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The Executive Summary: Ghostbusters, pirates and terror-inducing attack ads! Oh, my!

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October 31, 2013

Edited by Greg Janetka

Happy Halloween from all of us at The Executive Summary! This edition features governors in costume, the return of Halloween in New Jersey and fear-inducing attack ads. Plus there’s resignations and appointments in Nebraska and Oklahoma, and if you haven’t heard there are elections in New Jersey and Virginia on November 5! We’ve also got the latest 2014 candidate news and - think fast! - how many Illinois governors have gone to jail? We’ll let you know at the end, but first, the Halloween roundup!

Halloween!

It’s that time of year again, when ghost stories rise from the mists of history to sneak up and scare us. And if local legends can be trusted, many governors have been sharing a residence with these haunts for years.

Last year, outgoing first lady Susan Lynch told of strange happenings in New Hampshire’s gubernatorial residence, including towels and tablecloths out of place, piano music playing without a musician and female voices heard in empty rooms.[1] The governor’s mansion in Carson City, Nevada is said to be haunted by a woman and child, believed to be the wife and child of Governor Denver S. Dickerson, the first to live in the residence.[2] In Dover, Delaware, the governor’s mansion is noted as one of the most haunted areas in the state. Reported haunts include Charles Hillyard, the builder of the mansion, and slaves who were harbored in the mansion when it was part of the underground railroad.[3] Down in the Lone Star State, Sam Houston’s spirit is said to inhabit his old room, while Governor Pendleton Murrah's newphew who committed suicide there in 1864 has also taken up residence. Shooting himself after having his marriage proposal turned down, servants refused to enter the room, which was ice cold and had unexplained banging sounds. Sealed by Gov. A.J. Hamilton after the Civil War, it was not reopened until 1952. The boy’s sobbing has been reportedly heard coming from within.[4]

Meanwhile, in verifiable Halloween news:

  • Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) told fourth graders that he and his family will be dressing up as characters from the 1980s classic film, “Ghostbusters,” and attending a party at the governor’s mansion. No word on which character Branstad has chosen to portray, but he did say there were lots of decorations, stating, “There are ghosts out front, there are bats flying around — not real bats, but you know.” Last year the Branstad clan dressed as “Star Wars” characters, with the governor portraying Obi-Wan Kenobi.[5]
  • Over in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and his wife will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters dressed as pirates.[6]
  • Meanwhile, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D) teamed up with Speaker of the House Davy Carter (R) last weekend for the third annual Halloween Scary-Oke benefit for the Open Arms Shelter for abused and neglected children. The cowboy hat clad duo sang George Strait's "Amarillo by Morning" and "Troubador." As one local blogger stated, “I'm disappointed to report no bootleg video has made its way to YouTube yet.” But there’s always hope.[7]
  • New Jersey kids seeking candy have had it rough the last two Halloweens - in 2011 Gov. Chris Christie (R) declared a state of emergency following a huge snowstorm, warning parents to look out for downed power lines if they took their kids trick-or-treating.[8] Last year, with the state once again in a state of emergency due to Hurricane Sandy, Christie issued an executive order postponing Halloween.[9] At a press conference last week, Christie stated, "My children want to know if I just don't like Halloween. That's not true, I'm fine with Halloween.” The only thing close to a warning he issued this year was from his personal experience as a parent - “no matter where you hide the candy, ultimately when they come home they find it.”[10] For his part, the governor joked on NBC’s “Today” show that he would be dressing up as co-host Savannah Guthrie.[11]

2013 elections

Getting back to the actual business of governing, Tuesday is election day. With 2013 being an off year, only four elections are taking place:

While polls indicate that only one of the races will be truly competitive, anything can happen on election night. Check with Ballotpedia on election night as we’ll be updating the results as they come in. Until then, to get the details on all of the races, check out the State executive officials 2013 election preview as well as the 2013 Elections tab below.

"Boo!" Goes the smear campaigns

All politicians in the United States know the best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating are the swing states, such as Virginia and New Jersey. And all candidates within those states know which houses to visit to score the best donations and endorsements: Party Committees, power couples, gun lobbies and Michael Bloomberg. Each of these individuals and organizations are known to give out king-size candy bars at their doors, but first, you must be able to survive the path through their yard, which is riddled with the ghosts of your voting records and failed business ventures, and booby-trapped with short-range firearms that shoot birth control pills at you as you bolt past a scarecrow of your opponent.

