Sunday, March 17, 2013

Predictions: 2013 and 2014 Gubernatorial races

Final prediction:
 Democrats to pickup Florida, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania 
Republicans to pickup Arkansas, Massachusetts
Independent to win Alaska

In 2014, thirty-six states will hold an election for chief executive. Only 10 of these offices are held by Democratic incumbents, as the blue team got clobbered in 2010. The Democrats would especially like to grab the top office in northern states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where Republicans ran the table last time around. Why? Because winning in 2014 means having an incumbent with a good chance to win in 2018, which means having more say in the decennial redistricting of congressional seats in 2021. You see the only reason that Republicans control the US House is because they were able to gerrymander so many states in the last congressional redistricting in 2011. Michigan, for example, elected 9 Republicans and only 5 Democrats to the House in 2012 despite the fact that President Obama beat Mitt Romney there by almost 10%. Unfortunately, in 2014 the Democrats will also be facing the fact that in the mid-term election in the sixth year that a President is in office, the party in power usually does very poorly. In the 2006 election for example, the Republicans failed to unseat a single incumbent Democratic Governor, Senator or House member.

The races are categorized as (1.) competitive or at risk of being won by the party out of power, and (2.) unlikely to become competitive. This post will be updated continuously until election day.

Competitive/at-risk races:

Rating: Leans Independent takeover
Republican: Sean Parnell (incumbent)
Independent: Former Mayor of Valdez Bill Walker
Overview: (9/2/14) Poll have been showing that incumbent Governor Parnell would cruise to victory over independent Republican Bill Walker and Democrat Byron Mallott. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. an August poll showed Walker with a small lead over Parnell in a theoretical two-man race. Well, the theoretical has become the actual, as Walker has dropped his Republican affiliation with Mallott dropping down to the Lt. Governor's slot on a "unity" ticket with Walker. Walker has come out against Parnell's tax cut for big oil and for Medicaid expansion and unions, so hopefully the Walker-Mallott gambit will succeed.
(10/25/14) Parnell is trying to cope with being tied to the Alaska National Guard sex abuse scandal. Walker leads in the polls and I think that will hold through election day.

Rating: Leans Republican hold
Republican: State Treasurer Doug Ducey (incumbent Jan Brewer term-limited)
Democrat: Businessman Fred DuVal
Overview: (3/17/13) You never know what kind of Governor you're going to get in Arizona. In 2006, Democrat Janet Napolitano beat her opponent nearly two to one. Yet in 2010, the state elected cuckoo-bananas racist Republican Jan Brewer. The race is drawing a lot of interest, and both parties should see crowded primaries.
(1/20/14) Apparently the above comment is half right. While the GOP primary is crowded, Democrats have "cleared the field" for businessman Fred DuVal. While Mr. DuVal seems like a fine person, I have to pretty skeptical of the idea of him beating a Republican who's already won a statewide election in Arizona.
(4/21/14) This race is not on a good trajectory for the Republicans. Ken Bennett, their most prominent candidate, has not managed to put any distance between himself and the seven (!) other candidates in the GOP primary. So the Republicans have to wait until just ten weeks before the election to find out who their nominee will be, whomever that is may have received only about one-quarter of the primary vote, and none of their potential nominees are really polling ahead of Democrat Fred DuVal. So far so good for the blue team.
(9/2/14) Doug Ducey won the GOP primary with an unenthusiastic endorsement of only 36.9% of the vote. Limited polling shows a deadlock race, with Ducey bleeding some support to the Libertarian candidate. A true toss up.
(10/25/14) Both candidates have piled up a few scandals. Ducey had maintained a small but consistent lead in the polls. Ducey will win.


