November 4, 2014
Track the 2014 Races
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2014 Florida Governor Race
Monday, August 18, 2014
|This article was published on Monday, August 11 on PJMedia.com. It has been edited for currency
A lot of focus this election season is trained on the battle for Capitol Hill. And rightly so, with the majority in the Senate up for grabs and Democrats hoping to avoid another harmful midterm election in the House. But there are also a host of gubernatorial battles being waged this year. In fact, the midterm elections every four years mark a bonanza of statehouse contests. Thirty-six of the nation's fifty states will be choosing their chief executive this November.
In 2010, the last midterm election, thirty-seven gubernatorial elections produced a staggering 17 partisan takeovers - 11 by Republicans, 5 by Democrats, and Independent Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. Add to that count several states in which sitting governors were term-limited, decided against running for reelection or lost their primary, and you have a remarkable statistic. Twenty-six states - over half the states in the country - welcomed a new governor in 2011.
So do we have the same kind of shakeup in store in 2014? Probably not, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of interesting and competitive races to enjoy this year.
Here's a look at a baker's dozen of states which have at least a decent chance of electing a governor from a different party on Election Day. I've ranked them and categorized them according to their level of vulnerability.
Easy Pickup (1 Republican)
Lean Toward Takeover (2 Democrats)
- 1. Pennsylvania - Republican Tom Corbett is struggling mightily under approval ratings that make President Obama's numbers look enviable. Former Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf is the prohibitive favorite to earn the takeover.
True Toss-up (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats)
- 2. Arkansas - If Democrat Governor Mike Beebe were free to run for a third term, this race would not be on this list. As it turns out, however, he is term-limited, and the door is open for a Republican to win the statehouse this year in this ever-reddening state. Asa Hutchinson, former congressman, is the GOP nominee. All three polls taken recently give him leads ranging from 3 to 6 points over Democrat Mike Ross, another former congressman.
- 3. Hawaii - Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie had a treacherous re-election path ahead of him. First, he had to contend with a strong primary challenge from state Senator David Ige. Then, had he survived, he would have faced a daunting three-way race with Mufi Hannemann, former Democratic Mayor of Honolulu, siphoning off votes as an independent. But he didn't survive that primary challenge, and now it is Ige who will have a hard time holding this seat for Democrats. That's because the Republican nominee, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, is ahead in the polls. Despite Hawaii's very deep blue hue, Aiona appears well-positioned to earn the governorship.
Lean Toward Hold (4 Republicans, 1 Democrat)
- 4. Illinois - Polls give Republican Bruce Rauner the lead here, but Governor Quinn has a history of finding a way to come out on top. And deep blue Illinois is not the best place for a Republican, even in gubernatorial races. Though Rauner currently leads in the polls, I'm not confident in his chances. One reason: Polls put Republican Bill Brady almost five points ahead of Quinn in 2010. Quinn won by 0.5%.
- 5. Maine - Republican Paul LePage, like Neil Abercrombie, faces a three-way race in his reelection bid this year. But that's not unusual in a state that has given at least 20% of the gubernatorial vote to an independent in all but one election since 1994. Democratic Congressman Michael Michaud is LePage's biggest threat, however.
- 6. Florida - This race is probably the most visible, anticipated and important statehouse election on this year's slate. Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who ran for the Senate as an independent after losing the 2010 GOP Senate primary to Marco Rubio, later switched to the Democratic Party. He is now challenging Republican Rick Scott for a ticket back to the Governor's Mansion. In a major battleground state, this race is truly a toss-up.
- 7. Connecticut - Democrat Dan Malloy won the statehouse here in 2010 by less than one point over Republican Tom Foley. One word tells why this race is on this list in 2014 - rematch. Connecticut is a blue state to be sure, but Foley's likely nomination gives Democrats a headache in the Nutmeg State. The latest polls put Foley in the lead, further illustrating Malloy's difficult road ahead. This one will be close again.
- 8. Michigan - In 2010, Republican Rick Snyder capitalized on term-limited Governor Jennifer Granholm's poor approval ratings to score an open seat gubernatorial takeover. Four years later, Snyder must contend with sub-par approval himself as he faces a strong challenge from former Congressman Mark Schauer.