This fall, with the New Jersey gubernatorial race already decided for incumbent Chris Christie (who is busy taking fan photos in his Savannah Guthrie costume outside the haunted house that is New Jersey), the trick-or-treat action is all going down in Virginia, where the NRA, the Clintons, the Obamas and various well-endowed PACs are rolling out their best fear-inspiring ads against either of the major party nominees for governor - Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R) - just in time for Halloween. Below are some of the best and latest scurrilous ads from outside groups which best showcase the scare tactics employed in high-stakes contests like the 2013 gubernatorial election in Virginia, to be decided next Tuesday, November 5, 2013.


Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC is airing this ad “Endangering,” which flashes images of infamous mass murderers while the narrator emphasizes Cuccinelli’s stance against closing the gun show loophole that allows “anyone can buy a gun without a background check: the dangerously mentally ill, criminals — endangering our families.”

”Stop Ken Cuccinelli” was made by NARAL Pro-Choice America and frames its message about Cuccinelli funneling money to clinics that “lie to pregnant women” about the purpose and efficacy of contraceptives in the style of paranormal activity.

Conservative group “Fight for Tomorrow” released this ad, entitled “Don’t let THEM Detroit Virginia” which espouses McAuliffe’s role in a nationwide liberal conspiracy led by the Gang of Five and makes contemptuous sounding verbs out of the nouns “California,” “Hollywood,” and “Detroit.”

The Official Movie Trailer for “Fast Terry,” from Citizens United, claims to uncover the tragic story of the American town laid to waste by McAuliffe’s failed business investment.

In this WSO Virginia ad entitled “Virginia Women Deserve Better than Terry McAuliffe,” the narrator cites the actions of a doctor convicted of manslaughter at a Philadelphia abortion clinic referred to as a “House of Horrors” and equates McAuliffe’s unwillingness to impose stricter regulations on abortions to a “politician” refusing to protect women.
[edit]

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler

Press punishes Gansler after he is busted at party

On October 23, 2013, almost exactly one month after Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler launched his 2014 campaign for governor, The Baltimore Sun published a photograph featuring the attorney general standing in the midst of a raucous high school party. The photo was taken in June at a high school graduation celebration, co-hosted and attended by Gansler's son, and recently found its way into the public domain via Instagram.[12] It captures a scene containing evidence of underage alcohol consumption, with Gansler standing passively among the shirtless partygoers. In the accompanying written report, the Sun evokes a permissive attitude unbecoming of a top law enforcement official. It reminds readers of the second term AG's past statements of commitment to curtailing underage drinking, using the photo as a visual aid to reinforce the notion Gansler was neglecting his duties in not shutting down a party where, by his own acknowledgement, "For better or worse, the reality is some kids drink alcohol while they're there."[12] After the story broke, Gansler defended his lack of engagement as appropriate from a parental perspective, considering he and a group of other parents had established rules for the party in advance. Responding to claims that his behavior was inappropriate from a law enforcement perspective, Gansler argued that it would have been outside his moral authority to stifle a relatively controlled demonstration of teenage debauchery, as depicted, as well as being outside his office’s purview, since the party took place outside the state of Maryland. One teenager who attended the Delaware beach house celebration that night told an interviewer from the Sun, "I don't remember much, but it was one of the best parties I've been to, hands down," simultaneously affirming Gansler's defense of his responsibilities as a parent within the situation and the critics' charges that Gansler actively ignored his responsibilities as an elected legal official.[13]

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s absence at the scene has not been noted, though perhaps Gansler could use Biden as a hail-mary scapegoat.

Before the Sun published the photo, Gansler's candidacy had already suffered a string of embarrassments, mostly courtesy of the Washington Post, which kicked off its Gansler-expose series in August when it revealed previous comments Gansler had made about the campaign of his opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is the early frontrunner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. "I mean, right now, his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,’" Gansler told some campaign volunteers, implying Brown was running on gimmick rather than substance.[14] It followed with a number of reports detailing Gansler's unorthodox and questionably-ethical handling of state-issued vehicles, including a piece about his ordering of state troopers to violate traffic laws.[15]

