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  Talk Elections
  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  Gubernatorial/State Elections (Moderators: Brittain33, Gass3268, Virginiá)
  Alcon's 2005/2006 Election Projection Thread - Governors
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Author Topic: Alcon's 2005/2006 Election Projection Thread - Governors  (Read 10330 times)
Alcon
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« on: May 22, 2005, 08:22:21 pm »
« edited: June 30, 2005, 08:05:40 pm by Alcon »

Index
2005 - All
2006 - Alabama to California
2006 - Colorado to Nevada
2006 - New Hampshire to Vermont
2006 - Wisconsin to Wyoming


As I have way too much free time on my hands. Feel free to post corrections, complaints, and the like liberally.

The range is as follows: Toss-Up, Weak Lean, Lean, Strong Lean, Strong, Safe.

2005 GOVERNOR
New Jersey
Outlook: Strong Lean Democrat
* UPDATE  6/13/05 - Another new Star-Ledger/Rutgers poll shows Corzine up 10, with Corzine in the lower 40's and Forrester in the low 30's. The call remains, although the number of undecideds is surprising.*

* UPDATE - 5/22/05 - A new Star-Ledger/Rutgers poll shows Corzine up 13 against Forrester, and up 20 against Schundler. However, it also shows Corzine at only 42%. The call remains.*

After Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey was outed and ousted in 2004, many Republicans had high hopes of taking back the seat they held as recently as 2001. However, it is definitely worth keeping in mind that that position was held by a rather liberal Republican, Christine Todd Whitman, who has since made it perfectly clear that she is not happy with the modern-day GOP.

The Democrats already have a presumed nominee in Senator Jon Corzine, who won an open seat race in 2000 with only 51% of the vote. Corzine is not the world's strongest candidate, but neither are the Republican's choices: the narrowly favoured Doug Forrester, who lost a 2002 senate bid against Frank Lautenberg 54%-44%, and Bret Schundler, who was defeated by McGreevey 56%-42% in 2001.

Polling so far has been unusually stable for a state race, with the latest mid-April Quinnipac poll showing Corzine defeating Forrester by 10 points and Schundler by 14 points. This is a big reduction from last November, when Corzine was beating Forrester by 21 and Schundler by 22. More significantly, Corzine has since fallen below 50%.

Still, it is hard to argue that Corzine is not favoured here. The race will be won or lost over the summer, but barring any significant further hemorrhaging of approval ratings by Corzine, this Democratic-leaning state will probably be electing another Democratic Governor, regardless of who the GOP nominee is.

Virginia
Outlook: Lean Republican (pick-up)
Virginia is unique in its limiting of all over its Governors to one term, which makes gubernatoral races in the Old Dominion something to see. Popular outgoing Democrat Mark Warner managed to get elected as a likeable centrist, and any Democrat looking to take the office will naturally need to make themselves look very moderate very quickly.

Lt. Governor Tim Kaine is the Democrat's natural nominee and is challenging former Republican state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Even with Warner's generally positive legacy, Kilgore still seems to have a small advantage in this race. Recent polls show Kilgore ahead of Kaine by nearly ten points, with his lead only increasing.

Another possible GOP spoiler is independent candidates. State Senator Russ Potts, a Republican running as an independent, already has ballot access. He could be a major thorn in the side of Kilgore, but the Republicans could easily point out that Potts is in many ways more liberal than conservative. It could very much matter what kind of voters are attracted by Potts come November.

Another possible conservative spoiler running as an independent is George Fitch, mayor of the wealthy, conservative town of Warrenton. He hasn't yet gained ballot access, but he seems to be running heavily on an anti-big government platform, which could attract an entirely different segment of the Republican Party than Potts. He isn't receiving much media attention, but even a showing of 1% could be a major factor in the election if it becomes closer. Still, though, in the absence of Mark Warner, it appears that the Republicans are likely to pick up the seat, and the race would need to be much closer for Potts and Fitch to matter.

2006 GOVERNOR
Alabama
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat (pick-up)
In Birmingham, they don't love the Governor quite as much as they used to. After ousting a Democrat in 2002, Republican Bob Riley has experienced a rocky term after proposing tax reform that raised taxes on wealthy Alabamans. Unsurprisingly, the measure failed spectacularly (also unsurprisingly, on the vote of the working class, who stood to benefit most) and Riley took a huge political hit.