Rating: Leans Republican hold
Democrat: Former Congressman Mike Ross (likely) (incumbent Mike Beebe term-limted)
Republican: Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson?
(3/17/13) Arkansas is in the part of the country that really, really does not like President Obama. So there's a good chance Republican candidates will do well there in 2014.
(6/18/13) I think Mike Ross will get the bid for blue team; Halter is too far to the left. For the Republicans, there's a small army of top-tier potential candidates. But the key word is potential. If none of them get in, then the GOP gets Hutchinson, who is a good candidate but not really top-tier.
(1/20/14) Apparently this race will be Ross vs. Hutchinson, and polls show a dead heat. Ross has the advantage that the last time anyone heard of Asa Hutchinson, he was losing the 2006 Arkansas gubernatorial election by a huge margin to Democrat Mike Beebe. Hutchinson has the advantage that it's going to be very difficult for a Democrat to win in Arkansas in 2014.
(4/21/14) Recent polls have shown Ross with a slim lead. Hutchinson may need a Republican wave to win.
(7/20/14) Nothing has been resolved here. Hutchinson now consistently leads in the polls, however, he's also bleeding support to the Libertarian candidate.
(10/25/14) Hutchinson has a small but persistent lead in the polls. In red-state Arkansas, that's all he needs.

Rating: Toss up
Democrat: John Hickenlooper (incumbent)
Republican: Former Congressman Bob Beauprez
Overview: (3/17/13) Hickenlooper is riding a high approval rating, but a Democratic incumbent in a purple state has got to be at least a little bit worried, considering that 2014 is likely to go the Republicans' way.
(1/20/14) A recent poll shows Hickenlooper leading Greg Brophy by only 1 point in this race. But he enjoys quite a few advantages. The GOP primary has a small army of candidates vying for the nomination. The Constitution Party has "major party" status in this election and will appear near the top of the ticket. Between that party and the Libertarians, the Republicans can expect to see a lot of conservative votes go down the drain, just as they did in 2010. Hickenlooper also has a lot of money.
Bob Beauprez seemed to disappear after getting crushed as the Republican nominee in the 2006 Colorado gubernatorial. Eight years later, he's the GOP nominee again and has pulled into a tie with Hickenlooper in the polls. Hickenlooper has the advantage in fundraising and wide support among business leaders. But if 2014 turns into a Republican landslide, Beauprez will win.
(10/25/14) A very close race. But Hickenlooper razor-thin lead combined with the fact that Democrats tend to outperform the polls in Colorado mean I'm calling this one for the blue team. Connecticut
Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Dan Malloy (incumbent)
Republican: Former US Ambassador Tom Foley
Overview: (3/17/13) Malloy's approval ratings are nothing to write home about. However, the Connecticut Republican party hasn't had much of a pulse for the last decade or so.
(1/20/14) Six Republicans have already declared for the primary; none of them are top-tier candidates. Not a good recipe for upsetting an incumbent.
(6/22/14) Apparently Foley will be the GOP nominee, and apparently he's also running even with Malloy in the polls.
Foley was the nominee in 2010 and Malloy beat him by 0.5%. Malloy's campaign is complicated by the independent candidacy of former Democratic state representative Jonathan Pelto. I'm inclined to think Malloy can hold on, as Republicans tend to underperform in Connecticut, but Foley has a strong chance.
(10/25/14) Foley has made this one very close, but unfortunately for him, independent Republican candidate Joe Visconti is eating his lunch. Malloy will hang on.

Rating: Leans Democratic takeover
Republican: Rick Scott (incumbent)
Democrat: Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist
Overview: (3/17/13) A recent poll shows Scott with a 33% approval rating, and shows him losing a hypothetical matchup with former Governor Charlie Crist 53% to 39%. A lot of Florida Republicans aren't happy with Scott, and the recent resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll over an Internet gambling scandal hasn't helped matters. A primary challenge to Scott is not out of the question.
(6/18/13) Crist leads Scott by 10 in current polling. Scott has a challenger in the primary in the person of Elizabeth Cuevas Neunder, founder and CEO of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commence of Florida. I don't expect Cuevas Neunder to mount a serious challenge to Scott for the nomination, but her candidacy isn't good news for him. Hispanic voters in Florida usually give significant support to Republican nominees. If Scott loses the Hispanic vote in a big way, he really is in trouble.
(1/20/14) There have been no very recent polls of this race, but all those taken in the last part of 2013 show Crist with a significant lead.
(7/10/14) Scott is now even or slightly ahead of Crist in the polls. The number here to remember is $129 million dollars. That's what Scott spent to get elected in 2010. Months before the election, Scott's already spent $15 million on ads attacking Charlie Crist. Apparently you really can buy an election. From the National Journal: "Two of the biggest takeaways for Democrats from 2010 were that Scott's early spending spree helped define (Democratic nominee Alex) Sink and gave him an advantage later on. The cash vacuum left by the state's sprawling and diverse media landscape left too little funding for field and voter-turnout operations—particularly in heavily Democratic and Hispanic South Florida—that are widely recognized as crucial for Democrats in low-turnout midterm-election years." I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this race.
(10/25/14) Crist has a tiny edge in the polls. This one is tough to call, but the old rule is that an incumbent who is not ahead on election day will lose.