Dan Wolf drops out of Mass gov race

Massachusetts State Sen. Dan Wolf

In August, state Sen. Dan Wolf’s was disqualified from the 2014 governor’s race in Massachusetts by the State Ethics Commission for being a stakeholder in an airline he previously founded, CapeAir, forcing Wolf to suspend his campaign.[16][17] On September 19, the commission granted Wolf a second extension to his compliance deadline, beyond which he would be forced to resign his state senate seat and officially end his campaign for the open governor seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick.[18][19][20] The uncertainty about if and when he could resume campaigning resulted in Wolf's decision to officially drop out of the race on October 21, 2013. [21][22][23][18]

Wolf's withdrawal paves the way for a nasty executive vs. executive primary battle between Attorney General Coakley, the current front-runner according to recent polls, and State Treasurer Grossman. Charlie Baker, a venture capitalist who was the Republican nominee for governor in 2010, is the only entrant from his party to date.[24]

Massachusetts being as blue as it is, it's usually a safe bet to say the Democratic nominee will become the next governor. However, in 2014, the GOP could have an edge over whatever nominee emerges - presumably with a severe case of primary battle-fatigue - out of this crowded field of Democrats. This is provided no other prominent Republicans enter the race to split the vote with Baker, who by contrast would enter the general election phase with a fully lined campaign coffer and united, albeit less plentiful, base of voter support from his party.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner resigning

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong

Cory Fong, who has served as North Dakota Tax Commissioner since 2005, announced his resignation earlier this month. Fong's last day heading the department will be December 31, when he is leaving to join the public affairs division of Odney Advertising to consult on behalf of businesses.[25]

Fong was first appointed to the post by then-Gov. John Hoeven (R) in 2005 and elected to full terms in 2006 and 2010. In announcing his resignation, Fong stated, "I have enjoyed my time serving as tax commissioner immensely and I have gained immeasurably from the experience, along with the other leadership positions I have had the good fortune to serve in over the years. And, it is this broad foundation of experience that drives my interest in setting new goals and seeking new opportunities outside of government that are aimed at building and growing North Dakota."[26]

Article V, Section 8 of the state constitution addresses vacancies in state executive offices. In the event of a vacancy, the governor nominates a successor who must be confirmed by the state senate. Once confirmed, the individual serves the remainder of the unexpired term. Gov. Jack Dalrymple's spokesman Jeff Zent said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (R) is in charge of receiving letters of intent from those interested in the position. The governor will then interview the finalists.[27]

North Dakota is the only state to have an elected Tax Commissioner.


Newly named Secretary of State Chris Benge

Oklahoma state executive shuffle

Former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Chris Benge (R) has been named to take over as Secretary of State beginning November 8. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) made the appointment October 23. Before assuming the role Benge will need to be confirmed by the Oklahoma State Senate. He would be the fourth to serve in the role this year.

Benge takes over for Larry Parman (R), whom Fallin named as both the new director of the state Department of Commerce and as her secretary of commerce earlier this month, both effective November 1.[28] Parman has served as secretary of state since March 1 of this year. He replaced interim officeholder Michelle Day who served for a month following Glenn Coffee's resignation on February 1, 2013.

Benge represented Tulsa's District 68 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1998-2010. He was Speaker of the House from February 2008 to November 2010. Leaving the chamber due to term limits, Benge became an advisor to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Since August 2011 he has served as senior vice president of government affairs at the Tulsa Regional Chamber.[29]

Michigan appointees take office Nov. 1

In the wake of state treasurer Andy Dillon’s resignation earlier in the month, a number of shifts had to be made within the Michigan executive cabinet under Gov. Rick Snyder. Two of these changes, the appointment of state insurance commissioner Kevin Clinton as Dillon’s replacement as state treasurer, and department deputy Ann Flood’s appointment to fill Clinton’s consequently vacant place as insurance commissioner, will both become effective Friday, November 1.[30][31][32]

Since treasurer is one of the three constitutional executive department heads that make up the Executive Branch, its vacancy contingencies are clearly addressed in Article V, Section 6 of the state constitution. The section states that the appointment can be rejected if a majority of state senators vote against it, with the window to reject open for "60 session days after the date of such appointment. Any appointment not disapproved within such period shall stand confirmed." In 2013, the Legislature's estimated session will run through December 31. Likewise, Snyder's appointment of Flood to replace Clinton as insurance commissioner is subject to the advice and consent of the state Sente, "if it is in session," according to the Michigan Compiled Laws.[33]

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 Ends.png Republican Yes Pending
Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey Kim Guadagno Ends.png Republican Yes Pending
Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell Ends.png Republican No Pending
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Bill Bolling Ends.png Republican No Pending
Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli Ends.png Republican No (running for governor) Pending
Superintendent of Wisconsin Tony Evers Grey.png Nonpartisan Yes Tony Evers No
Mark your calendar
DateEvent
November 5General 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.

