Kansas gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014

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Kansas Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date:
August 5, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

Race rating: Lean Republican

November 4 Election Winners:
Gov. Sam Brownback Republican Party
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer Republican Party
Incumbents prior to election:
Gov. Sam Brownback Republican Party
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer Republican Party
Gov. Sam Brownback
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer
Kansas State Executive Elections
Top Ballot
Governor/Lieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney General
Down Ballot
Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner

Current trifecta for Republicans
WhoRunsTheStates Badge.jpg
State executive offices in Kansas
Flag of Kansas.png
The Kansas gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) were first elected on a joint ticket in 2010 and ran together successfully for re-election in 2014. Brownback and Colyer overcame the Democratic ticket of Paul Davis and Jill Docking and the father-son Libertarian Party ticket of Keen A. Umbehr and Josh Umbehr in the general election.

Brownback and Colyer will serve concurrent four-year terms in office. Kansas is one of 12 states to use a strictly closed primary process, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.[1][2][3]

The Kansas gubernatorial race was considered one of the most competitive by publications like The Cook Political Report and The Washington Post, as detailed in the race background section. The race received significant national attention due to close poll results and significant ad spending. Despite the state's conservative reputation, Democrats had won two out of the three preceding gubernatorial elections, as shown in the past elections section.

The competitive gubernatorial contest was the only race on the November ballot that threatened to shift the partisan balance of power in Kansas. Both chambers of the Kansas State Legislature and the governor's office were held by the Republican Party, making Kansas a state government trifecta. The Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas State Senate were considered safe-Republican heading into the 2014 elections. With the governorship facing a potential switch, Kansas was in danger of losing its trifecta status. Learn more about the state's most competitive legislative races on the battleground chambers page.

Candidates

Running mates listed together in order of "Governor/Lieutenant Governor"

General election

Republican Party Sam Brownback/Jeff Colyer- Incumbents Green check mark transparent.png[4][5]
Democratic Party Paul Davis/Jill Docking[6][7][8]
Libertarian Party Keen A. Umbehr/Josh Umbehr[9][10][11]

Lost in primary

Republican Party Jennifer Winn/Robin Lais[12][13]
Libertarian Party Tresa McAlhaney/Grant Nelson[14][15]

Results

General election

Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSam Brownback/Jeff Colyer Incumbent 49.8% 433,196
     Democratic Paul Davis/Jill Docking 46.1% 401,100
     Libertarian Keen Umbehr/Josh Umbehr 4% 35,206
Total Votes 869,502
Election Results via Kansas Secretary of State.

Primary election

Republican primary

Governor/Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSam Brownback/Jeff Colyer Incumbent 63.2% 166,687
Jennifer Winn/Robin Lais 36.8% 96,907
Total Votes 263,594
Election Results Via:Kansas Secretary of State.

Democratic primary

  • Uncontested

Race background

Candidate filing period

On June 2, the filing window for Republican and Democratic candidates pursuing a place on the 2014 Kansas gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial ballot came to a close. One set of Republicans - led by landscape contractor Jennifer Winn - filed to take on the incumbent duo in the August 5 primary election. Meanwhile, Paul Davis, the state House Minority Leader, along with his running mate Jill Docking, were the only Democratic pair to enter the race, earning a free pass to the general election. Also joining the November lineup in advance of the primary election were Libertarian candidates Keen and Josh Umbehr. The father and son ticket knocked out a single set of opponents for their party's nomination at the Kansas Libertarian Party convention, which took place April 26, 2014.[16][17]

Highly competitive race

This contest was considered to be highly competitive, with match-up polls and race ratings dating back to the fall of 2013 underscoring the legitimacy of Davis' threat. One of the first publications to declare Brownback's vulnerability was The Washington Post, which named Kansas as one of its top 15 gubernatorial races of 2014, citing Brownback's poor approval ratings, "well shy of 50 percent."[18] Indeed, Brownback's approval ratings had been hovering around 35 percent since January 2012.[19]

Kansas was one of nine gubernatorial seats to be flagged as a "toss-up" or vulnerable for partisan switch in the 2014 cycle, based on polling data and projections courtesy of The Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball and Governing, among others.[20][21][22]