- 9. Wisconsin - Scott Walker famously survived a recall election in 2012 by a slightly larger margin than he first gubernatorial win in 2010. In 2014, the Republican faces another challenge in this Democratic-leaning battleground state. Educator Mary Burke is the likely Democratic nominee. Polls show Walker and Burke locked in a very close battle. Two surveys were released in July. One gave Walker a one-point lead. The other had Burke up by the same margin.
- 10. Kansas - Even though it is a deep red state, Kansas has a propensity for Democratic governors. Half of the chief executives elected here since 1966 have been Democrats. So, it's not terribly surprising to see this race on the competitive list. What is surprising is that Sam Brownback, who has won two senate races and the 2010 gubernatorial race by an average margin of 36 points, is the vulnerable incumbent.
- 11. Georgia - Republican Governor Nathan Deal hopes Georgia's conservative tilt will overcome the name recognition of his Democratic opponent Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. Deal must also overcome the pall of scandal which clouds further his reelection prospects. For now, he maintains the upper hand, but this race might become a full-fledged toss-up before too long.
- 12. Colorado - Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper enjoyed comfortable leads against a crowded Republican field throughout the primary season. Recently, however, now that Colorado Republicans have settled on former Congressman Bob Beauprez, he has fallen back into a very close battle.
- 13. New Mexico - Republican Susana Martinez made history four years ago becoming the first female Hispanic governor in U.S. history. This year, she's facing a tough reelection battle against New Mexico Attorney General Gary King. Though she still enjoys a "Likely R" label from Charlie Cook, a recent Rasmussen poll shows her exactly tied with King, 43-43.
As things currently stand, Election Projection is projecting Republicans to pick up Arkansas, Hawaii and Illinois and Democrats to gain Florida, Maine and Pennsylvania. That works out to a net change of zero. However, with so many very close gubernatorial contests out there, I'm sure the map will be in constant flux between now and Election Day.
posted by Scott Elliott at 7:37pm 08/18/14 :: link
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I just sent my latest article for PJMedia.com
. In it, I take a look at the
gubernatorial races on tap this year, rankng them by vulnerability. The Florida race is one I deemed a "toss-up." Yes, I
know, I hate toss-ups. But for the sake of the article, toss-up will have to do. Projections? Never.
Anyway, I mentioned in the article that Florida was a projected Democratic pickup. Wouldn't you know it? Before
the ink even dried, figuratively speaking, here comes a SurveyUSA poll showing Republican Governor Rick Scott back on top by 2 points
over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. Since the poll replaces an earlier SurveyUSA offering which had Crist up by 6, today's
flips the race
to Scott. Moreover, Scott has now led the
last three polls
testing the race. Perhaps the incumbent is beginning to cultivate a small lead in this marquee gubernatorial contest.
With Florida back in Republican hands, the
projected gubernatorial tally
and 20 Democrats
, a net gain of one statehouse for
the red team.
posted by Scott Elliott at 6:17pm 08/06/14 :: link
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Last night's Georgia primary runoff election cemented the GOP nominee, David Perdue, and allowed me to move the
2014 Georgia Senate election
from a preliminary
projection to an official one. As a result, Democrat Michelle Nunn is now projected ahead of Perdue thanks to her aggregate
0.5% lead in the last two polls here. The change reduces the net Republican pickup in the Senate to just 3 seats - 3 short of
the mark they'll need to regain the majority. Today's Senate tally stands at 48 Republicans
and 2 Independents
The good news doesn't stop there for the blue team. On the
2014 Governor elections
summary page, EP's latest map features a
blue Florida, heralding Democrat Charlie Crist's new lead over Republican incumbent Rick Scott. With this update, the projected
Republican gubernatorial majority is reduced by one. The projected tally stands at
and 22 Democrats
Back on June 10, the projections offered a much different outlook. Senate Republicans were projected to win
and win the majority, while Republicans were also looking
at a projected gain in governors of two seats
GOP fortunes are not indicative of a coming red wave and further bolster my current conviction that 2014 may be a
That said, there is
still plenty of time for the GOP to gain momentum - President Obama's
dismal approval numbers
continue to provide potential fuel for that - but, as
things stand now, Democrats must be feeling pretty good about their situation in this sixth-year midterm election.