Wisconsin

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.[34] 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"[35] political reporters.[36][37]

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.

Below are the official results of the superintendent race, certified by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on April 23.[38]

Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Non-partisan Green check mark transparent.pngTony Evers Incumbent 61.1% 487,030
     Non-partisan Don Pridemore 38.7% 308,050
     Scattering Various 0.2% 1,431
Total Votes 796,511
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Virginia

Governor

Current Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) is ineligible to run for re-election in 2013 because of term limits. The term limits Virginia imposes on its governors are more strict than any other state in the country: under the commonwealth's constitution, no governor may serve back-to-back terms. This means that McDonnell, unlike other governors in their first term, is ineligible to run for re-election until a full term has passed.

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. If not for Cuccinelli, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would have been the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to succeed McDonnell.[39] Due to the decision by the Republican Party of Virginia Virginia to change their candidate nomination method from open primary election to closed nominating convention starting in 2013, and "tea party darling" Cuccinelli's presence in the race, Bolling withdrew his bid for the GOP nod in November 2012. .[40][41] About the alternative of seeking re-election to his current post, Bolling stated that, “Under normal circumstances, I would be open to the possibility of running for another term as lieutenant governor, but I would not be interested in running on a statewide ticket with Mr. Cuccinelli.”[42] He later said he regretted dropping out of the race as early as he did.[43]

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.[44][45][46]

In response to the major party picks, the Libertarian Party held a special convention and nominated Robert Sarvis as the party's official gubernatorial candidate.[47]

Like Cuccinelli and Sarvis, McAuliffe faced no primary contest. With October 2013 drawing to a close, McAuliffe is comfortably leading Cuccinelli and Sarvis in polls and fundraising. Aggregated polling data show the Democratic nominee with an average edge of seven percentage points edge over Cuccinelli-- an advantage that can be attributed in large part to female voters' 58-34 preference of McAuliffe, since he and Cuccinelli are almost neck in neck among men.[48][49] The latest campaign finance filings show McAuliffe raising $6.2 million to Cuccinelli's $3.4 million, and holding $1.9 million in cash on hand, which is twice the size of Cuccinelli's warchest. Sarvis was trailing both with a reported $19,110 cash on hand.[50][51][52] Hillary Clinton's decision to come out in support of McAuliffe on October 19 - marking her first campaign event appearance since stepping down as U.S. Secretary of State - further enhanced the Democrat's frontrunner status.[53] Former President Bill Clinton threw in his support soon thereafter, followed by current President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who joined the McAuliffe campaign effort in the final week of the election season.[54]

The three contenders will square off in the general election on November 5, 2013.[55]

Impact of US government shutdown on governor's race

The high profile federal government shutdown has coincided with the home stretch of this year's increasingly expensive and high-profile Virginia governor race, creating a fresh backdrop for the battle between major party nominees Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R), and providing a brand new context in which to undermine each candidate's character and leadership potential.[56] Each campaign released an ad the aftermath of the shutdown, which arrived on the heels of the candidates' second debate.[57]

With the nation paying close attention to its government in light of the perceived failure of Congress to work together in the best interests of their constituents, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli's ads each highlight features of his opponent which most closely mirror the type of stubbornness displayed by the House and Senate leading up to the shutdown, and to which the general public is, at the moment, so sensitively attuned. That moment, to be more specific, is one month before the general election. As the competition stands, McAuliffe has an overall average lead in the polls of 5.3 points over his Republican foe.[58]

Hoping to use the shutdown to further advance his edge by painting Cuccinelli in with the GOP ideologues in Congress, McAuliffe's ad emphasizes Cuccinelli's strong ties to tea party leader U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), since Cruz is an outspoken supporter both of Cuccinelli and the far-right congressional insurgency which, in seeking to defund Obamacare, is regarded as causing the shutdown. The ad cites Cuccinelli's past effort to defund planned parenthood, apparently bringing the Virginia legislature "to a standstill," as well as claims Cuccinelli was sufficiently opposed to Mark Warner's 2004 budget to call for a shutdown of the state government.[59]