Republican endorsements for Davis

By July 2014, Brownback's troubles crested when over 100 influential Republicans defected to the Davis campaign. The self-styled "Republicans for Kansas Values," comprised of GOP retirees and current officeholders, explained the unorthodox endorsement of Brownback's Democratic challenger as a response to steep cuts to education funding and tax cuts that contributed to a $340 million budget shortfall during the 2014 fiscal year.[23] Rather than make it a partisan matter, the race "must be about electing a moderate, commonsense Kansan as governor," stated ex-state Senate president Dick Bond on behalf of the group.[24] Polling in July also indicated that 29 percent of Republicans would vote for Davis, which marked a five-point increase from the previous month. These polls, conducted by Survey USA/KSN News, also showed Brownback losing by an average of seven points. In contrast, YouGov poll in July that showed a 10-point lead for Brownback. Polling experts and representatives of each campaign commented on how divergent polling methodologies can yield seemingly irreconcilable results. In this case, such disparities caused a rise in skepticism about the reliability of polling data in the final approach to the November general election, which Brownback ultimately won.[25]

Debates

Debate media

September 19 debate
September 19 debate

Sam Brownback (R), Paul Davis (D) and Keen A. Umbehr (L) shared the stage for a debate sponsored by the Johnson County Public Policy Council. All three candidates took turns explaining why their policies would help the state's largest county. Brownback argued that the controversial tax cuts he proposed have already helped the county increase business development. He also took a swipe at Davis for opposing a proposal to school districts in the county more authority over property tax rates. Davis countered that Brownback's tax policies have depleted funds for schools and roads in the county and the Republican proposal for greater tax authority included a provision taking job protections away from educators. Umbehr advocated for elimination of the income tax, favoring a sales tax that would keep more cash on hand for county residents. Brownback and Davis both opposed a tax on professional services in the county, though Brownback questioned the authenticity of the Democratic candidate's position.[26]

Polls

Governor of Kansas - All candidates
Poll Sam Brownback* (R) Paul Davis (D)Keen Umbehr(L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SurveyUSA/KSN News Poll
June 19-23, 2014
41%47%5%7%+/-3.11,068
SurveyUSA/KSN News Poll
July 23, 2014
40%48%5%7%+/-2.91,208
Public Policy Polling
August 14-17, 2014
37%39%9%15%+/-3.3903
SurveyUSA/KSN-TV
September 4-7, 2014
40%47%5%7%+/-4.2555
Public Policy Polling
September 11-14, 2014
38%42%7%14%+/-2.71,328
Fort Hays State University
September 10-27, 2014
36.5%38.8%8.5%16%+/-3.8952
NBC News/Marist Poll
October 2014
43%44%4%8%+/-3.9636
SurveyUSA/KSN-TV
October 2-5, 2014
42%47%4%7%+/-4.3775
Public Policy Polling
October 9-12, 2014
42%42%6%10%+/-31,081
Rasmussen Reports
October 20-21, 2014
45%52%1%2%+/-3960
NBC News/Marist
October 24, 2014
44%45%5%7%+/-3.6757
KSN/SurveyUSA
October 28, 2014
43%46%5%7%+/-4623
AVERAGES 40.96% 44.82% 5.38% 8.92% +/-3.48 903.83
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Governor of Kansas - Major party candidates and undecided
Poll Sam Brownback * (R) Paul Davis (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
{September 20-October 1, 2014)
45%42%12%+/-32,013
Gravis Marketing
(September 30-October 1, 2014)
40%48%12%+/-3850
Monmouth University
(October 16-19, 2014)
45%50%5%+/-4.7429
Gravis Marketing
(October 20-21, 2014)
44%49%7%+/-31,124
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
{October 16-23, 2014)
43%40%17%+/-41,973
AVERAGES 43.4% 45.8% 10.6% +/-3.54 1,277.8
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Governor of Kansas - Major party candidates, other and undecided
Poll Sam Brownback* (R) Paul Davis (D)OtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
CBS/NYT/YouGov (Without leaners)
July 5-24, 2014
47%37%3%2%+/--1,274
CBS/NYT/YouGov (With leaners)
July 5-24, 2014
52%40%3%2%+/--1,274
Rasmussen
August 6-7, 2014
41%51%3%5%+/-4.0750
Cole Hargrave Snodgrass (R-Brownback)
August 17-30, 2014
43%42%0%0%+/-4.3500
CBS/NYT/YouGov
August 18-September 2, 2014
47%40%2%11%+/-5.0839
Public Policy Polling (Umbehr supporters reallocated
September 11-14, 2014
39%45%0%15%+/-2.71,328
AVERAGES 44.83% 42.5% 1.83% 5.83% +/-2.67 994.17
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Governor of Kansas - Major party candidates and "third party" category
Poll Sam Brownback/Jeff Coyler (R) Paul Davis/Jill Docking (D)Third PartyUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SurveyUSA Poll
(October 23-24, 2013)
39%43%12%6%+/-4.4511
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