Although his approval ratings have recovered somewhat, Riley still is not popular in the Heart of Dixie. To add to his troubles, Roy Moore, the judge who refused to remove the Ten Commandments, may very well vie for his nomination.

Options on the Democratic side include ousted one-term Governor Don Siegelman, who has held an impressive number of statewide offices in addition to Governor. Another option is current Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley. Being the "reform" candidate has always been an effective strategy in the southern states, and Sieglman or Baxley may end up finding themselves winning under the odd circumstance of Riley being too liberal for Alabama.

By 2006, some of the hurt may wear off, but it's safe to say that Bob Riley isn't safe. A recent poll shows Riley down 18 points in a theoretical race against Siegelman - bad numbers even two years before the election.

Alaska
Outlook: Toss-Up/Republican
So far, no Democrat has stepped up to challenge unpopular Republican Governor Frank Murkowski, whose appointment of daughter Lisa Murkowski struck some Alaskans as reeking of nepotism.

Although this is a heavily Republican state, and the younger Murkowski did get re-elected, the Governor's approval ratings have not recovered greatly. This sets him up for a tough row to hoe in 2006, and there's some chance he won't even bother running. This would leave the race likely to contain two relative unknowns.

For now, there's just no telling who will be running in the 2006 Alaska race, let alone who will win. A complete toss-up is likely until the fog over the Great Frontier clears.

Arizona
Outlook: Strong Democrat
After a close victory in 2002, Democrat Janet Napolitano has had a good term and seems strong for 2006. J.D. Hayworth, a strong GOP congressman, has announced he isn't running. No other notable challengers have stepped on to the plate on the GOP side, leaving this race looking like a Democratic keep.

Arkansas
Outlook: Weak Lean Republican
Arkansas may be a solidly Republican state on the national level, but it doesn't seem too adverse to electing Democrats on the statewide level. With term-limited but popular Republican Governor Mike Huckabee leaving, citizens of the Natural State have a spirited open seat election to look forward to.

Democrats have more or less settled on their nominee, Attorney General Mike Beebe, while Republicans are seeing a tense battle between former Congressman Asa Hutchinson and Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller. Although a close primary match is never great news come general election time, if a unified GOP force is able to emerge for 2006, the party is likely to have a slight advantage in this red state. Otherwise, this could become an excellent pick-up opportunity for the  Democrats in an area where they are decidedly hurting.

California
Outlook: Toss-Up/Democrat (pick-up)
Incumbnent moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger is not as popular as he used to be.  He's now deeply in the approval rating hole, and a recent poll shows that he actually may lose to an otherwise weak Democrat.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides is Schwarzenegger's polar opposite, but could galvanize the electorate. Uncharismatic and experienced, Angelides could easily provide another opportunity for Schwarzenegger to "terminate" the political establishment. On the other hand, State Controller and eBay executive Steve Westly is more of an outsider. However, the Democratic Party walks a line here: how can they avoid looking like the same old in contrast to Schwarzenegger's populist flare while at the same time capitalizing on Schwarzenegger's relative lack of political experience?

This race partially depends on how much Californians blame Schwarzenegger for the unfriendly political atmosphere and a partisan divide that he has largely made little process on reducing in a state with a distinctly Democratic lean.  And, although it is very likely that this race will change back into Schwarzenegger's hands - and I have a feeling probably will in the end - today, Schwarzenegger probably would go down for a close loss.
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Alcon
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2005, 08:30:09 pm »
« Edited: June 29, 2005, 07:54:40 pm by Alcon »

Colorado
Outlook: Weak Lean Republican
Term limits have ousted popular Republican Bill Owens from the Colorado Governor's seat and produced yet another competitive open-seat race in a state that is becoming more competitive on the state and national level.

Congressman Bob Beauprez, a Republican representing the northern Denver suburbs, is the likely GOP nominee against the slightly less solidified Democratic challenger, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. In a state where suburbs are an important and Republican-leaning voting block, one initially has to give Beauprez the advantage, albeit a narrow one.

Now, if freshman Senator Ken Salazar runs, which is rumoured, th Democrats might have a small advantage here. Keep an eye on this one.