Rating: Leans Republican hold
Republican: Nathan Deal (incumbent)
Democrat: State Senator Jason Carter

Libertarian: Dr. Andrew Hunt
Overview: (6/20/14) What should have been an easy reelection campaign for Deal is being dragged down by ethical lapses and dissatisfaction over his refusal to expand Medicaid. State Senator Jason Carter (and grandson of former President Carter) is more or less tied with Deal in the polls. But winning this race isn't as simple as getting more votes than Deal in November. Georgia has that pesky law that requires candidates to get 50% of the vote. Carter might well beat Deal in November, but then lose a runoff. Oddball elections tend to get poor turnout from Democratic voters, and Deal would probably benefit from the Libertarian candidate no longer being on the ballot.

(7/20/14) Long story short, an old ethics scandal involving Governor Deal now has new life. A poll taken just after news broke that Deal had pressured the head of the state ethics commission returned a result of Carter 49%, Deal 41%, Hunt 4%. Republican corruption and extremism may finally have gone too far in red-state Georgia.
(10/25/14) The polls show a race too close to call. However, both Carter and Democratic candidate for Senate Michelle Nunn have shown momentum in the past few days. I think Carter has the edge.
(11/3/14) Deal has had the better numbers in the final polling. I'm flip-flopping and calling it for Deal.

Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Senator David Ige
Republican: Former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
Independent: Former Democratic Mayor of Honolulu Mufi Hannemann
Overview: (6/16/14) I have no idea if the Civil Beat Poll is reliable, but it suggests that incumbent Governor Abercrombie could lose his primary. In any case, Republican Duke Aiona now has a very good chance in this race as the Democratic vote will be split between the eventual Democratic nominee and former Democratic Mayor of Honolulu Mufi Hannemann who is running as an independent.
(8/22/14) Students of politics will be interested to study how incumbent Governor Abercrombie lost his primary by better than 2-to-1. Democratic David Ige needs to get organized in a hurry if he's going to overcome losing votes to Hannemann.
(10/25/14) Ige has rallied support well and will win.

Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Pat Quinn (incumbent)
Republican: Businessman Bruce Rauner
Overview: (3/17/13) Pat Quinn was the comback kid of 2010. The final polls showed him losing to state Senator Bill Brady by 4 to 5 points, but Quinn surprised everyone by beating Brady 46.8% to 46.0%.
Brady's candidacy was crippled by the fact that he won the primary with only 20% of the vote. One of the six other candidates Brady beat was Kirk Dillard, whom he bested by only 193 votes. If the Republicans can get their act together in 2014, Quinn is very vulnerable.
(1/14/20) Apparently Pat Quinn was born lucky. In a recent PPP poll he chalked up an approval rating of 34%. For an incumbent, that would usually mean he's dead in the water in terms of reelection. However, 2014 seems to be shaping up to be a replay of 2010 in that four candidates are splitting support in the GOP primary. Furthermore, the three "insider" candidates, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, all trailed businessman Bruce Rauner in a recent PPP poll, and, Rauner is the only one of those four candidates who trailed Quinn for the general election in the same poll.
(4/21/14) In an ominous sign for Rauner, he only narrowly won the GOP nomination despite recent polls showing him with a huge lead over this Republican opponents. The people of Illinois will have to decide how much the like a candidate who enjoys bragging that his wealth makes him the, ".01 percent." There are no recent polls here, so until I see that Rauner is getting more traction with voters, I'm sticking with Quinn to win another term.
(8/22/14) Democratic polling show Quinn trailing by three. Rauner has lost some support recently due to a series of significant, but not necessarily deal-breaking scandals. The race will probably come down to turnout.
(10/25/14) Quinn pulled ahead in the polls in recent weeks, now Rauner has made a bit of a comeback. In a race this close, I have to say that Quinn will outperform the polls as he has in the past.

Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Terry Branstad (incumbent)
Democrat: State Senator Jack Hatch
Overview: (4/21/14) As things stand right now, Terry Branstad will likely sleepwalk his way into a sixth term as Governor of Iowa. He shouldn't have run again; he's clearly lost his mojo. He'll only win if he can contain the damage from a still-emerging scandal involving hush money paid to state employees wrongfully fired for political reasons. Branstad's once-insurmountable lead over second-tier Democratic candidate Jack Hatch has been whittled down to about 10 points.
(10/25/14) Who am I kidding? Of course Brandstad's going to win.

Rating: Toss Up
Republican: Sam Brownback (incumbent)
Democrat: State House minority leader Paul Davis
Overview: (1/20/14) Kansas politics are very weird. It's kind of a three-party system, split evenly between very conservative Republicans, slightly-less conservative Republicans, and Democrats. The slightly-less conservative Republicans insist that their more conservative brethren not get too pushy, or they threaten to vote for Democrats out of spite. This is the kind of thing that allowed Democrat Kathleen Sebelius to be reelected as Governor of Kansas in 2006; her running mate was the former chair of the Kansas Republican party. The most recent (albeit old) poll of the 2014 race shows State House minority leader Paul Davis actually leading Brownback. Apparently the "moderate" and conservative Republicans are engaged in another civil war I don't care to think too much about. In any case, add that conflict to the fact that the Libertarian and possibly even the Reform parties can siphon off a few Republicans votes, and we might have a race here.
(2/21/14) A new PPP poll shows Davis leading by 2. Brownback approval rating is a crushing 33%, and he's trailing Davis despite the fact that few have even heard of him. I'd be interested to know whether the Libertarian candidate is getting any support.
(4/21/14) PPP now has Davis up by 5. Brownback has declined to expand Medicaid despite widespread support for the measure among Kansans. I guess he thinks he's invincible.
(8/22/14) PPP once again is showing Davis clinging to a 2% lead, with Brownback bleeding support to the Libertarian candidate. Brownback may still be saved by a Republican wave.
(10/25/14) Brownback's policies are a disaster, and the proof just keeps on rolling in. The voters are not happy and Brownback will lose.

Rating: Leans Democratic takeover
Republican: Paul LePage (incumbent)
Democrat: Congressman Mike Michaud
Independent: Attorney Eliot Cutler
Overview: (3/17/13) LePage won in blue-state Maine in 2010 because the vote on the left was split between the Democratic nominee and left-leaning independent Eliot Cutler. LePage has never been popular, and polls show that in 2014 he is likely to lose a two-way race, but has a good chance to be re-elected in another three-way contest.
(1/20/14) Paul LePage is a bad person who would not stand a chance of being reelected if spoiler Eliot Cutler were not once again running as an independent and siphoning off Democratic votes. But even that may not be enough for LePage in 2014. Recent polls show Michaud with a slim lead even with Cutler in the race.
(9/2/14) Not much has changed all year - polling in limited but all agree Michaud is the front-runner.
(10/25/14) This election just won't resolve itself. A recent PPP polls shows LePage and Michaud tied at 40% with Cutler at 17%. The Cutler campaign has more or less disappeared, and I predict that's enough to put Michaud over the top.

Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: Lt. Governor Anthony Brown (incumbent Martin O'Malley term-limited)
Republican: Businessman L.J. Hogan, Jr.
Overview: (3/17/13) Brown will probably run for Governor, and should have the inside track. The Maryland Republican party hasn't had much of a pulse lately.
(1/20/14) Brown is leading two other Democrats for the blue team nomination. Four Republicans are running for the GOP bid; all are pretty much third-tier candidates. Brown is favored.
(7/20/14) Brown holds a big lead over real estate broker Lawrence Hogan. This one's over.