A KWCH poll commissioned in October 2013, a little more than a year before the election, showed Davis beating Brownback by four percentage points.[27] Furthermore, the poll found a third of Republicans defecting to Davis, who holds a 58%-28% advantage with moderates.

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Sam
Brownback (R)
Paul
Davis (D)
Other Undecided
Public Policy Polling February 18-20, 2014 693 ± 3.7% 40% 42% - 18%
SurveyUSA October 23–24, 2013 511 ± 4.4% 39% 43% 12% 6%

Campaign media

Sam Brownback


Sam Brownback ad: Carr Brothers

Outside organizations

Kansas Values


Kansas Values ad: Digging

National Education Association


NEA ad: MESS

Republican Governors Association


RGA ad: Taxes

RGA ad: If

Ad spending

The Wesleyan Media Project published a report on September 30, 2014, highlighting spending on gubernatorial races from September 12-25. This report found that Democratic and Republican groups spent a total of $46.84 million on TV ads in 15 states with gubernatorial elections. The following chart details the group's findings, including spending amounts and number of ads:[28]

Note: A bolded number indicates the highest total for this category. A number in italics is the lowest total for this category.

Spending on TV ads, September 12-25, 2014
State Total # of ads  % Democratic-leaning ads  % GOP-leaning ads Total spending-Democratic leaning (in millions of $) Total spending-GOP leaning (in millions of $)
Colorado 2,460 83.1 16.9 1.35 0.39
Connecticut 2,312 61.7 38.3 1.48 0.89
Florida 20,111 38.5 61.5 4.07 6.64
Georgia 4,625 51.1 48.9 1.43 0.99
Illinois 7,793 63.5 36.5 4.17 3.5
Iowa 2,134 47.5 52.5 0.25 0.38
Kansas 5,024 45.7 54.3 0.85 1.17
Maine 3,281 42.3 57.7 0.46 0.32
Michigan 6,767 33.9 66.1 1.14 2.3
Minnesota 1,974 83.9 16.1 0.65 0.29
New York 4,926 61 39 2.18 0.88
Pennsylvania 3,263 50.9 49.1 1.58 1.23
South Carolina 2,883 39.1 60.9 0.33 0.38
Texas 10,330 33.4 66.6 2.24 2.93
Wisconsin 7,374 63.3 36.7 1.36 1.01
TOTALS 85,257 48.2 51.8 23.54 23.3

Past elections

2010

Kansas Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSam Brownback 63.3% 530,760
     Democratic Tom Holland 32.2% 270,166
     Libertarian Andrew P. Gray 2.7% 22,460
     Reform Party Ken Cannon 1.8% 15,397
     Write-in Heath Charles Morris 0% 7
Total Votes 838,790
Election Results Via: Kansas Secretary of State

2006

Kansas Governor, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Sebelius Incumbent 57.9% 491,993
     Republican Jim Barnett 40.4% 343,586
     Libertarian Carl Kramer 1% 8,896
     Reform Party Richard Lee Ranzau 0.6% 5,221
     Write-in Randal G. Trackwell 0% 4
Total Votes 849,700
Election Results Via: Kansas Secretary of State

