The Executive Summary: 2014 election season looms on the horizon
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Edited by Greg Janetka
MADISON, Wisconsin: This edition of The Executive Summary features a preview of the 2014 election season. Additionally we take a look at the unfolding controversy surrounding the Governor of Virginia, keep you up to date on 2013 elections, and toss a trivia question your way.
Ballotpedia has counted and is currently tracking a total of 213 state executive positions in 41 states that will be on the ballot next year. That is more than double the number of positions that were elected in 2012, when 94 positions were elected. The nine states that are not holding executive official elections in 2014 are Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
The offices up for election include:
- 36 governors
- 30 lieutenant governors
- 30 attorneys general
- 26 secretaries of state
- 25 treasurers
- 15 auditors
- 13 public service commissioners
- 9 controllers/comptrollers
- 8 superintendents of schools
- 7 agriculture commissioners
- 4 insurance commissioners
- 3 education commissioners
- 2 labor commissioners
- 1 adjutant general
- 1 mine inspector
- 1 natural resource commissioner
- 1 railroad commissioner
- 1 tax commissioner
Ballotpedia is constantly tracking potential and declared candidates for these races and have thus far counted 191, but with 18 months to go until the general election on November 4, 2014, who will be left standing is anybody’s guess.
Of those states holding gubernatorial elections in 2014, six (FL, IL, MA, ME, PA, and RI) are currently considered most likely to face partisan switch, according to polling figures and reports from The Washington Post, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Governing. The vulnerable governor seats are held by the following incumbents:
- Florida - Rick Scott (R) is running for re-election
- Illinois - Pat Quinn (D) is running for re-election
- Massachusetts - Deval Patrick (D) is retiring rather than seek re-election
- Maine - Paul LePage (R) is running for re-election
- Pennsylvania - Tom Corbett (R) is running for re-election
- Governor of Rhode Island - Lincoln Chafee (I) is running for re-election
For full details on these, as well as the 207 other races Ballotpedia covers, see State executive official elections, 2014. And be sure to keep your eye on future editions of The Executive Summary for all the latest updates. Know about a race or candidate we’ve missed? Send us an email at StateExecutives@ballotpedia.org
Recent notable candidates
- New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas (D) declared his intention to run for Attorney General. The seat will be open as current incumbent Gary King (D) is making a bid for governor.
- Former Rhode Island General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio (D) is looking at a potential run for his old job. Current general treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) is expected to run for Governor. Caprio made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010. He garnered national attention when he stated that President Obama could “take his endorsement and really shove it" after Obama did not endorse a candidate in the race.
- U.S. House Rep. Allyson Schwartz formalized her bid for Governor of Pennsylvania last month, becoming the fourth Democrat to enter the race-- joining Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger, Cumberland County minister Max Myers, and York businessman Tom Wolf. Although she was the third Democratic entrant, her candidacy was not unexpected and she had already been considered by party operatives to be the most promising challenger to face first term incumbent Tom Corbett in 2014. Governor Corbett will seek re-election in 2014 despite low approval figures among likely voters and performing poorly in hypothetical match-up polls against Schwartz conducted in anticipation of, and following, her filing for the election.
Virginia governor under FBI investigation
It was reported this week that the FBI is investigating whether Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell violated any laws by allowing Star Scientific to pay $15,000 for food and flowers at his daughter's 2011 wedding, which was held at the governor's mansion. When asked why he did not report the spending on his finance reports, McDonnell said the donation was a gift to his daughter, and per state law only gifts to officeholders have to be reported.
The investigation of McDonnell is an offshoot of an investigation of securities transactions involving Star Scientific. The company, run by Jonnie R. Williams Sr, produces a dietary supplement called Anatabloc. Williams and Star Scientific have donated over $120,000 to McDonnell and his political action committee, along with other perks including allowing McDonnell to stay at Williams's lake house.
Meanwhile, McDonnell and his wife have promoted Anatabloc and other products made by the company. According to Todd Schneider, former chef to the governor, McDonnell "[promoted] Star Scientific products, including the introduction of Anatabloc (a food supplement) to MCV doctors at a lunch Todd Schneider cooked at the mansion on Aug. 30, 2012." (Schneider, it should be noted, is currently facing charges of stealing food from the governor's mansion.) Additionally, McDonnell's wife Maureen spoke at a seminar for scientists and investors in Florida three days before her daughter's wedding, where she spoke in support of Anatabloc.