Connecticut
Outlook: Strong Republcan
After formerly popular Republican Governor John Rowland was found to be corrupt and ran out of town on a rail, Lt. Governor Jodi Rell took over the statehouse. Rell successfully cleaned out the statehouse and became a folk hero in the normally liberal Democratic state. Although her approval ratings have fallen a bit over time, she still rings in at an impressive 67%-20% in most polls. Rell is probably unbeatable, and this seat will likely remain Republican unless she resigns.

Florida
Outlook: Strong Lean Republican
After taking a hit on the Terri Schiavo case, retiring Governor Jeb Bush is not as popular as he used to be, but he's not running, so Florida is likely to return to a Republican-leaning state in an open seat election.

There are three major Republican nominees: Attorney General Charlie Crist and state CFO Tom Gallagher are in a highly competitive battle, with Lt. Governor Toni Jennings not far behind. The Democrats have the lesser-known Congressman Jim Davis and party Chairman Scott Maddox.

Although the primary could hurt the GOP candidate, it's hard to see many situations that would not result in a Republican advantage come election time, and polling indicates that the GOP has a very large initial lead.

Georgia
Outlook: Lean Republican
Although incumbent Republican Governor Sonny Perdue is not exceptionally popular, it is difficult to see this state switching sides. Secretary of State Cathy Cox is probably the best bet for the Democrats, and would make the race very competitive, while Lt. Governor Mark Taylor would probably be defeated soundly. Cox will make this a close race, and anything could happen between now and 2006.

Hawaii
Outlook: Strong Republican
Incumbent Governor Linda Lingle is an extremely popular Republican, and has managed to appeal to even moderate Democrats in this liberal state. No challengers on the Democratic side have appeared, but for now this race is simply a strong lean, as no Republican in Hawaii can ever really be safe. However, unless the Democrats find a decent candidate, a landslide is fairly likely.

Idaho
Outlook: Safe Republican
Fairly popular Republican Governor Dick Kempthorne is out, leaving unfortunately-named Congressman Butch Otter as his likely successor. Otter, elected with 70% in his northern Idaho district in 2004, is probably more threatened by jokes about his full name ("Butch" is a nickname, by the way - his real name is Clement Leroy Otter) than anyone the Democrats can put out. Although Otter is on the record as being against the PATRIOT Act, he's unlikely to face a significant primary challenge.

Illinois
Outlook: Lean Democrat
Here's another state where an unpopular incumbent will probably win due to the lack of a decent challenger: Rod Blagojevich has a net 18 point disapproval rating but, in this solidly Democratic state, that just might not be enough. One notable challenger is Ray LaHood, a moderate Republican from a mostly rural district west of Chicago. But it's unlikely LaHood will give up his extremely safe congressional seat for a gamble at the statehouse. But, with an unpopular incumbent, nothing can be taken for granted, especially before the Republican has announced.

Iowa
Outlook: Weak Lean Republican (pick-up)
Iowa is the exception to the rule, a farming state that still retains many elements of its past fierce progressivism intact. Retiring Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, is making way for what will probably be an extremely competitive race between probable GOP nominee Congressman Jim Nussle and a range of Democratic challengers, the most likely nominee being Secretary of State Chet Culver. This is anybody's race, and the Republicans stand an excellent chance of taking the state's Governorship. Early polling indicates that Nussle has the edge against Culver, though.

Kansas
Outlook: Lean Democrat
In this solidly Republican state, there's nothing guaranteeing that fairly popular Governor Kathleen Sebelius will be able to retain the office she won narrowly in 2002. A strong Republican challenger would stand a very good chance of winning, but so far the only GOPer to throw their hat into the ring is Kansas Speaker of the House Doug Mays, a decent but somewhat weak nominee. Still, though, nothing is certain in this land of deep red.

Maine
Outlook: Lean Democrat
Incumbent Democrat John Baldacci is not doing so hot. Once thought to be a lock-in for re-election, recent polls have shown him with an 18-point approval deficit. However, the state Republican Party is not doing amazingly and so far no notable Republicans have jumped into the race. In the state of moderate, fiercely independent Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, though, Baldacci could find himself in a very competitive race with the right opponent.

Maryland
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat (pick-up)
Incumbent Republican Bob Ehrlich is certainly a politically talented man. He's managed to maintain a net approval rating despite being a proud conservative in very blue Maryland. However, polls suggest that Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley has the initial advantage in this race. Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is another possible choice for the Democrats, although he is trailing in the primary and his chances in the General are much more unclear.