2002

Kansas Governor, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Sebelius 52.9% 441,858
     Republican Tim Shallenburger 45.1% 376,830
     Libertarian Dennis Hawver 1% 8,097
     Reform Party Ted Pettibone 1.1% 8,907
Total Votes 835,692
Election Results Via: Kansas Secretary of State

Voter turnout

Political scientist Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project studied voter turnout in the 2014 election by looking at the percentage of eligible voters who headed to the polls. McDonald used voting-eligible population (VEP), or the number of eligible voters independent of their current registration status, to calculate turnout rates in each state on November 4. He also incorporated ballots cast for the highest office in each state into his calculation. He estimated that 82,596,338 ballots were cast in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 36.4 percent of the VEP.[29] By comparison, 61.6 percent of VEP voted in the 2008 presidential election and 58.2 percent of VEP voted in the 2012 presidential election.[30]

Quick facts

  • According to PBS Newshour, voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest since the 1942 midterms, which took place during the nation's involvement in World War II.[31]
  • Forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed to surpass 50 percent turnout in McDonald's analysis.
  • The three states with the lowest turnout according to McDonald's analysis were Indiana (28 percent), Texas (28.5 percent) and Utah (28.8 percent).
  • Maine (59.3 percent), Wisconsin (56.9 percent) and Alaska (55.3 percent) were the three states with the highest turnout.
  • There were only 12 states that increased voter turnout in 2014 compared to the 2010 midterm elections.[32]
Voter turnout rates, 2014
State Total votes for top office  % voter eligible population Top statewide office up for election Size of lead (Raw votes) Size of lead (%)
Alabama 1,200,000 33.5 Governor 320,319 27.2
Alaska 290,000 55.3 Governor 4,004 1.6
Arizona 1,550,000 34.4 Governor 143,951 12.5
Arkansas 875,000 41.2 Governor 118,664 14
California 7,750,000 31.8 Governor 1,065,748 17.8
Colorado 2,025,000 53.0 Governor 50,395 2.4
Connecticut 1,089,880 42.3 Governor 26,603 2.5
Delaware 234,038 34.4 Attorney general 31,155 13.6
District of Columbia 150,000 30.3 Mayor 27,934 19
Florida 5,951,561 42.7 Governor 66,127 1.1
Georgia 2,575,000 38.2 Governor 202,685 8
Hawaii 366,125 36.2 Governor 45,323 12.4
Idaho 440,000 39.1 Governor 65,852 14.9
Illinois 3,550,000 39.5 Governor 171,900 4.9
Indiana 1,350,000 28.0 Secretary of state 234,978 17.8
Iowa 1,150,000 50.6 Governor 245,548 21.8
Kansas 875,000 42.8 Governor 33,052 3.9
Kentucky 1,440,000 44.2 U.S. Senate 222,096 15.5
Louisiana 1,472,039 43.8 U.S. Senate 16,401 1.1
Maine 625,000 59.3 Governor 29,820 4.9
Maryland 1,750,000 41.9 Governor 88,648 6.1
Massachusetts 2,150,000 43.9 Governor 40,361 1.9
Michigan 3,151,835 42.7 Governor 129,547 4.3
Minnesota 2,025,000 51.3 Governor 109,776 5.6
Mississippi 650,000 29.7 U.S. Senate 141,234 33
Missouri 1,450,000 32.3 Auditor 684,074 53.6
Montana 365,000 46.1 U.S. Senate 65,262 17.9
Nebraska 550,000 41.3 Governor 97,678 18.7
Nevada 600,000 31.8 Governor 255,793 46.7
New Hampshire 500,000 48.8 Governor 24,924 5.2
New Jersey 1,825,000 30.4 N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico 550,000 38.3 Governor 73,868 14.6
New York 3,900,000 28.8 Governor 476,252 13.4
North Carolina 2,900,000 40.7 U.S. Senate 48,511 1.7
North Dakota 248,670 43.8 U.S. House At-large seat 42,214 17.1
Ohio 3,150,000 36.2 Governor 933,235 30.9
Oklahoma 825,000 29.8 Governor 122,060 14.7
Oregon 1,500,000 52 Governor 59,029 4.5
Pennsylvania 3,500,000 36.1 Governor 339,261 9.8
Rhode Island 325,000 41.7 Governor 14,346 4.5
South Carolina 1,246,301 34.8 Governor 179,089 14.6
South Dakota 279,412 44.5 Governor 124,865 45.1
Tennessee 1,400,000 29.1 Governor 642,214 47.5
Texas 4,750,000 28.5 Governor 957,973 20.4
Utah 550,000 28.8 Attorney general 173,819 35.2
Vermont 193,087 38.8 Governor 2,095 1.1
Virginia 2,200,000 36.7 U.S. Senate 16,727 0.8
Washington 2,050,000 41.6 N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia 460,000 31.8 U.S. Senate 124,667 27.6
Wisconsin 2,425,000 56.9 Governor 137,607 5.7
Wyoming 168,390 38.7 Governor 52,703 33.6
United States 82,596,338 36.4

