Democrats Look To Pick Up Wins in Gubernatorial Contests

This is a topic that is crucial in this election cycle.

It is of particular interest to me, as I consider the top of the GOP ticket to be a waste. It was a race that ended the day Donald Trump was named nominee. Meanwhile, there are Republican governors who have suffered from the Trump stain, and are battling to maintain their positions.


Democrats were initially uncertain about their chances to make strides at the gubernatorial level, given the number of conservative states — Missouri, West Virginia and Montana among them — the party had to defend. But the recent polls have given them a reason to be more optimistic.

“We’re in a map right now where we’re pleased, on a race-by-race basis, at how this looks,” said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association. “Everyone expected that 2016 would be a difficult cycle for Democrats because we were defending more.”

Among those struggling are Indiana’s Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb. He stepped up to take Pence’s place as the Republican nominee for that seat, but he’s lagging behind the former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg by about 5 points.

Surveys in two states led by Democrats, Oregon and New Hampshire, show Democrats up by significant margins in gubernatorial races.

A University of New Hampshire poll conducted for WMUR showed Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern (D) leading fellow Executive Councilor Chris Sununu (R) 44 percent to 38 percent. A MassInc poll conducted for WBUR released last week showed Van Ostern up 47 percent to 44 percent. Current Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is running for Senate, hoping to boot the vulnerable GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

In Oregon, polls conducted for The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting show Gov. Kate Brown (D) leading her opponent, little-known physician Bud Pierce (R), by double digits. Republicans had hoped Oregon voters might punish Brown for supporting a ballot measure that would raise corporate tax rates, though the opportunity never materialized

With two weeks remaining before November’s elections, Republicans’ best opportunity to pick off a Democratic-held seat appears to be in Vermont, where unpopular Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) decided not to seek a fourth two-year term. A Castleton Institute poll conducted for Vermont Public Radio this week, the first poll of the race, showed Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) and former state Transportation chief Sue Minter (D) in a statistical tie, with Scott up 39 to 38 percent.



In Missouri, the Democrat nominee for governor, Attorney General Chris Koster is holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger, Eric Greitens, a retired Navy SEAL, by 46 percent to 43 percent.

West Virginia and Montana likewise show the Democrats closer to the governors’ mansions, with only a short amount of time for Republicans to close the gap and bring home a win.

In my own state of North Carolina, Republican rock star, Governor Pat McCrory, in spite of his overwhelming fiscal success, is in a skin-tight battle for his political life, mainly due to the socially courageous stances he has taken on abortion, gay marriage, voter ID, and of late, the “bathroom bill,” which pretty much rejects the feelings of those gentle snowflakes that feel biology is mean and harsh.

If you’re a man, you use the men’s room. If you’re a woman, you use the ladies room. If you’re not sure, stay home.

His opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper has enjoyed the benefit of outside funds from special interest groups in New York and California, who see Governor McCrory’s social stances as their ticket to Raleigh.

For twenty years before Governor McCrory won the office, North Carolina was led by Democrats, and found itself on the bottom of the nation in jobs, education, and with a suffocating tax burden.


But… ballgames.

Depending on what poll you’re looking at, Cooper either holds a slim lead or McCrory does. At this point, it is anybody’s contest.

That being said, there are those who feel the backlash of having such a deeply polarizing GOP presidential nominee may be harming the Republican brand, overall, and turning voters against the party.

And Republicans are poised to lose seats in the Senate and the House, making governorships the party’s only likely path to boost their ranks.

“With a half-dozen or more gubernatorial races within the margin of error in the latest polls, Republicans have a unique opportunity to add to their ranks of governors, flip Democrat seats and continue to drive reform in the states,” said Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association.

That’s optimism.

I think we’ve reached that very critical point before the election, especially with early voting already starting, that Republicans really need to put focus on their governors’ races.

I literally know people who do not know the name of our governor. It is that bad.

These gubernatorial races may make the difference between an absolute blowout on November 8, or the last ray of hope on November 9.



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