The Executive Summary: After losing re-election bid, Indiana school superintendent transfers to Florida

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December 13, 2012


Note: This will be the last regularly scheduled issue of The Executive Summary in 2012. Have a great holiday season, and we'll see you again on January 10, 2013!

Edited by Geoff Pallay

MADISON, Wisconsin: One of the unique facets of state executives is the variety of ways one can come to hold a position. While this essentially boils down to being elected vs appointed, it results in a variety of interesting permutations. It is not unique, for example, to see someone who lost election being appointed by their state's governor to the cabinet. Such is the case of Pam Bucy (D) who lost her race for Montana Attorney General this year, only to be appointed Commissioner of Labor and Industry by Gov.-elect Steve Bullock.[1]

Especially noteworthy is that the same position, say Insurance Commissioner, can be elected in some states but appointed in others. Appointed offices do not have the same qualification restrictions as elected posts do, allowing someone from out of state to be appointed. This situation is certainly not unheard of. Just this week the Florida State Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint someone from Indiana as the new Commissioner of Education for the state. That person? None other than Tony Bennett (R), the current Indiana Superintendent of Public instruction who lost his Indiana bid for a second term in Indiana this November in an upset that surprised members of both parties. Following his defeat Bennett wasted no time, applying right away for the Florida post. The other two top candidates for the position were Murray State University President Randy Dunn, himself a former superintendent of education in Illinois, and Arlington, Virginia, consultant Charles Hokanson.[2] While Bennett's contract has not been settled yet, the advertised salary was up to $275,000, which Gerard Robinson was making until he resigned the job last August - a nice bump from Bennett's current $79,400 salary in Indiana.[3]

Another similar instance took place in Maryland earlier this year - Lillian Lowery was appointed Superintendent of Schools by the Maryland State Board of Education in April 2012 and took office on July 1, 2012. She previously served as Delaware Secretary of Education from January 2009 until June 1, 2012.[4]

Elections

2013

See also: State executive official elections, 2013
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State Executive Official Elections

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The 2012 elections are over -- time to look ahead to 2013.

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.

The first state executive election in 2013 will occur in Wisconsin, where the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction will be elected on April 2, 2013. Incumbent Tony Evers is running for re-election.

2012

See also: State executive official elections, 2012

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction recount

The final state executive election from November 6 has been decided. Denise Juneau (D), the incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction in Montana, officially won re-election on Tuesday when challenger Sandy Welch (R) dropped her recount effort due to the cost. Under Montana law, the state pays for a recount if the margin between two candidates is less than 0.25 percent of the total votes, but it is up to the challenger to pay if the margin is between 0.25 and 0.5 percent. Official results show Juneau winning by 2,231 votes out of 468,563 total votes - a margin of 0.48 percent, meaning Welch would have to put up a $115,000 bond. Earlier in the recount process the state Republican Party said they would pick up the majority of the costs, but on Tuesday Welch stated, "We had a number of pledges, but we didn't have the cash in the bank when it came time to post the bond."[5][6]

2012 State Executive Election Partisan Breakdown
Party Before 2012 Election After 2012 Election Net Change
Democratic 51 50 -1
Republican 38 43 +5
Independent (Non-partisan) 4 1 -3
TOTALS 931 vacant 94
2012 State Executive Election Analysis
Party Open Seat Winners Defeated Incumbents New State Executives
Democratic 13 6 15
Republican 11 1 18
Independent (Non-partisan) 1 0 1
TOTALS 25 7 34

Appointments

Maine appointments

On December 4, 2012 Maine confirmed the appointment of several familiar faces in the state.[7] Former Attorney General Janet Mills's appointment was confirmed, placing her back in the position. Mills previously served as the Attorney General from 2009 to 2010.[7]

Matthew Dunlap returned to the office of Secretary of State. Dunlap served in this position from 2005 to 2010 and ran for Maine's U.S. Senate seat in 2012.[7]

Current state auditor Neria Douglass will take over as state treasurer and principal auditor Pola Buckley will take over for Douglass as state auditor.[7]

In Maine, these state executive positions are nominated and appointed by the State Legislature.