posted by Scott Elliott at 7:41pm 07/23/14 :: link
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Just this Tuesday, Republican incumbent Rick Scott overtook Democrat Charlie Crist in the
Florida governor election
projection. That advantage was short-lived as SurveyUSA's offering yesterday turned the tables back in favor of the
challenger. This latest SurveyUSA poll gives Crist a
. That's a six-point
improvement over the previous SurveyUSA poll from late May. The gubernatorial tally moves back to
and 20 Democrats
, a net gain of one for the red team.
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:57am 06/12/14 :: link
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Today's update brings one significant rating change. A Public Policy Polling survey out of Florida finds Republican incumbent Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist
. Combined with a
SurveyUSA poll taken late last month, the PPP poll gives Scott a slight advantage in today's calculations. This update shifts the
Florida Governor election
from Weak DEM Gain
to Weak GOP Hold
. Republicans are now
projected to hold 31 statehouses after this year's elections. That's an increase of two over their current count.
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:27pm 06/10/14 :: link
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
The Florida primary
is still over
two months away, but the two major party candidates are all but decided. Democrat, former Republican, former Independent
and former Governor Charlie Crist has consistently outperformed incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott in early
Florida Governor polls
after today's SurveyUSA poll giving Scott a two-point lead, Crist is still ahead.
However, based on previous SurveyUSA polls, Scott may be gaining ground. The last two polls released by the polling firm
each gave Crist a three-point edge. Today's
2014 Florida Governor Election Projection
, which includes SurveyUSA's most recent, pegs Crist's advantage at 4.6%, a Weak DEM Gain
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:57pm 05/28/14 :: link
Saturday, February 15, 2014
In 2010, Republican Rick Scott won two close elections on his way to the Florida statehouse. He had to survive first a heated
primary battle with former Congressman Bill McCollum - which he did by a slim 3-point margin - before moving on to face the Democrat,
Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. She had enjoyed a much easier path to the November ballot, cruising to the Democratic
nomination with almost 77% of the primary vote.
The gubernatorial race that year was an open seat election, but the sitting governor at the time wasn't retiring from
politics. He wasn't even sitting out the election. Instead, then-Republican Charlie Crist threw his hat into a different
ring, launching a bid for the open Senate seat held by interim GOP Senator George LeMieux. (Crist had appointed LeMieux a year
earlier after Mel Martinez's resignation in August 2009.)
Scott went on to win the general election against Sink by a very narrow 49% to $8% count, and Crist ended up losing badly to
Republican Marco Rubio as an independent candidate in three-way race. Democrat Kendrick Meek also ran in that race but ended
up with just 20% of the vote to come in third.
Now, four years later, Crist, wearing the blue team's jersey, is back attempting to reclaim the governorship he voluntarily
relinquished in 2010. Never a very conservative kind of guy, Crist officially switched to the Democratic Party on December 7,
2012. He is the front runner among a crowded field vying for the Democratic nomination. Though he is the
heavy favorite to prevail in the August 26 primary, Florida State Senator Nan Rich will provide a legitimate intra-party opponent.
On the Republican side, Governor Scott should earn the GOP nomination once again. However, he hasn't been quite the
darling of the Right as evidence by the seven
declared Republicans running against him. Still, it looks right now very
much like a Rick Scott - Charlie Crist matchup in the general.
Polls taken so far measuring a Scott/Crist contest show the Democrat with the early lead. A University of Florida survey
released in January put Crist advantage at 7 points, 47-40. Since both men are already well-known quantities to Florida voters,
early polls are probably more predictive of the actual result than in other election scenarios. So, while there are plenty of months
left for the numbers to move one way or the other, Crist looks to me to be the true favorite in this race.
Preliminary projection: Weak DEM Gain
You can track this race throughout the 2014 election season here at Election Projection by visiting the
Florida Governor Election
page for polls, projections and updates. Also, check out the
2014 Governor Elections page for a
summary of all gubernatorial races on tap in 2014 complete with EP's colorful red and blue Governor map.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:18pm 02/15/14 :: link