race Update #1

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