Although incumbency is likely to play a major role, for now, this is looking like a narrow Democratic pick-up.

Massachusetts
Outlook: Weak Lean Republican
Mitt Romney is a socially right-of-center Mormon, and probably not exactly the person you'd expect to be elected Governor of Massachusetts. But, yet, Romney has managed to capitalize on poor Dem candidates and the worry of Bay State voters that they may be within inches of creating a one-party state.

Moderate Democratic Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly is the likely nominee, and will give Romney a run for his money. One to watch, but we will initially give Romney the advantage before polling data materializes.

Michigan
Outlook: Lean Democrat
Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm is decidedly unpopular in the state, with a disapproval rate 21 percentage points higher than her approval. However, the Republicans have yet to find a remotely interesting candidate, so the initial advantage is Granholm's.

Minnesota
Outlook: Strong Lean Republican
After the chaotic administration of pro-wrestling independent Jesse Ventura, Minnesota voters were perfectly happy to vote in the serious, efficient Tim Pawlenty. A possibly strong challenger could materialize in the form of Attorney General Mike Hatch, but incumbents of Pawlenty's popularity are rarely swept out of office, and Minnesota isn't strong enough of a Democratic state to make a partisan upset all that likely.

Nebraska
Outlook: Safe Republican
Incumbent Republican Governor Dave Heineman is very popular. He has not made any notable mistakes during his political tenure, and is conservative and a good fit for the state of Nebraska overall. So it is probably surprising to most to learn that it is likely that he will be defeated in the primary by Congressman Tom Osborne, who represents Nebraska's more-Republican-than-Utah third congressional district. This race is all about the pigskin though: Osborne will probably be nominated because he was the coach for the University of Nebraska. This may seem strange to outsiders, but football in Nebraska transcends politics. It will be a primary to see.

The general, on the other hand, will be like watching corn grow: Osborne (or, in an upset, Heineman) will crush Three-Legged-Mule (D).

Nevada
Outlook: Strong Republican
With highly popular Republican Kenny Guinn term-limited, northern Nevada Congressman Jim Gibbons is the GOP's probable nominee. Gibbons is virtually a shoo-in, although he is known to make frequent verbal gaffes. Gibbons would have to make quite a few of them to lose, though, and no Democrats have yet stepped up to bat.
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Alcon
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2005, 08:31:36 pm »

More coming sooner, rather than later.
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AuH2O
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2005, 08:36:27 pm »

There are fairly strong rumors Ken Salazar might run for Governor, then appointing his replacement should he win.

I hope Roy Moore runs in AL. Good times had by all... politics fans, that is.
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Ben Meyers
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2005, 08:37:53 pm »

Very interesting and good outlook on things Alcon Smiley
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Q
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2005, 10:16:27 am »

Nice work, Alcon.

But I think Georgia may be closer than you predict.  Taylor would lose to Perdue, but not by a landslide - almost certainly less than 10%.

And if Cox is the nominee, which is likely, this race should probably be a tossup, with perhaps slight GOP advantage, but due solely to incumbency and not strength on the part of Perdue.

Recent polls here shown Cox within 1 to 3 points of Perdue.
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MissCatholic
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2005, 10:25:34 am »

Good job Alcon.

I hope that the dems can find a good candidate in CO. We need to continue to put pressure in the state. Winning this could lead to another victory in the senate race of 08. It would be nice if Sebelius and Freudenthal could keep there seats.
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TheresNoMoney
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2005, 10:56:57 am »

Good analysis, but I think California is a toss-up, definitely not "Strong lean Republican".

Looks like the Democrats have a good chance to retake the majority of the state houses in 2006.
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A18
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2005, 11:03:28 am »

No, that almost certainly will not happen.
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giving birth to thunder
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2005, 11:07:22 am »

You're wrong about Minnesota. Pawlenty will have a serious challenger, it's basically already been confirmed to be Attorney General Mike Hatch. And he was caught in some scandals awhile ago, so saying a scandal is so unlikely is incorrect.
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2005, 11:19:56 am »

I'll be interested to see your analysis of Ohio.  I would expect pretty much anybody who's too closely linked to Bob Taft to go down in flames.  That would rule out Ken "Nutjob" Blackwell in my books.  With Strickland running, there's a definite strong Dem lean.
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Alcon
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2005, 02:35:36 pm »

I have several states done (working on Oregon) that I'll wait to post until I can entirely finish a decent batch.