- See also: State executive official elections, 2013
|State Executive Official Elections Results in 2013|
|Office||Incumbent||Incumbent Party||Incumbent Running?||2013 Winner||Partisan switch?|
|Governor of New Jersey||Chris Christie||Republican||Yes||Pending|
|Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey||Kim Guadagno||Republican||Yes||Pending|
|Governor of Virginia||Bob McDonnell||Republican||No||Pending|
|Lieutenant Governor of Virginia||Bill Bolling||Republican||No||Pending|
|Attorney General of Virginia||Ken Cuccinelli||Republican||No (running for governor)||Pending|
|Superintendent of Wisconsin||Tony Evers||Nonpartisan||Yes||Tony Evers||No|
|Mark your calendar|
|May 17-18||Virginia Republican Party holds statewide primary convention|
|June 4||New Jersey primary election|
|June 11||Virginia Democratic primary election|
|November 5||General election in New Jersey and Virginia|
There are three states holding state executive official elections in 2013 -- New Jersey, Virginia and Wisconsin. A total of six officials will be elected. The attention-grabbing positions up for election are Governor of New Jersey and Governor of Virginia. Both made The Washington Post’s list of the top 5 races to watch in 2013.
The first state executive election in 2013 took place in Wisconsin on April 2, 2013. Incumbent Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers won re-election to a second term against challenger Don Pridemore. Evers, a career educator, handily defeated Don Pridemore, a Wisconsin State Assemblyman since 2005. Although the Superintendent of Public Instruction is a nonpartisan position, Evers is a Democrat and Pridemore is a Republican.
The race attracted considerable buzz in the lead-up to the election, owing in large part to the controversial education proposals put forth by Gov. Scott Walker (R) in his 2013-2015 budget plan, as well as Pridemore's penchant for provoking the media - with dramatic pronouncements about his campaign agenda or else by creating a blacklist of a number of "liberal" political reporters.
Evers received over 61% of the vote, equalling 487,030 votes. This figure points to Evers' growth in popularity since his initial election to the post back in 2009, when he won 439,248 votes and a roughly 15 percentage point victory over a different single challenger, Rose Fernandez.
|Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction General Election, 2013|
|Non-partisan||Tony Evers Incumbent||61.1%||487,030|
|Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.|
Heading into the 2013 election, all three state executive offices up for election this year in Virginia are occupied by Republicans, and none are seeking re-election to their current posts. Term-limited Governor Bob McDonnell cannot run, and Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli is vying to replace to him. Cuccinelli secured the GOP nomination for governor, being the only member of his party to file by the convention’s Jan. 13th deadline.
Gov. McDonnell must sit out this election, but there are no such term limits on the attorney general, and many were surprised at current AG Ken Cuccinelli's (R) decision to run for governor rather than seek another term in his current post. If not for Cuccinelli, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would have been the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to succeed current Governor Bob McDonnell. Bolling suspended his campaign on November 28, 2012, citing his slim chances beating tea party favorite and "intra-party rival" Cuccinelli in this year's closed nominating convention. Although Bolling was explicit about ending his pursuit of a place on the Republican ticket, he waited until March 12 before ruling out the possibility of running as an independent candidate instead. He later said he regretted dropping out of the race so soon.
McDonnell had previously pledged his support for Bolling's candidacy- in part because Bolling refrained from challenging McDonnell for governor in 2009. After Bolling bowed out, McDonnell chose to endorse fellow Republican Cuccinelli for his successor, despite Cuccinelli's outspoken opposition to McDonnell's Transportation Initiative, which is considered to be the centerpiece of his gubernatorial legacy. Ironically, Cuccinelli's future general election opponent, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, has been equally outspoken on the issue, but as an advocate and defender of the outgoing governor's approach to amending the state's transportation funding policy. 
Like Cuccinelli, McAuliffe faces no primary contest. The two contenders will square off in the general election on November 5, 2013.
Seven Republican candidates filed for Bolling’s lt. governor seat, while two entered the race to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general by the Jan. 13 convention filing deadline. On Mar. 28, the signature filing window came to a close for Democratic primary candidates seeking their party’s nomination for governor, lt. governor, and attorney general. Democratic primary candidates will compete in the taxpayer funded primary election on June 11, while the Republican nominee will be voted on by delegates of the Virginia Republican Party at the party-funded statewide primary convention on May 18. The following list of candidates for both the Republican primary convention and the Democratic primary election is official as of March 28, 2013:
Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono each faced a single challenger in the primary election on June 4, although neither presented a substantial challenge at the polls: Christie and Buono won their respective party nominations with roughly 90% of the vote.