Cuccinelli's ad aims to discredit McAuliffe by referencing articles from The Washington Post and the Richmond-Times Dispatch criticizing McAuliffe's prospective budget plan that he has allegedly threatened to shutdown the government to get passed. The radio spot also accuses him of being "against compromise, against working together to find solutions,” and notes how the Democrat sided with his fellow party members in Congress who had vocally dismissed opportunities to collaborate with the Republicans to avert shutdown.[60][61]

The solo third party candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, may find a unique opportunity in this shutdown atmosphere, where disillusionment with the current standard of government operation runs rampant. If Sarvis is permitted to participate in the third debate with McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, he could potentially attract a substantial number of voters who, already frustrated under Congress' showcase of two-party gridlock, could find themselves more sympathetic than usual to an as-yet untainted non-major party nominee.

"People are looking for other options they don't like what they have to see from those two parties and we're trying to fill that void with principled advocacy for more freedom in our economic sphere and personal lives," stated Sarvis. His passive warning about "obvious dysfunction of our [federal] government" also existing on the state and local level could have an especially profound impact on swing voters and the average 10% of voters polling as undecided.[62][63]

On August 2, 2013, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) revealed government documents implicating McAuliffe in a possible investment fraud being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.). Grassley's findings that McAuliffe received special treatment from a high-ranking immigration official further entrenched the candidate in the controversy surrounding Greentech Automotive, a failed electric car company which he founded. Due to its poor performance and its employment of Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother, who handled the company's capital and is thus the target of the investigation, the now well-publicized environmental venture marks a blemish on the McAuliffe-campaign platform: to reinvigorate the state's economy using his business knowledge and experience as a successful job creator. Developments linking McAuliffe to the suspected fraud has made that blemish more pronounced, though polls continue to disprove initial theories that it would severely threaten his chances of overtaking Cuccinelli in the November general election. Cuccinelli had been the beleaguered candidate of the pair up until the Greentech S.E.C. investigation scandal broke and opened McAuliffe up for criticism regarding his history of "mingling politics and business."[64] Still, the latest polls indicate the Democrat has not lost his edge.


Governor of Virginia: All candidates
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Robert Sarvis (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll/Harper
(October 5-6, 2013)
44%35%12%9%+/-2.91,150
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 2-8, 2013)
47%39%8%6%+/-2.91,180
NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll
(October 13-15, 2013)
46%38%9%7%+/-4.0596
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(October 20, 2013)
50%33%8%5%+/-3.01,000
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 15-21, 2013)
46%39%10%4%+/-3.01,085
Wenzel Strategies
(October 21-22, 2013)
41%40%10%9%+/-3.85640
Old Dominion University Poll
44%37%7%9%+/-5.0670
Public Policy Poll (Early voters)
(October 19-20, 26-27, 2013)
55%40%3%2%+/--1,433
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
51%39%8%1%+/-4.5762
AVERAGES 47.11% 37.78% 8.33% 5.78% +/-2.24 946.22
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 Virginia: All candidates
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Robert Sarvis (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
31%37%5%27%+/-4.3525
Public Policy Polling
(July 11-14, 2013)
41%37%7%5%+/-4.0601
Emerson College Poll
(August 23-28, 2013)
45%35%10%11%+/-3.8653
League of Women Voters/Public Policy Polling
(August 27-28, 2013)
44%37%9%9%+/--500
Quinnipiac University Poll
(September 9-15, 2013)
44%41%7%6%+/-3.11,005
Harper Polling/Conservative Intel
(September 15-16, 2013)
42%37%10%11%+/-3.51779
Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll
(September 19-22, 2013)
47%39%10%3%+/-4.5562
NBC News/Marist Poll
(September 17-19, 2013)
43%38%8%11%+/-4.2546
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(September 23, 2013)
44%38%6%11%+/-3.01,050
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
47%38%9%11%+/-3.1886
AVERAGES 42.8% 37.7% 8.1% 10.5% +/-2.73 622.1
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 Virginia: Cuccinelli v. McAuliffe (June 2013 - present)
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(June 5-6, 2013)
44%41%12%+/-3.01,000
Quinnipiac University Poll
(July 11-15, 2013)
43%39%16%+/-3.11,030
Quinnipiac University Poll
(August 14-19, 2013)
48%42%9%+/-2.91,129
Internal Poll
(August 13-18, 2013)
48%44%8%+/-4.0600
Rasmussen Reports
(September 3-4, 2013)
45%38%10%+/-3.0998
Purple Strategies Poll
(September 6-10, 2013)
43%38%19%+/-3.5800
Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll
(September 19-22, 2013)
49%44%7%+/-4.5562
Public Policy Poll/Harper
(October 5-6, 2013)
52%42%6%+/-2.9
AVERAGES 46.5% 41% 10.88% +/-3.36 764.88
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 Virginia: Cuccinelli v. McAuliffe (February 2013 - May 2013)
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
(Feb. 14-18, 2013)
38%38%21%+/-2.01,112
Roanoke College Poll
(April 8-14, 2013)
29%34%38%+/-3.9629
Washington Post (Registered Voters)
(April 29-May 2, 2013)
41%46%13%+/-4.0887
Washington Post (Likely Voters)
(April 29-May 2, 2013)
41%51%8%+/-5.0663
NBC News/Marist Poll
(April 28-May 2, 2013)
43%41%16%+/-3.01,095
Quinnipiac University
(May 8-13, 2013)
43%38%17%+/-2.71,286
Public Policy Polling
(May 24-26, 2013)
42%37%21%+/-3.8672
AVERAGES 39.57% 40.71% 19.14% +/-3.49 906.29
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