I did the following today as an update:
- Changed Georgia from Strong Lean Republican to Lean Republican per Q's post. Thanks for the information.
- Grudgingly changed Minnesota from Strong Republican to Strong Lean Republican. I'll wait for poll information here, but I just am wary to give a close designation on a state with a very popular governor.

Scoonie, if you're willing to defend a designation of California as Toss-Up, I'm willing to listen. However, I'm not going to go on gut feeling here.

Thanks everyone.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2005, 03:06:20 pm »

Last time I checked, Baxley is beating pretty much everyone in the polls; Siegelman took a big hit from some (either false or unproven) allegations a while back. Unusually, the mud stuck. Mind you there's been so much of that thrown at him over his career that that was always going to happen eventually...
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Sam Spade
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2005, 03:15:47 pm »

All of these look correct to me at this time.

However, I might downgrade Arnold (CA) to lean Republican (based on popularity polls), upgrade Lingle (HI) to strong Republican (based on popularity polls.

If either Crist or Gallagher get the nomination in Florida (especially Crist), it's going to be hard for any Democrat presently running to have a fighting chance, fyi.  They're both two extremely strong candidates.
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Alcon
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2005, 03:20:55 pm »

Last time I checked, Baxley is beating pretty much everyone in the polls; Siegelman took a big hit from some (either false or unproven) allegations a while back. Unusually, the mud stuck. Mind you there's been so much of that thrown at him over his career that that was always going to happen eventually...

Thanks for this information. I was unaware of the poll. I updated Alabama to Weak Lean Democrat.

All of these look correct to me at this time.

However, I might downgrade Arnold (CA) to lean Republican (based on popularity polls), upgrade Lingle (HI) to strong Republican (based on popularity polls.

I did both of these. I was on the fence, but I now agree with you.

If either Crist or Gallagher get the nomination in Florida (especially Crist), it's going to be hard for any Democrat presently running to have a fighting chance, fyi.  They're both two extremely strong candidates.

Yeah, that's why I have Florida as Lean Republican. I might change that pending poll data.

Thanks again for the feedback.
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Dave from Michigan
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2005, 04:18:45 pm »

Granholm will win by at least 5%.  I really don't think that one poll was right, although the other polls taken that have been more favorable to her, aren't always that accurate.  No good republicans will run, like Cox, Miller, or Rogers which means she will win.  The reason the polls may look bad for her is most likely the economy, unemployment is 7%.  I bet if they did a head to head matchup poll against a republican she would be near 50%.
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Alcon
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2005, 07:30:27 pm »
« Edited: June 29, 2005, 11:12:32 am by Alcon »

New Hampshire
Outlook: Strong Lean Democrat
There are only two states that have two-year terms for their Governors, and New Hampshire is one of them (Vermont is the other). Democratic incumbent John Lynch is unlikely to be a one-term Governor like his predecessor, Republican Craig Benson. Lynch's approval ratings are very good (50-29) and new residents from Massachusetts continue to move the electorate to the left.

So far, no Republicans have announced that they are running, and it's unlikely that any major one will in a race that is very likely to stay Democratic.

New Mexico
Outlook: Strong Lean Democrat
With very good approval ratings and no significant challenge on the radar, Democrat Bill Richardson is unlikely to be going anywhere - other than, perhaps, the Presidency.

New York
Outlook: Strong Lean Democrat (pick-up)
The northeast may be solidly Democratic at the national level, but it doesn't seem to have any qualm with electing Republican Governors. However, it is looking increasingly clear that the twelve-year administration of Republican George Pataki in New York is coming to an end.

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has astounding approval ratings, and most polls show him beating Pataki by around 20 points. That says enough for Pataki's chances that he may not even bother to run, in which case it's hard to see this seat going to the GOP.

Ohio
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat (pick-up)
First off, I'd like to take the opportunity to ponder how in the world Republican Governor Bob Taft has managed to garner himself a 74%-19% disapproval rating. Although I have heard that Taft is widely considered an ineffective and clueless leader from even strong Ohio Republicans, 74-19 is a "publicly devour kittens" approval rating.