Rating: Leans Republican takeover
Democrat: Attorney General Martha Coakley? (incumbent Deval Patrick term-limited)
Republican: Businessman Charlie Baker?
Overview: (3/17/13) Time was when Massachusetts liked to elect Republican Governors to provide some balance to its nearly 100% Democratic state legislatures. But big name Republicans are few and far between in Massachusetts; the GOP seems to be having a tough time finding anyone to run in the open-seat Senate race created by John Kerry's retirement. It will be hard for them to elect a Governor in 2014 if their candidate goes into the race with zero name-recognition.
(1/20/14) Although a number of Democrats are running, the apparent favorite is Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is known to people outside Massachusetts as the candidate who, against all odds, lost former Senator Ted Kennedy's seat to Republican Scott Brown in 2010. Massachusetts voters have already had their say on Charlie Baker for Governor; he lost the 2010 race to Democrat Deval Patrick. Coakley is favored.
(7/20/14) The Boston Globe shows Coakley leading Baker by only 3%. On the other hand, The Globe's last poll of the 2012 Senate race showed a tie, but on election day Elizabeth Warren beat incumbent Scott Brown by 7.5%. So I'm not worried.
(10/25/14) Polls a month ago showed Coakley ahead, more recent polls give Baker the edge. Given Coakley's track record, I have to give the edge to Baker.

Rating: Leans Democratic takeover
Republican: Rick Snyder (incumbent)
Democrat: Congressman Mark Schauer
Overview: (31/17/13) When political-nobody Rick Snyder was elected in 2010, he could have tried to balance the wants of the Republicans who elected him with those of the union workers who make up the backbone of Michgian's labor force. Instead, he's governed as far to the right as possible. As a result of signing anti-union legislation into law, and a lot of other things, Snyder's approval rating stands at only 36%, and polls show him losing in 2014 to any of several potential Democratic nominees.
(1/20/14) State politics in Michigan has been a sad, sad story for a number of years, and it looks like there's a strong chance that will continue through the 2014 election. Governor Snyder's approval ratings, have, most improbably, shown improvement, and he probably has the lead over his little-known challenger former Congressman Mark Schauer. Could there be anything more depressing that Michigan becoming a union-busting "right to work" state? How about the fact that Democrats may also lose the seat of retiring six-term Senator Carl Levin? Sorry, Michigan. A better day will come.
(7/10/14) PPP shows this race now tied. Schauer is in a good place for a challenger who's just starting to become known, with a net-positive approval rating among the half of voters who've heard of him. There's hope for this one yet.
(10/25/14) And PPP still shows an absolute tie. Another race almost impossible to call, but Schauer has run a good campaign so I'm giving it to him.

Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Businessman Pete Ricketts (incumbent Dave Heineman term-limited)
Democrat: Former state University Regent Chuck Hassebrook
Libertarian: Mark Elworth
Overview: (3/17/13) "Competitive" in name-only; I include all open-seat races on the competitive list.
(1/20/14) The Republicans have several strong candidates, the Democrats have none. What a shock.
(6/16/14) How Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning lost the Republican primary to political nobody Pete Ricketts I have no idea. But it's turned one of the easiest "holds" for the GOP into a competitive race. PPP currently has this race as Ricketts 42%, Hassebrook 38%, Libertarian Mark Elworth 11%. That said, I don't really think Hassebrook has a chance, as Democrats tend to underperform against the polls in Nebraska. For example, in 2012 two late polls showed the Nebraska Senate race as surprisingly close, yet on election day the Republican nominee won 58% to 42%.

New Mexico
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Susana Martinez (incumbent)
Democrat: State Attorney General Gary King

Overview: (6/20/14) Polls indicate this slow-developing race will be at least sort of competitive. Beyond that, there's not much to go on yet. Martinez's governing style might best be described as, "vindictive" but I'm not sure that's enough to bring down her reelection campaign.

Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: John Kitzhaber (incumbent)
Republican: State Representative Dennis Richardson
Overview: (3/17/13) Assuming Kitzhaber runs in 2014, it will be for a fourth term overall. His approval ratings are good. This race will likely turn on the fact that the Republicans just don't have any big names to run against him.
(1/20/14) Kitzhaber is running. So far only third-tier candidates have announced on the GOP side. Kitzhaber is favored.
(6/16/14) Kitzhaber is polling a double-digit lead in this race and I expect him to cruise to victory.