Note: Information from the United States Elections Project was last updated on November 19, 2014. The results in this table draw from unofficial results as of November 12, 2014.

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
June 2, 2014 Filing deadline (Party Candidates)
August 4, 2014 Filing deadline (Independents)
August 5, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
December 1, 2014 Deadline for State Board of Canvassers to meet
January 12, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials elected in November

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Kansas + Governor + Brownback + Election"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Kansas Gubernatorial election, 2014 News Feed

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See also

External links

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Suggest a link

References

  1. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  4. Lawrence Journal-World, "Brownback running for re-election," June 21, 2013
  5. Lawrence Journal-World, "Brownback running for re-election," June 21, 2013
  6. The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Davis launches Democratic campaign for Kansas governor," September 17, 2013
  7. Wichita Eagle, "Paul Davis forms committee for governor's race," August 8, 2013 (dead link)
  8. Kentucky.com, "Davis teams with Docking in Kansas governor's race," October 22, 2013
  9. Keen A. Umbehr for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed October 8, 2013
  10. Kansas First News, Alma lawyer seeks Libertarian nod for governor, August 29, 2013
  11. The Wichita Eagle, "Physician campaigning as Libertarian dad’s running mate in Kansas governor’s race," May 22, 2014
  12. Jennifer Winn for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed February 18, 2014
  13. Kansas Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Candidates List," accessed June 18, 2014
  14. Tresa McAlhane for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed September 23, 2013 (dead link)
  15. Grant Nelson for Lieutenant Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed September 23, 2013 (dead link)
  16. The Wichita Eagle, "Physician campaigning as Libertarian dad’s running mate in Kansas governor’s race," May 22, 2014
  17. Keen For Kansas, "Home," accessed October 6, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "The Fix's top 15 gubernatorial races of 2014," November 15, 2013
  19. Kansas City Star, "Surveys find a hint of election vulnerability in Gov. Sam Brownback," October 29, 2013
  20. University of Virginia Center for Politics, "2014 Governor," accessed July 30, 2014
  21. Governing, "2014 Governors Races: A Look at the Too-Close-to-Call Contests," March 6, 2014
  22. FiveThirtyEight, "Governors’ Races Are Close, But There’s More Upside For Democrats," July 17, 2014
  23. The New York Times, "Kansas Democrats Turn to Data in Governor's Race," July 30, 2014
  24. The Washington Post, "More than 100 Republicans endorse Democrat against Kansas Gov. Brownback (R)," July 15, 2014
  25. The Wichita Eagle, "Polls on the Kansas governor's race vary widely," July 26, 2014
  26. The Kansas City Star, " At debate, Kansas gubernatorial candidates focus on Johnson County," September 19, 2014
  27. KWCH "FactFinder 12 Survey: Gov. Brownback in danger of being unseated," October 25, 2013
  28. Wesleyan Media Project, "GOP Groups Keeping Senate Contests Close," September 30, 2014
  29. United States Elections Project, "2014 November General Election Turnout Rates," November 7, 2014
  30. TIME, "Voter Turnout in Midterm Elections Hits 72-Year Low," November 10, 2014
  31. PBS, "2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years," November 10, 2014
  32. U.S. News & World Report, "Midterm Turnout Down in 2014," November 5, 2014