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State executive officials 2013 election preview

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October 27, 2013

October 27, 2013 Election Preview

Jump to the race for:
*Virginia Governor
*New Jersey Governor and Lieutenant Governor
*Virginia Lieutenant Governor
*Virginia Attorney General

By The State Executive Officials Team

The 2013 state executive elections being held on November 5, 2013, cover two states, three different positions and four elections. Two gubernatorial seats, two lieutenant gubernatorial seats and one attorney general seat are up for grabs in some heated races. Virginia has the most excitement this year with three of the four elections being decided within the state. New Jersey takes the rest with one election for two seats; Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Below, Ballotpedia has put together a preview of those upcoming elections. Key players and background information have been compiled, as well as a look at the current polling data. Thoughts on the outcome of the race have also been included, projecting two races for the Democrats, one for the Republicans and one toss up.

Virginia's polling hours on Election Day are from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, Eastern time.
New Jersey's polling hours on Election Day are from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, Eastern time.

See also: Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013
Virginia Governor

With only four state executive elections this November, Virginia's gubernatorial race, and its related controversies, has been a top news story in places other than the state of Virginia. Incumbent Republican Bob McDonnell is term limited from running for re-election in 2013. Due to Virginia's strict term limits, Virginia governors cannot serve two consecutive terms. Instead, Republican Ken Cuccinelli entered the gubernatorial race rather than seek another term as Virginia Attorney General.[1] Cuccinelli will face Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis on November 5, 2013.[2][3]

While many of the early election polls through April projected Cuccinelli to lead in the general election, the month of May brought a new twist to this election's narrative. Currently, McAuliffe is leading in most of the polls, we, at Ballotpedia have tracked, including a 52% to 42% lead from the latest Politico poll published October 5–6, 2013. In the same poll, Sarvis, gaining some of Cuccinelli's support, is holding on to a 10% share of support for governor. As these trends became clear to the Republican party, support for Cuccinelli began to dissipate; however, Republican party support for the attorney general race down the ballot has grown. Ballotpedia projects that the Democrats will win this race.

See also: New Jersey gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2013
New Jersey Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Readers worn out from the drama of the Virginia gubernatorial race can rest easy here. In this straightforward election, incumbent Governor Chris Christie (R) and incumbent Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno are running for their second term. In addition, this year's elections will only be the second lieutenant gubernatorial election in New Jersey's history, as well as the second time Christie and Guadagno will have shared the Republican ticket. Christie and Guadagno will face Democratic opponents Barbara Buono for Governor and Milly Silva for Lieutenant Governor.

Buono is a Democratic member of the New Jersey Senate, representing District 18. Buono was first elected to the chamber in 2001 and previously served as Majority Leader and Majority Caucus Leader.[4] Buono selected Silva as her running mate on July 29, 2013. Silva currently holds the position of Executive Vice President for 1199 SEIU, a local health care workers union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.[5]

Christie and Guadagno are expected to easily win this election, as polls have consistently been in favor of Christie and his running mate. The Rutgers Eagleton poll published for the week of October 7, 2013 has the duo up 59% to 33%. Furthermore, Buono and Silva's 33% share of support is actually an improvement from previous polls. A poll published by Fairleigh Dickenson, had Buono and Silva with as little as 25%. Ballotpedia projects that the Republicans will win this race.

See also: Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2013
Virginia Lieutenant Governor

When Virginia incumbent Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling announced he was not seeking re-election this year, nine candidates lined up for a shot to take the seat. In the blue corner, Virginia State Senator Ralph Northam defeated Aneesh Chopra for the Democratic nomination in the June 11 primary election. Northam's opponent, nominated from a sea of seven Republicans, is E.W. Jackson. Jackson was nominated by delegates of the Virginia Republican Party at the party-funded, statewide primary convention held on May 17 and 18.[6][7]

In comparing the two candidates, Northam is a member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 6, while Jackson is a minister at Exodus Faith Ministries, a nondenominational church in Chesapeake, Virginia, which he founded. In contrast to the state's gubernatorial election between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, polls between Northam and Jackson are much closer. In the latest NBC poll from October 13-15, 2013, Northam leads Jackson 48% to 42%. Northam had led in every poll, but in earlier polls by very little with the percentage of undecided voters greater than the support for either candidate. While it appears to be a closer battle than the state's gubernatorial race, Republicans are still putting most of their eggs in the attorney general's basket. While not as definitive as the gubernatorial races, Ballotpedia projects this race is leaning in favor of the Democrats.

See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013
Virginia Attorney General

The incumbent for this race can be found scrambling at the top of this article competing for the governor's seat in the Virginia gubernatorial election. However, his hopeful Republican replacement, Mark Obenshain, is gathering more support from the party as the race becomes closer. In order to prevent a democratic sweep of Virginia, Republican donors who have written off the governor and lieutenant governor seats have turned their attention to the attorney general's race for a Republican victory. Obenshain sits in the best position for the win out of the three Republicans running in November. "This Obenshain thing is very real in Virginia and as the governor's race becomes less of a race, the attorney general's race seems to be the talk," said Chris Jankowski, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee. "Donors are starting to see that Obenshain can get across the line with some more support, and we're obviously the biggest investor."[8]

With Cuccinelli's absence from the state's attorney general race, Governing magazine rated his post as "vulnerable" back in March.[9] The state's Republican convention voted Mark Obenshain into the running over Rob Bell in May, 2013.[10] Obenshain, a member of the Virginia State Senate, will face fellow Senator Mark Herring, who defeated Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary in June.[11] The polls in this race reinforce the notion that it may be the closest state executive race on November 5, 2013. While the Christopher Newport poll ending October 6, 2013 shows Herring up 45% to 42%, the Roanoke University poll, ending the day before on October 5, 2013, has Obenshain leading the race 38% to 35%, with 26% of undecided voters compared to Newport poll's 14%. Ballotpedia believes this race is still a toss up.

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