Rating: Likely Democratic takeover
Republican: Tom Corbett (incumbent)
Democrat: Former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Tom Wolf
Overview: (3/17/13) Corbett has an approval rating of 26%. Ouch. Democrats like former Congressman Joe Sestak to run against him, and a recent poll shows Sestak leading 47% to 38% in a potential matchup.
(1/20/14) Sestak intends to run in the 2016 Senate race. The Democratic primary is very crowded, but the the likely nominee is Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who is off to a great start. Polls from late 2013 show her with a substantial lead over Corbett.
(4/21/14) I'm not sure how Allyson Schwartz stumbled so badly, but former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Tom Wolf will win the nomination. A February poll showed Wolf with a staggering 19% lead over the incumbent. A convincing win by Wolf could be huge for the Pennsylvania Democratic party. Currently Republicans control both the state House and Senate by only a few seats, and one of the big goals for the blue team is a more favorable environment the next time the redistricting of Congressional seats rolls around in 2021. Pennsylvania is one of the places where Republican control in 2011 caused Democratic to get clobbered on redistricting.
(10/25/14) The polls can't agree whether Wolf is leading by 9 points or 23 points, but he's going to win.

Rhode Island
Rating: Leans Democratic hold
(Independent: Lincoln Chafee, incumbent, is retiring)
Democrat: State Treasurer Gina Raimondo (likely)
Republican: Mayor of Cranston Alan Fung?
Overview: (3/17/13) I suspect incumbent Lincoln Chafee will not run another term, as his approval ratings are dismal. Best bet is that deep-blue Rhode Island will elect a Democrat.
(1/20/14) This race will probably be Raimondo vs. Fung. There are no recent polls, and Fung is a fairly strong candidate, but Raimondo is favored in deep-blue Rhode Island.

South Carolina
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Hikki Haley (incumbent)
Democrat: State Senator Vincent Sheheen?
Overview (4/4/13): A December PPP poll suggests that Haley would lose a rematch against her 2010 opponent, Vincent Sheehen. I'm not buying it frankly; no Democrat has been elected statewide in South Carolina since 2002. President Obama may have taken about 45% of the vote there in both 2008 and 2012, yet in every election the Republicans run the table.
(1/20/14) A major poll last fall actually showed Sheheen leading Haley. There is some threat of an independent Republican getting into the race. I think that's about the only thing that could really make this one competitive.

Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Attorney General Greg Abbott (incumbent Rick Perry retiring)
Democrat: State Senator Wendy Davis
Overview: (3/17/13)  list this one as "competitive" only because it is likely to be an open-seat race. Rick Perry could run for a fourth term, but I don't think Texans have any more stomach for him. Polls show that any of the little-known Democrats who might run could give Perry a competitive race, but with anyone else the Republicans have nothing to worry about. Enjoy it while it lasts, Republicans. Texas will not be in the bag for you much longer.
 (1/20/14) I'm glad that Democrats have a high-profile candidate in the person of state Senator Wendy Davis. I'm glad that Texas is slowly but inexorably moving from red state to purple state status. But as for Davis actually winning this race... better luck next time.

Virginia 2013
Rating: Leans Democratic takeover
Republican: State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (incumbent Bob McDonnell term-limted)
Democrat: Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe
Overview: (6/18/13) Leave it to the 21st century Republican Party to nominate candidates so repellent that they might not be able to beat a slimeball like Terry McAuliffe. Ken Cuccinelli is a right-wing kook, surpassed only by the GOP's nominee for Lt. Governor, E.W. Jackson, who believes that the practice of yoga may result in Satanic possession. Terry McAuliffe is good at exactly one thing: fundraising. McAuliffe has a slight edge in the polls.