Former Atlantic City Councilman Seth Grossman was the sole Republican to brave a run against the popular first term governor, whose star had long been on the rise before going meteoric in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Grossman's campaign criticized Christie for being overly moderate, while Buono's opponent Troy Webster, adviser to the mayor of East Orange, believed he was uniquely suited to making New Jersey friendlier to "the working poor and middle class families who have been literally 'thrown under the bus.'" Grossman and Webster were endorsed by the weekly publication NJ Today.
In New Jersey, gubernatorial candidates have 30 days to select a lieutenant gubernatorial running mate with whom to share their ticket in the general election. Immediately after launching his re-election campaign, Christie secured his running mate, 2009 successful teammate and current Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Buono, meanwhile, waited until July 29 to formally announce her choice of union leader Milly Silva, the executive vice president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, as her running mate. The two-woman ticket went up against incumbent pairing Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno in addition to a number of third party opponents in the general election contest that took place November 5, 2013.
Christie was heavily favored to win re-election, with his campaign raising nearly double that of Buono's in the primary and maintaining a decisive double digit advantage in the polls throughout the election season. In the final week before the general election, Christie boasted a staggering 24.3-point average polling lead. He also had bipartisan support, which was crucial in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, according to party registration statistics provided by the New Jersey Department of State.
Since 1977, New Jersey gubernatorial primary and general election candidates can qualify for a public funding program whereby candidates who raise a minimum amount of money are dispensed tax-generated funds, controlled by the state election law enforcement commission, in direct proportion to campaign donations given from the public. In 2013, the qualifying sum for primary gubernatorial candidates is $380,000. The purpose of the program is to lessen the influence of corporate contributions in elections. On February 2, 2013, then-presumptive Democratic nominee Barbara Buono's campaign reported that it had surpassed the $380,000 mark. By that time, Christie's campaign had already raised $2 million. Unlike in 2009, Christie declined to use matching funds in the 2013 primary, but he decided in August to opt into the program for the general election phase. Under the program, Christie became eligible for an additional $8 million, approximately. The terms also required him to participate in two debates with Buono before the general election.
In November 2012, the New Jersey gubernatorial election was rated by the Washington Post as one of the top five races to watch in 2013. Christie's high-wattage presence notwithstanding, the contest never rose to the level of excitement originally anticipated. This was due in part to the decision of former Newark Mayor Cory Booker to run for U.S. Senate rather than attempt to oust Christie in 2013. Booker had long been considered the Democratic front-runner and best hope to take on the juggernaut incumbent, until announcing his - ultimately winning - Senate bid, and leaving comparatively unknown Democrats on their own to be steamrolled by Christie, whose upward career trajectory and bipartisan appeal were taken virtually for granted on the eve of his second term re-election. To this extent, it is not easy to revisit early reports predicting Christie would be vulnerable to losing his seat in 2013 without feeling incredulous.
The following list of candidates is official as of the April 1, 2013 primary candidate filing deadline.
Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming and Miriam A. Ferguson of Texas were both elected in November 1924 - some sources indicate both women were elected on November 4, while others indicate Ross was elected first, and still others indicate Ferguson was first. Regardless of who was elected first, Ross officially took office as the first female governor on January 5, 1925.
Miriam A. Ferguson (1875-1961) was elected as Governor of Texas in November 1924. Ferguson’s husband, James, was elected as governor in 1914 and re-elected in 1916. However, he was indicted on charges of misapplication of public funds, embezzlement, and diversion of a special fund. The Court of Impeachment then removed him from office and barred him from holding any office in the state. Thus, when her husband was refused a place on the 1924 ticket, Miriam ran and won under the slogan of “Two governors for the price of one." She lost her 1926 re-election bid but once again took the office in 1932.
Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) was also elected as Governor of Wyoming in November 1924. Ross’s husband, William, was elected governor in 1922. He died in October 1924, just prior to the general election, and Democratic Party leaders nominated Nellie to take his place on the ticket. She defeated Republican Eugene J. Sullivan and served for two years, losing her re-election bid in 1926. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her director of the U.S. Mint, making her the first woman to hold that position as well. Along with electing the first female governor, in 1869 Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.
Bonus question: How many total female governors have there been?