Lieutenant Governor

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R) is not seeking re-election this year. Nine candidates filed to fill the imminently-open executive seat, including two Democrats and seven Republicans. State Sen. Ralph Northam defeated Aneesh Chopra for the Democratic Party's nomination for lieutenant governor in the June 11 primary election.[65] Northam's general election opponent is Republican E.W. Jackson. Jackson was nominated by delegates of the Virginia Republican Party at the party-funded statewide primary convention on May 17-18.[66]

When Virginia voters elected Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves, as its 66th Governor in 1989, it was the first time an African-American was elected to the office in the nation's history.[67] Given the state's heritage of trailblazing, it is notable that, until Jackson's convention victory, Virginia Republicans had not nominated an African-American for any statewide office since backing Maurice Dawkins' a quarter of a century ago.[68]

A minister at a non-denominational church and relatively new member of the Republican Party, Jackson edged out six primary opponents by emphasizing his commitment to hallmark conservative issues such as smaller government, gun rights and traditional family values. He appealed to the delegation with the promise, "We will not only win an election in November, we will open the hearts and minds of our people and save this commonwealth and save this country."[69]

Jackson was an unwelcome choice for the state's Republican establishment from the start, notwithstanding his post-convention promise, thanks to his refusal to divert from, or soften the rhetoric of, his "liberty agenda." The agenda contains the issues mentioned above, none of which are earth-shattering stances for a conservative; Jackson is anti-Obamacare, pro-Second Amendment and anti-federal overreach. His approach to delivering these messages, however, has raised more concerns - as well as eyebrows - from the party than was originally anticipated. In August, Jackson referred to the Democratic Party as the "anti-God party" because of its supportive position on same-sex marriage and abortion, cementing his reputation for being impermeable to warnings about how his often inflammatory rhetoric might alienate swing voters or more moderate Republican voters heading into the general election. Then on Sept. 4, The Washington Post reported that his independent streak also extends to his behind the scenes campaign style. Since securing the nomination in May, Jackson has not taken advantage of the Virginia Republican Party's massive pool of campaign resources. He has declined offers to utilize the party's voter databases and related logistical tools in addition to field office venues across the state- a "virtually unheard-of forfeiture of resources for a statewide candidate."[70]

On the Democratic end, Northam, a pediatric neurologist who was first elected to the state legislature's upper chamber in 2008, wants to win the lt. governor's office in order to restore Democratic control over the state senate. His campaign has also focused on improving education and creating jobs in energy efficiency, in addition to reversing the direction the Republican leadership has taken the state on women's health issues. "Their crusades to shut down reproductive health centers and to mandate costly and invasive medical procedures for women seeking abortions have embarrassed the Commonwealth, and have inserted government between doctors and their patients."[71][72]

