The 2016 Gubernatorial Races- March News

Nothing has changed much on the race ratings chart, but some primaries have that potential.  Still, there was some news on the 2016 gubernatorial front.

Missouri:  OK…so this is a weird one.  Eric Greitens is a GOP candidate for Governor and has amassed an impressive war chest at $3.4 million.  Missouri has no campaign donation limits and $1 million of that war chest came from Michael Goguen, a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley.  So what, you say so far.  Goguen settled a $40 million lawsuit with a woman who claims that Goguen made her his personal sex slave after promising to free her from sex trafficking.  Goguen and the woman in question met at a strip bar.  After paying $10 million of the $40 million promised in the settlement, Goguen reneged and yelled “extortion” which caused the woman to go public which is resulting in some embarrassment for Greitens now.  His primary opponents are calling on Greitens to return or donate the $1 million.  But, you can see the problem: that is almost one-third of his war chest.  Greitens refuses to do so saying that he will not allow the donor to be prosecuted by the public.  Incidentally, Goguen donated $250,000 to a PAC supporting John Kasich.  That PAC donated the $250,000 to a charity fighting human trafficking.

The most recent polls indicate that it would be a tight race between Democrat Chris Koster and either Catherine Hanaway or Peter Kinder in the general election and Koster crushing Brunner or Greitens.

New Hampshire:  State representative Frank Edelblut is running in the GOP primary against Chris Sununu.  He has dumped about $500,000 into the “campaign” thus far. Two other Republicans- Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas and Jeanie Forrester, a state senator- also jumped in the fray.  On the Democratic side, ex-Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand joins Colin Van Ostern and Mark Connolly in the primary.  The filling deadline is not until June and although there may be more names added, most of the big ones are in already.  New Hampshire is a tough state to get a handle on and anything is possible here.

North Carolina:  A recent Survey USA poll puts incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory up by two points over his Democratic opponent Roy Cooper.  Expect this one to go back and forth right up until November.

North Dakota:  Polling indicates that state attorney general Republican Wayne Stenehjem starts with a massive lead over Doug Burgam in the June Republican primary.  A third candidate- Rick Becker- says he will drop out if he does not win the endorsement at the April state convention.  Only one Democrat- state Rep. Marvin Nelson- has entered the race.

Oregon:  With the closing of the filing deadline, there were no last minute surprises as Kate Brown will likely win the Democratic primary.  In the GOP side, it is basically a two-man race between Allen Alley and Bud Pierce, a physician.  Brown became governor when John Kitzhaber resigned.  Whoever wins in November will finish out the final two years of that term.  Brown has done nothing to upset her frontrunner status entering the general election.

Utah: Republican incumbent Gary Hebert appears headed for reelection as he enjoys high marks from the GOP and the general public.  However, Jonathan Johnson is not dropping out of the Republican primary.  Under Utah law, if any candidate gets 60% of the vote at the state convention- a real possibility with Hebert- then they are the nominee right then and there.  However, a recent change to the law allows a contender to gain signatures on a petition to force a primary vote regardless of what happens at the state convention.  In this case, Johnson appears content to take his chances at the convention as he is not entertaining the petition option.

Vermont:  EMILY’s List, the pro-death abortion rights group, endorsed Democrat Sue Minter in the Democratic primary race because she has a vagina.  On the GOP side, Shap Smith is apparently back in the race after going on hiatus due to an illness (cancer) in his family.  With the demise of the Democratic incumbent governor and his silly attempt at single-payer health care, Republican chances here are actually better than one would expect in the Socialist State of Vermont.

Another Democrat in the race is Peter Galbraith, son of noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith.  He has an impressive foreign policy resume, but something that may haunt him.  He was once the adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government.  After he left that post, he made some investments in Kurdistan which raised ethical questions.

West Virginia:  Jim Manchin endorsed Jim Justice in the Democratic primary.  Considering how red the state has become, Manchin is essentially the last big name Democrat left in the state.  Manchin is a friend of the Goodwin family and Booth Goodwin is running in the Democratic primary also.  While Governor of the state, Manchin appointed Goodwin’s cousin, Carte, to finish the term of the deceased Robert Byrd.

NOTE: If a race was not listed, there was likely no major news about that race in the past month.  The following is the ratings chart which shows no changes from last month:

G. Herbert- UT M. Pence- IN P. McCrory- NC
(J. Darymple-ND) OPEN
(J. Markell-DE) Open J. Inslee- WA (P. Shumlin-VT) Open (J. Nixon- MO) Open
S. Bullock- MT (E. Tomblin-WV) Open
K. Brown- OR (M. Hassan-NH) Open