- Answer: 35
|Name||Party||State||Term in office|
|Nellie Tayloe Ross||Democratic||Wyoming||1925-1927|
|Miriam "Ma" Ferguson||Democratic||Texas||1925-1927, 1933-1935|
|Dixy Lee Ray||Democratic||Washington||1977-1981|
|Vesta Roy||Republican||New Hampshire||1982-1983|
|Martha Layne Collins||Democratic||Kentucky||1984-1987|
|Christine Todd Whitman||Republican||New Jersey||1994-2001|
|Jane Dee Hull||Republican||Arizona||1997-2003|
|Jeanne Shaheen||Democratic||New Hampshire||1997-2003|
|Ruth Ann Minner||Democratic||Delaware||2001-2009|
|Jennifer M. Granholm||Democratic||Michigan||2003-2011|
|M. Jodi Rell||Republican||Connecticut||2004-2011|
|Beverly Perdue||Democratic||North Carolina||2009-2013|
|Susana Martinez||Republican||New Mexico||2011-present|
|Nikki Haley||Republican||South Carolina||2011-present|
|Maggie Hassan||Democratic||New Hampshire||2013-present|
- University of Virginia Center for Politics: Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial Races," April 29, 2013
- The Washington Post, "The Fix's top 15 gubernatorial races," March 22, 2013
- Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 12, 2012
- Quinnipiac University Poll, "LEADING DEMS TOP CORBETT IN PENNSYLVANIA GOV RACE,QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL FINDS;DEM PRIMARY IS A RACE BETWEEN SCHWARTZ AND SESTAK," April 29, 2013
- Current-Argus, "NM state auditor running for attorney general," April 30, 2013
- WPRI, "Frank Caprio eying 2014 comeback campaign for treasurer," April 26, 2013
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Allyson Schwartz files to run for Pa. governor," April 8, 2013
- The Atlantic Wire, "The Governor, His Wife, Their Cook, and the FBI," April 30, 2013
- Washington Post, "FBI looking into relationship between McDonnells, donor," April 29, 2013
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin April 2 election results," accessed April 3, 2013
- The Republic, "GOP education superintendent candidate's campaign blacklists 5 Wisconsin reporters," March 17, 2013
- Walworth County Today, "Wisconsin superintendent candidates to debate," March 12, 2013
- WisPolitics, "Pridemore Campaign: Pridemore vows to eliminate DPI mascot policy," March 28, 2013
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Canvass Certification: 2013 Spring Election," accessed April 18, 2013
- The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling says major announcement set for March 14," February 7, 2013
- The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
- Washington Post, "Bill Bolling decides not to seek GOP nomination for VA governor," November 28, 2012
- The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling regrets dropping out of the race so soon," April 22, 2013
- The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
- NBC 12- Decision Virginia 2013, "Transportation battle creates awkward political triangle," March 26, 2013
- Washington Post, "Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe: Virginia governor’s race holds the eyes of the nation," March 29, 2013
- Associated Press - abc7.com, "Terry McAuliffe qualifies for Virginia June Democratic primary ballot," March 27, 2013
- NJToday "Primary election results," accessed June 5, 2013
- Politickernj.com, "Christie and Buono wrap yawner primary season," June 4, 2013
- Elect Troy Webster Official Campaign Website, "Biography," accessed June 4, 2013
- NJ Today, "EDITORIAL: Troy Webster For Governor," April 14, 2013
- NorthJersey.com, "Barbara Buono picks union leader Milly Silva as running mate," July 25, 2013
- Barbara Buono and Milly Silva 2013 Official Campaign website, "Press Releases: Buono Names Milly Silva Candidate for Lieutenant Governor," July 29, 2013
- PolitickerNJ, "Christie and Buono wrap yawner primary season," June 4, 2013
- ‘’NJ News 12 “Poll: Christie remains popular in NJ” accessed April 15, 2013
- RealClearPolitics, "New Jersey Governor - Christie vs. Buono," accessed November 3, 2013
- New Jersey Department of State Elections Division, "Statewide Voter Registration Summary," May 7, 2013
- NJ.com, "Sen. Buono raises almost $250K in first month of campaigning," January 2, 2013
- The Star-Ledger, "Buono qualifies for public matching funds in N.J. governor's race," February 4, 2013
- NorthJersey.com, "Christie campaign participating in public financing program," August 20, 2013
- Washington Post, "The 5 best races of 2013," November 30, 2012
- Public Policy Polling, "Christie in trouble for re-election," July 20, 2011
- NorthJersey.com, "Democrat Barbara Buono running for governor in NJ," December 11, 2012
- New Jersey State Board of Elections, "Primary candidate list for 2013 Governor," accessed April 4, 2014
- The Associated Press "Governor Christie Announces Re-Election Bid," November 26, 2012
- News in History, “ First two women governors in US history elected," November 4, 2012
- University of Wyoming - George W. Hopper Law Library, “Nellie Tayloe Ross: The First Woman Governor," accessed April 30, 2013
- Texas State Library, “Portraits of Texas Governors -The politics of personality," accessed April 30, 2013
- Connecticut State Library, “Ella Giovanna Oliva (Tambussi) Grasso," accessed April 30, 2013
- About.com, " Women Governors," accessed May 2, 2013