Ohio has not elected a Democratic Governor in almost 15 years, which could easily provide any challenging Democrat a great plank to run on, especially with the term-limited Taft's widespread unpopularity.

The Republicans, however, have a range of good candidates: African-American Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Attorney General Jim Petro, and State Auditor Betty Montgomery. On the other side, Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland, who represents a moderate rural district, is instantly favoured over Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and ex-Attorney General Lee Fisher. The current front-runners are Blackwell and Strickland, and such a match-up would probably be a decent Strickland victory.

The early advantage is probably Strickwell's overall, but there's still the possibility of a run by talk show host Jerry Springer. Now, if Ohio state law allowed, I'm sure everyone (not from Ohio) would be extremely entertained by an idea of a Springer/Taft contest. Sadly, term limits allow us only to dream.

Oklahoma
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat
In a state where Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry lost all 77 counties, and the state as a whole by a  2-to-1 margin, it's not easy to get elected as a member of the People's Party. Even conservative-leaning Dem Brad Carson went down to defeat against the extremely conservative Tom Coburn in 2004.

Incumbent Brad Henry managed it, albeit with only 43 percent and a conservative independent doing very well, in 2002. The likely challenger is Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, who is a fairly weak candidate, but still a definite risk for Henry in such a Republican state. Congressman J.C. Watts, a black Republican Congressman who represents the district that Henry relied on most for his 2002 election, will probably win by a decent margin if he runs.

Oregon
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat
With an eighteen point approval deficit, Democratic incumbent Ted Kulongoski is in trouble even if the Oregon Republican Party isn't able to find themselves a good candidate. And lately, with the Oregon GOP as it is, that doesn't seem too unlikely. So far the best challenger is Kevin Mannix, the state party chair who lost to Kulongoski in 2002 by a small margin. Another less likely option is attorney Ron Saxton.

Voters fatigued by Kulongoski may still vote for him, though, against a candidate they have previously rejected in an open-seat election. Mannix is not all that popular, though, and Oregon voters may go with the option they know best come 2006. Until the race develops fully, this Democratic-leaning state is likely to have a slant toward a Democratic incumbent, even an unpopular one, as long as all of the challengers are weak candidates.

Pennsylvania
Outlook: Lean Democrat
Pennsylvania Republicans are hoping to unseat incumbent Ed Rendell. With decent, but sub-50% approval ratings, Rendell is a respected, albeit divisive figure. Much buzz earlier this year surrounded former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, but Swann has polled under Rendell quite a bit and the gender gap is huge. Although initially it is quite possible that the male football fan vote would give Swann the victory, it's more likely that his support among men would erode over time than that his female support would increase.

Probably a better choice for the Keystone State GOP is Bruce Castor, District Attorney in the Dem-leaning Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County. Castor may not have Swann's name recognition, but he would definitely cut into the southeast Pennsylvania vote, a crucial part of a Rendell victory.

While Rendell will likely be facing a competitive election come 2006, no candidate has a definite advantage at this time, and it is always difficult to unseat a Governor with a net approval rating.

Rhode Island
Outlook: Strong Lean Republican
Rhode Island's Republican Governor, Donald Carcieri, is by no means outrageously popular in his home state - he just nets a 50% approval rating with 39% disapproval - but with few major challenges on the horizon, he's likely to keep the seat. Still, Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty could manage an upset, but it's unlikely, especially with no coattails from the Democratic Presidential candidate.

South Carolina
Outlook: Strong Republican
It's not that Governor Mark Sanford is ultra-popular in South Carolina (although he has a respectable approval rating about 20 percentage points higher than his disapproval). It's more that Sanford is "popular enough" and the Democratic Party in the Palmetto State is dead in the water. The only reason, in fact, Sanford is even somewhat vulnerable is that he has became known for fighting with the Republican-controlled general assembly, which has somewhat perturbed many South Carolinians. Democratic state senator Tommy Moore may be able to capitalize on this, but a win for him is not all that likely.

Everyone who has been mentioned as a potential nominee would be trivial for Sanford, who may be destined for a Presidential campaign. The only thing keeping this from a safe designation is Sanford's previously mentioned approval ratings that are, while excellent, lower than what they usually are for an incumbent regarded as this safe.

