Gubernatorial Races in 2016- April News

Florida:  Yes…there is no gubernatorial race in Florida until 2018, but court-ordered redistricting may be having an effect on this race already.  After the districts were redrawn, Gwen Graham found herself in an almost impossible predicament of defending the 2nd District.  Graham is a Democrat.  Her best option was to run in the neighboring 5th currently held by Corinne Brown.  When Brown lost her lawsuit against the district lines, she said she would likely seek reelection in the 5th and Graham said she would not challenge Brown in the primary.

Hence, Graham announced she would not run for reelection in the 2nd District and would instead “retire” after only one term.  We should know Graham’s intentions soon since she is being talked up as a possible Democratic candidate for Governor in 2018.  Additionally, she has a hefty $1.78 million campaign war chest which she can transfer to a state account, donate to the Florida Democratic Party, or form a PAC.

The problem for Graham is that she represented only a small part of the state, although her father is a former Senator and Governor.  Additionally, she will likely have some competition in a Democratic primary in 2018 as Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn, Miami mayor Phil Levine and state senator Jeremy Ring all have expressed their intentions to possibly seek the office.

Missouri:  The New York Times  ran a story on Navy Seal Team 6, the contingent that killed Osama bin Laden.  The article was not flattering of team members who parlayed that success into book deals, video games and political office.  Thus, it is not exactly the publicity GOP candidate Eric Greitens was looking for this year.

New Hampshire:  Former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand recently announced that he would seek this office for the Democratic Party which makes three official Democratic candidates thus far.  A fourth, businessman Jim Muskun, has made it known he too may join the field.

North Carolina:  You knew the liberals would come out with guns alight after Pat McCrory signed HB-2 into law.  The DGA and an associated PAC are running ads concentrating on the loss of business in North Carolina the bill has caused.  Recent polling shows that there is agreement with the law among North Carolina’s voting population, and overall.  Those same polls also indicate that the worst effect of the law has been the perception of the state and the loss of business to be the most troubling aspect.

The polls can be used by McCrory to frame the discussion to portray the state in a better light since most North Carolinians agree with the overall purpose of the bill.  In February, Elon University gave state attorney general Roy Cooper a 2-point edge over McCrory.  After the liberal-generated controversy over HB-2, they find that Cooper has opened up a 6-point lead on McCrory.  Survey USA found McCrory going from +2% to minus 4% after signing the bill into law, a 6-point drop.  However, these polls are relatively early in the campaign and may be worth nothing by time November rolls around.  Whatever the case, this is a race very much worth watching.

North Dakota:  At the state convention, Republicans endorsed state attorney general Wayne Stenejhem with 51% of the vote.  Second place finisher Rick Becker, a state senator, immediately dropped out of the race.  A third candidate- businessman Doug Burgum- will still run in the June 14th primary.  Becker did not endorse either candidate.  However, Senator John Hoeven and outgoing Governor Mike Darymple did endorse Stenejhem over Burgum.  Burgum, in turn, had served as campaign co-chair for both Hoeven and Darymple in their previous campaigns.

Meanwhile, the Democrats overwhelmingly endorsed state representative Marvin Nelson who unless something seriously unforeseen happens is the Democratic sacrificial lamb.

Oregon:  Republican Allen Alley is out with advertisements bemoaning Salem’s disconnect from the rest of the state in the Oregon.  He faces Bud Pierce in the GOP primary.  It would truly be an upset should the GOP take this race in November against interim governor Kate Brown who has really done nothing to tarnish her standing.

West Virginia: The RGA is spending $600,000 on advertisements in this race for the May 10th primary.  It supports Bill Cole, the only Republican in the primary, and makes no mention of the Democratic primary.

Race ratings:

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