Rating: Leans Republican hold
Republican: Scott Walker (incumbent)
Democrat: Former
state Commerce Department Secretary Mary Burke
Overview: (3/17/13) There is probably no Republican that Democrats hate more that Scott Walker. Putting the passion aside, the facts are these: 2014 will be a year in which Republicans have the advantage, and Walker is an incumbent with fairly strong approval ratings, meaning that there is a good chance he will be re-elected.
(1/20/14) The best way to beat Scott Walker would be to recruit a top-tier candidate. Apparently that isn't going to happen.
Mary Burke is a former state Commerce Department secretary, and that's great, but it would be better if we could get someone with a bit higher name recognition. The polls tell the story: Walker is hated enough that any candidate polls fairly well against him. But not well enough to beat him. Probably the only way Walker loses is if he's brought down by one of the many scandals for which he's now under investigation.
(6/20/14) Prosecutors has now produced, among other things, an email in which Scott Walker discusses with Karl Rove who will coordinate an illegal fundraising campaign. I don't know how Walker gets out of this one. He can't claim, like New Jersey's Chris Christie, that he had no knowledge of the illegal activities of the people working for him. Mary Burke had just about caught up with Walker in the polls before these revelations. It's hard to imagine how Walker survives this.
(9/2/14) The only recent, reliable poll of this race shows Burke with a 2.1% lead. The bad news continues to pour in for Walker. He's trumpeted deficit-cutting among his biggest accomplishments, but news last week revealed revenues far short of predictions. The key to this race is that Walker has always been both more deeply loved and deeply hated than the run-of-the-mill politician. If those who love him stop loving him quite so much, he'll lose. Because those who hate him have definitely not cooled down.
(10/25/14) Yet another race that's too close to call. I may flip-flop on this one in the last few days, but Democrats have endured a lot of heartbreak in Wisconsin in the last few years, and I just don't see enough positive signs to call it for Burke.

Races unlikely to become competitive:

Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming have incumbent Republican Governors who are likely to win reelection in 2014. Same goes for New Jersey in 2013.

California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont have incumbent Democratic Governors who are likely to win reelection in 2014.

Rating: Guaranteed Republican hold
Republican: John Kasich (incumbent)
Democrat: County Executive Ed FitzGerald
Libertarian: Charlie Earl
Overview: (1/20/14) Hard to believe that Kasich might lose to a third-tier candidate like Ed FitzGerald, but a December poll shows Kasich leading by only 2 with the Libetarian candidate siphoning some of his support. What happened? The Wikipedia article on this race has a fascinating summary, "John Kasich, who was elected with Tea Party support in 2010, has faced a considerable backlash from the Tea Party movement. His decision to accept the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid, his increased spending, taxation of fracking on Ohio farmland and his perceived failure to go far enough on charter schools and school vouchers have seen Tea Party groups refuse to support his re-election campaign. When Kasich passed over Tea Party leader Tom Zawistowski for the position of Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party, in favour of Matt Borges, who worked with a gay rights group, that was seen as the final straw. Tea Party groups have announced that they will support a primary challenger, or, if none emerges, the Libertarian nominee. Zawistowski said, "John Kasich is going to lose in 2014. We don’t care who else wins." He worked with a gay rights group?! Well, I can see why the teabaggers are furious.
(7/20/14) FitzGerald seems to be building momentum. In a recent PPP poll, one that did not, by the way, include Liberarian Charlie Earl, FitzGerald trailed Kasich by only 1. Republicans will be pretty embarrassed if they lose this one after choosing Cleveland for their next national convention.
(8/22/14) FitzGerald's campaign has collapsed in scandal. Good grief, Ohio Democratic Party, did you think you could just hide this stuff?


derrick jo said...

What about South Carolina

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

Hm. I see that polls show Haley as unpopular enough in South Carolina that she might lose. OK, this goes on the competitive list. But I'm kind of doubtful an incumbent Republican is going to lose in super-red SC.

derrick jo said...

A 5 POINT victory in 2010 isn't a lot.
Vincent Sheheen is strong and is likely to run again.
Remember Vincent didn't recieve much support from the DGA.

derrick jo said...

Having a 5 POINT victory in 2010 isn't a lot by the way.
And Vincent Sheheen should run again.
The polls were off by about 5 points too.

derrick jo said...

And the Ohio gubernatorial race is likely to be more competitive than Nebraska.

derrick jo said...

Remember in 1998 a little known state representive, Jim Hodge, upset the incumbent governor of South Carolina, David Beasley, who enjoyed a higher popularity than Haly had.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

1998? That's a lifetime ago. There were still a few yellow-dog Democrats around then. Unless I'm mistaken, no Democrat has won statewide in SC since Inez Tenenbaum in 2002.

derrick jo said...

I wonder when Democrats can win in states like Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska again post 2010.

derrick jo said...

What about gubernatorial races in off year elections like Virginia and Kentucky?