The most recent campaign finance reporting cycle ended on Aug. 31, with Northam maintaining an ample fundraising lead over Jackson, to add to the consistent edge he has shown in the polls. Jackson's remarkable refusal to accept assistance from the Republican Party has no doubt hindered him from overtaking Northam in money and/or voter support. His proven difficulties adhering to the state board of elections' filing protocols, having twice needed to amend his documentation of loans or donations, likewise does not bode favorably for the GOP nominee heading into the home stretch of the campaign.[73][74]

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Poll Ralph Northam (D) E.W. Jackson (R)Not sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll
(May 24-26, 2013)
35%29%36%+/-3.8672
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
30%28%41%+/-4.3525
Public Policy Poll
(July 11-14, 2013)
42%35%23%+/-4.0601
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
48%37%16%+/-3.1886
Roanoke University Poll
(September 30 - October 5, 2013)
39%35%26%+/-3.01,046
NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll
(October 13-15, 2013)
48%42%9%+/-4.0762
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
52%39%6%+/-4.5
AVERAGES 42% 35% 22.43% +/-3.81 641.71
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

Attorney General

In March 2013, Governing magazine rated Virginia's open attorney general seat as "vulnerable" heading into the 2013-2014 elections because incumbent Republican Ken Cuccinelli is not running for re-election.[75]

The race to replace Cuccinelli began at the primary nomination stage; both Republican convention and Democratic election candidates drew primary contests. On May 18, two "strong fiscal and social conservatives"[75] -- state Sen. Mark Obenshain and state Rep. Rob Bell -- competed for delegate votes at the Republican Party of Virginia's closed nominating convention, which Obenshain won.[76] The nominee's late father, GOP politician Richard Obenshain, died in a plane crash during his 1978 campaign for U.S. Senate. Obenshain will square off against state Sen. Mark Herring in the general election. Herring defeated former assistant U.S. Attorney for Virginia Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary election, which took place on June 11, 2013.[77][75]

Although Obenshain was considered the early front-runner, polls have shown Herring leading by a very slim margin as of late October 2013, a likely effect, or occupational hazard, for Obenshain, of sharing what has become a contaminated GOP ticket. With one week remaining before election day, at least two influential backers - Planned Parenthood and Independence USA PAC - hope to widen the gap with roughly one million dollars worth of media spots lampooning Obenshain for his past support of a "personhood" amendment, which would have banned birth control and abortions regardless of the circumstances," in addition to his stance against increased background checks on prospective gun owners. Independence USA PAC is heavily driven by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has already invested millions into ads hammering "far-right" Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli on similar grounds, mainly emphasizing his affiliation with the National Rifle Assocation (NRA), and the buys against Obenshain seek to lump the lesser-known AG contender together with Cuccinelli, the most recognizable and most troubled candidate appearing on the party's statewide ticket this year. Meanwhile, the NRA is on the counterattack; the organization has unleashed an anti-Herring ad, now airing around Virginia, valued at a reported $500,000.[78][79] The NRA's assistance pales in comparison, however, to the recent $2.6 million infusion from the Republican State Leadership Committee in support of Obenshain, whom the committee views as the only hope for preventing Democrats from scoring a clean sweep of the state-row races this year.[80]

Attorney General of Virginia
Poll Mark Herring (D) Mark Obenshain (R)Not sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll
(May 24-28, 2013)
33%32%34%+/-3.8672
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
29%33%38%+/-4.3525
Public Policy Poll
(July 11-14, 2013)
38%36%25%+/-4.0601
Roanoke University Poll
(September 30 - October 5, 2013)
35%38%26%+/-3.01,046
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
45%42%14%+/-3.1886
Public Policy Poll (Early voters)
(October 19-20, 26-27, 2013)
54%42%4%+/--1,433
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
49%46%3%+/-4.5762
Garin Hart Young Poll
(October 22-23, 2013)
48%45%7%+/-3.5802
AVERAGES 41.38% 39.25% 18.88% +/-2.15 840.88
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


New Jersey

General election

(gov & lt. gov running-mate listed together)

[81]

Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono faced one challenger each in the primary election on June 4, though ultimately neither presented much of a challenge. Both won their respective party nominations with roughly 90% of the vote.[95][96]

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 and went 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.'"[97] Grossman and Webster were endorsed by the weekly publication NJ Today.[98]

In New Jersey, gubernatorial candidates have 30 days to select a lieutenant gubernatorial running mate to share the ticket with in the general election. Immediately after launching his re-election campaign, Christie secured his current Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno as his running mate, while Buono waited until July 29 to formally announce her choice of union leader Milly Silva as her running mate. Silva is the executive vice president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.[99][100] The two-woman ticket will be up against incumbent Republican governor/lt. governor pair Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno in addition to a number of third party opponents in the general election contest taking place November 5, 2013.