South Dakota
Outlook: Safe Republican
South Dakota hasn't had a Democratic Governor since 1979, and it probably won't anytime soon. The current Governor, Mike Rounds, more or less ties with North Dakota's John Hoeven for the title of the country's most beloved state leader. Especially in a strong Republican state like South Dakota, an incumbent GOPer with a 70-19 approval rating isn't going anywhere.

Tennessee
Outlook: Strong Lean Democrat
Phil Bredesen is in the odd position of being liked more by the Republicans than by his own party.  But in all likelihood, this will help him in 2006, with most Democrats - even those that disapprove of him - probably grudgingly voting for him, and with significant GOP crossover. His approval ratings may not be the most amazing in the world, but this unique situation may be the sort of brilliant political strategy that will allow him to keep his job for a long while now.

Texas
Outlook: Strong Republican
Incumbnent Republican Rick Perry is doing horribly for a Republican in Texas, with significant disapprovals. But, of course, the best the Democrats can come up with is primary-eliminated ex-Congressman Chris Bell. The Republicans have either Perry or Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, but both could easily get elected over Bell. Until the Democrats can find a competent candidate, which might be a while, this race looks to be a pretty safe GOP lock.

The incomparably brilliant and strange Jewish country singer, Kinky Friedman, is also making a lighthearted run. Kinky is obviously not going to win, but will probably bring a good deal of fun to what otherwise may become a very nasty race.

Vermont
Outlook: Strong Lean Republican
Vermont was a surprise as Democrat John Kerry's second-strongest state in 2004, beating stronghold Rhode Island ot compete with Massachusetts' title of most blue. However, Vermonters are ferociously independent, and moderate Republican Jim Douglas looks solid for a second term. With approval ratings around 60 percent and no significant challenge from the Democrats, this race looks fairly sound for the GOP, although a good Democrat cannot be discounted in this very Democratic state.

It's worth noting that Vermont is one of two states that has two year terms (the other being New Hampshire), and generally - like in New Hampshire - popular Governors like Douglas survive the "mid-term" elections.
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Rob
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2005, 07:36:11 pm »
« Edited: May 23, 2005, 07:37:53 pm by Bob »

Oregon
Outlook: Weak Lean Democrat
With an eighteen point approval deficit, Democratic incumbent Ted Kulongowski is in trouble even if the Oregon Republican Party isn't able to find themselves a good candidate. And lately, with the Oregon GOP as it is, that doesn't seem too unlikely. So far the best challenger is Kevin Mannix, the state party chair who lost to Kulongowski in 2002 by a small margin. Another less likely option is attorney Ron Saxton.

Voters fatigued by Kulongowski may still vote for him, though, against a candidate they have previously rejected in an open-seat election. Mannix is not all that popular, though, and Oregon voters may go with the option they know best come 2006. Until the race develops fully, this Democratic-leaning state is likely to have a slant toward a Democratic incumbent, even an unpopular one, as long as all of the challengers are weak candidates.

It's Kulongoski (sorry, but I had to point that out Wink). The rest of the analysis is good.
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2005, 07:36:23 pm »

Excellent analysis.

Blackwell and Strickland seem to be the frontrunners in Ohio right now, but obviously that could change at any point.  In that particular match-up, the moderate Strickland beats the nutjob conservative Blackwell hands down.
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2005, 07:49:22 pm »

Thanks, Joe. I'm changing the Ohio analysis to note that.

It's Kulongoski (sorry, but I had to point that out Wink). The rest of the analysis is good.

Haha, not a problem. I have trouble remembering his name. I honestly did not know the name of your Governor until rather recently, and still can't seem to remember it for some reason. It's very weird that I had never heard of him before now, actually.

I also fixed a few other grammar errors, such as my spelling of "incumbent" with three n's somehow.
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Joe Biden 2020
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2005, 09:50:32 pm »

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Very good analysis of the land-of-the-red-man.  (Oklahoma means land of the red man).   We are a very Republican state while the majority of registered voters are still Democrat.  Thats why Brad Henry won in 2002, albeit by a razor thin margin over former Seattle Seahawk Steve Largent.  He is the early favorite to win a second and final term as Governor.  He ranks 10th in approval ratings in the country's governors.  He does have two formidable GOP opponents Lt. Governor Mary Fallin and Former Congressman JC Watts, Jr..

