Gubernatorial Races in 2016- June Update

There were primaries to be had and commercials to be run and even some jockeying for position in races not even held this year.

INDIANA:  The RGA is out with a second series of ads against Democrat John Gregg accusing him of doing work for Enron while a state official.  They also accuse Gregg of giving the disgraced company tax breaks while raising taxes on ordinary Hoosiers.  A similar tactic was used by Ed Gillespie in the surprisingly close Virginia Senate race in 2014.

MISSOURI:  Things are heating up in the highly contested early August Republican primary.  A group called LG PAC, which supports strong conservatives, is attacking GOP candidate John Brunner for not paying his taxes on time.  Brunner responded with his own ads accusing LG PAC as a faceless special interest opposed to him “because he can’t be bought.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democrat Colin Van Ostern won the endorsement of the 17,000-strong New Hampshire NEA.

NORTH DAKOTA:  In perhaps the biggest electoral surprise thus far this year for Governors, North Dakota voters chose Doug Burgum over Jack Dalrymple’s preferred candidate, state attorney general Wayne Stenehjem who received the backing of the North Dakota GOP at heir convention.  Burgum had been critical towards Stenehjem for refusal to fight Obamacare.  And the North Dakota economy has taken a hit of late due to falling commodity and oil prices.

Another factor was Democratic dalliance in the GOP primary.  North Dakota is the only state that does not have party registration of any type making it easy for crossover voting in primaries.  Liberal talk shows in the state were encouraging Democrats in the state to crossover and vote for Burgum.  The margin of victory was rather impressive and one wonders how successful this strategy was in the end.  Bottom line?  Burgum should have no trouble in November against Democratic challenger Marvin Nelson.

OREGON:  The good news out of Oregon is a poll showing Republican challenger Bud Pierce trailing Democratic incumbent Kate Brown by only 2 points.  The bad news: this is a blue state.  The good news: Pierce almost matched Brown in fundraising (helped by a $780,000 personal loan to his campaign).  The bad news: He spent most of it winning the GOP primary.

Oddly, another poll shows Brown, as Governor, with a 51-41% approval rating which is more than enough to guarantee election.  It should also be noted that this is technically a special election to finish the term of resigned Governor Kitzhaber.  In a midterm year, perhaps Pierce would have a better chance.

VERMONT:  Ex-state senator Matt Dunne is running commercials linking himself to the policies of Bernie Sanders.  Considering that a single-payer health care system in Vermont collapsed under the previous Governor almost costing him his job two years ago and leading to his decision not to run for reelection, I say go for it.  Unfortunately, Vermont is part of the Soviet Socialist Union in the United States and supporting Sanders in Vermont does not take brains to do.  In fact, Dunne’s two primary opponents have adopted similar stances.  Sanders has not endorsed any candidate.  Feeling the Bern…

Dunne also picked up the endorsement of Vermont’s largest labor union- the public worker’s union.  They were leaning towards one of his opponents- Peter Galbraith- but one guesses Dunne was slightly more socialist.

VIRGINIA:  Although there was talk that Senator Mark Warner would run for Governor in 2013, he quickly dismissed any notions of a run in 2017 and endorsed Lt. Governor Ralph Northam’s bid.  That follows on the heels of endorsements from Senator Tim Kaine and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.  Democrats are consolidating early behind Northam.  There are currently three Republicans in the race with Ed Gillespie the early favorite.

WEST VIRGINIA:  The RGA continues to hammer Democrat Jim Justice, who made a fortune in coal, over actions of his company.  They accuse him of getting rich while cheating workers out of overtime pay and illegally laying some off.  They also cite safety violations at mines run by Justice’s company.  Other than Senator Manchin, a gubernatorial victory by the GOP would all but complete their take over of West Virginia politics.


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