Alabama Public Service Commission

Former State House representative Jeremy Oden (R) was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to the Alabama Public Service Commission on November 30, 2012 and assumed office on December 3, 2013.[8] Oden's appointment to the PSC required him to resign his seat in the State House. Bentley will call a special election to fill the vacancy.

Arizona Director of Insurance

Germaine Marks was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer to serve as the acting director in June 2012.[8] Prior to her appointment, Marks served as the Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance from 2003 to 2012.[8]

Arizona Commissioner of Lands

Gov. Jan Brewer on November 27, 2012 named Vanessa Hickman to head the department of lands on an interim basis to replace Maria Baier, who resigned in November 2012.[9][10]

Wyoming Treasurer

Mark Gordon was appointed on November 26, 2012 to fill the remainder of the term from previous incumbent Joseph Meyer, who passed away on October 7, 2012.[11][12]

New Hampshire Secretary of State and Treasurer reappointed

Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Treasurer Catherine Provencher were re-appointed to their posts by the State House and State Senate.[13] Most state agencies in New Hampshire are headed by commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Executive Council. However, the New Hampshire Constitution calls for the House and Senate to jointly elect the secretary of state and treasurer.[13]

Featured office

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Featured office: Lieutenant Governor

Quick facts about Lieutenant Governor
  • 43 states directly elect Lt. Governors
  • There are 14 are Democratic and 30 Republican Lt. Governors.
  • 17 are elected completely separate from the Governor, 26 share the ticket either in the general election or both primary and general.
  • Salary range: Texas $7,200 - New York $151,500

In the United States the main duty of the Lieutenant Governor is to act as Governor should the Governor be temporarily absent from the office. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor generally succeeds a Governor who dies, resigns, or is removed in trial by the legislative branch. In most states, the Lieutenant Governor then becomes Governor, with the title and its associated salary, office, and privileges. In a few states, like Massachusetts, the Lieutenant Governor instead becomes "Acting Governor" until the next election. But other than this primary constitutional duty, most state constitutions do not prescribe the duties of the Lieutenant Governor in detail. Making matters even murkier, in some states such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, the position of Lieutenant Governor is equivalent to that of Secretary of State.

And in four states, the title of Lieutenant Governor does not exist at all. These states are Maine, Arizona, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Only two states do not have direct elections for lieutenant governor - Tennessee and West Virginia. In both states, whomever is elected the President of the State Senate is the de facto Lieutenant Governor. In Tennessee, the full title of this individual is, "Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate." In West Virginia, recent legislation allows the Senate President to use the title, "Lieutenant Governor." Prior to that change, West Virginia did not have a lieutenant governor.

The fact that Arizona has no lieutenant governor has received some special attention in recent weeks due to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's interest in seeking re-election in 2014. Brewer is technically ineligible to run in 2014 because of the state's term limit laws for state executive officials, which count even partial terms served toward the maximum two consecutive terms an executive can hold a seat. Since the Arizona Constitution does not provide for the position of Lieutenant Governor, when former Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned to become United States Secretary of Homeland Security in January of 2009, Brewer, then the secretary of state, was the first in the line of succession. Now the same constitution that dictated her automatic ascension in 2009 says she will have to warm the bench for four years after her first elected full term expires and she is considering taking her disagreement to court.

The Lieutenant Governor of Texas plays an active role as presiding officer of the State Senate and is often rumored to be more powerful than the governor. The current lieutenant governor of Texas is David Dewhurst. As of 2010, he was paid $7,200, the lowest lieutenant gubernatorial salary in America.[14]

Tying in the earlier discussion, the lieutenant governor of Texas is not subject to term limits. Despite this lack of restriction, between 1847 and the present day, only one lieutenant governor has held the office for more than 8 years: William Pettus Hobby, Jr., whose tenure lasted from 1973-1991. David Dewhurst, who was first elected in 2003, lost his U.S. Senate bid this year and is now on track to become the second person on that list. Perhaps this pattern of brief service has something to do with the measly pay.

References