In Oklahoma, the Governor and Lt Governor run on separate tickets and in the Lt Governor's Race we've got State House Speaker Todd Hiett (R) and State House Minority Leader Jari Askins (D), Former Congressman Brad Carson (D) and Secretary of State Susan Savage (D) among others.
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No more McShame
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2005, 02:26:35 am »

Symington announced that he isn't running in Arizona.  Most observers here think it'll be Marylin Quayle for the Republicans, which would be a disaster.  Personally, I'd like to see a little-known state rep run and lose by a shockingly little margin since most people think Queen Janet will have a cakewalk.  I don't see somebody out there that could defeat her, but I still think she'll have a tougher fight than she thinks with some of the shenanigans she's pulling right now.  I hope I'm wrong and she get's her butt booted out of office.
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Democratic Hawk
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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2005, 12:15:15 pm »

Neat work Smiley, Alcon

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your projections

Dave
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MHS2002
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2005, 04:55:22 pm »

Virginia
Outlook: Weak Lean Republican (pick-up)
Virginia is unique in its limiting of all over its Governors to one term, which makes gubernatoral races in the Old Dominion something to see. Popular outgoing Democrat Mark Warner managed to get elected as a tax-cutting centrist, and any Democrat looking to take the office will naturally need to make themselves look very moderate very quickly.

Lt. Governor Tim Kaine is the Democrat's natural nominee and is challenging former Republican state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Even with Warner's generally positive legacy, Kilgore still seems to have a small advantage in this race. A May 2005 Survey USA poll gives Kilgore a four point advantage over Kaine, but with nearly half a year to go, that's not anywhere near a comfortable lead.

Another possible GOP spoiler is independent candidates. State Senator Russ Potts, a Republican running as an independent, already has ballot access. He could be a major thorn in the side of Kilgore, but the Republicans could easily point out that Potts is in many ways more liberal than conservative. It could very much matter what kind of voters are attracted by Potts come November.

Another possible conservative spoiler running as an independent is George Fitch, mayor of the wealthy, conservative town of Warrenton. He hasn't yet gained ballot access, but he seems to be running heavily on an anti-big government platform, which could attract an entirely different segment of the Republican Party than Potts. He isn't receiving much media attention, but even a showing of 1% could be a major factor in the election.

Good analysis Alcon.

I would dispute Warner's stance as a tax-cutter, as one of the things he is best known for in the state is his tax increase last year. However he is very popular in this state and is generally regarded as being fairly centrist.

A couple other things:
Kilgore and Kaine have both positioned themselves as pro-second amendment (a big issue for voters in the Southwest) and both have remarked about the rising property taxes (a big issue for voters in Northern Virginia). So far, neither candidate has distinguished himself.

A couple of points about Russ Potts:
He's been abandoned by the Republican party all throughout the state, and Republicans in the Virginia state Senate tried to get his  positions on various committees stripped (they failed however). The local Republican organizations in his Senate district (Potts is my state Senator...something I'm not proud of) have expelled Potts from the Republican party, I believe.

Anyway, there's some of my thoughts. Great analysis however Smiley
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True Federalist
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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2005, 06:16:13 pm »

South Carolina
Outlook: Strong Republican
It's not that Governor Mark Sanford is ultra-popular in South Carolina (although he has a respectable approval rating about 20 percentage points higher than his disapproval). It's more that Sanford is "popular enough" and the Democratic Party in the Palmetto State is dead in the water. Everyone who has been mentioned as a potential nominee would be trivial for Sanford, who may be destined for a Presidential campaign. The only thing keeping this from a safe designation is Sanford's previously mentioned approval ratings that are, while excellent, lower than what they usually are for an incumbent regarded as this safe.

I agree with you that this is a Strong, but not Safe Republican Seat.  I would however mention that Sanford's weakness stems in part from infighting with Assembly Republicans.  It'll be a little easier to handicap this race in a couple of weeks when the General Assembly session is over.  State Senator Tommy Moore is the leading Democratic contender and is likely to prove capable enough to derail Sanford's Presidential possibilities, even if Sanford is re-elected.  Another possibility of how Sanford's hopes may be dashed is who ends up being elected as Lt. Gov.  Incumbent Andre Bauer is lightly enough regarded that his re-election is less probable than Sanford's.  If Sanford has a Democrat Lt. Gov., he will likely be unable to gain the necessary support for a Presidential run.
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