Christie is heavily favored to win re-election, with his campaign raising nearly double that of Buono's in the primary and maintaining a decisive lead in the polls throughout the election season.[101][102] At three weeks remaining before the general election, Christie boasted a staggering 26.4-point average lead over Buono in the polls.[103] He also has bipartisan support, which is 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.[104]

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.[105] 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.[106] 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 is eligible for an additional $8 million, approximately. The terms also state that he must participate in two debates with Buono before Nov. 5.[106][107]

The New Jersey gubernatorial election was rated by the Washington Post as one of the top five races to watch in 2013.[108]

September 26-present

New Jersey Governor's Race 2013
Poll Barbara Buono (D) Chris Christie* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Monmouth University Poll
(September 26-29, 2013)
37%56%4.0%+/-4.0615
Fairleigh Dickenson Poll
(September 30, 2013-October 5, 2013)
25%58%15%+/-3.7702
Rasmussen Reports
(October 7, 2013)
34%55%7%+/-3.01,000
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 5-7, 2013)
33%62%4%+/-2.91,144
Stockton Institute Poll
(October 3-8, 2013)
28%61%11%+/-3.5800
Monmouth University Poll
(October 10-12, 2013)
38%59%3%+/-2.51,606
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 10-14, 2013)
33%62%5%+/-2.21,938
Rutgers Eagleton Poll (Likely Voters)
(October 7-13, 2013)
33%59%6%+/-4.1562
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 21-27, 2013)
31%64%5%+/-2.81,203
Stockton College Poll
(October 23-28, 2013)
32%56%8%+/-3.5804
AVERAGES 32.4% 59.2% 6.8% +/-3.22 957
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

April 19-September 22

New Jersey Governor's Race 2013
Poll Barbara Buono (D) Chris Christie* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University Poll
April 19-22, 2013
26%58%13%+/-2.91,112
NBC News/Marist Poll
April 28-May 2, 2013
28%60%10%+/-3.01,080
Quinnipiac University Poll
July 2-7, 2013
29%61%7%+/-3.01,068
Quinnipiac University Poll
August 1-5, 2013
30%58%8%+/-2.22,042
Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll
August 15-18, 2013
36%56%6%+/-3.5777
Farleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll
August 21-27, 2013
26%50%24%+/-3.7700
Rasmussen Reports Poll
September 10-11, 2013
32%58%8%+/-3.0999
Rutgers-Eagleton Poll
September 3-9, 2013
35%55%8%+/-4.1568
Stockton Poll
September 15-21, 2013
30%58%9%+/-3.4812
Quinnipiac University Poll
September 19-22, 2013
30%64%6%+/-2.81,249
AVERAGES 30.2% 57.8% 9.9% +/-3.16 915.8
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


See also: State executive official elections, 2014

Ballotpedia has counted and is currently tracking a total of 217 state executive positions in 42 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 eight states that are not holding executive official elections in 2014 are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The offices up for election include:

Mark your calendar
DateEvent
December 2Candidate filing deadline in Illinois (major parties)
December 9Candidate filing deadline in Texas (major parties)
January 28, 2014Candidate filing deadline in Kentucky (major parties)


Notable candidates

252px-Question book-3 trans.png

Q.How many Illinois governors have gone to jail?

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, currently in prison for corruption

Answer: Four - Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich

Since 1818, 41 men have served as Governor of Illinois. Six of them have been accused of wrongdoing, with four (all since the 1960s) going to jail.

Len Small, governor from 1921-1929, was indicted on charges of embezzling millions during his time as state treasurer just seven months after assuming the governorship. A five-week trial in 1922 ended with his full acquittal. Eight of the jurors who acquitted Small would end up with state jobs during his time in office. During the 1924 campaign, in the face of blatant corruption, the Chicago Tribune declared him the "worst governor the state ever had," but he was re-elected regardless and never went to jail.[111]

William Stratton, governor from 1953-1961, was indicted for tax evasion but acquitted in 1965.[112]

Otto Kerner, Jr. would be the first Illinois governor sent to jail. Serving as governor from 1961 to 1968, he resigned to become a judge. Convicted of bribery related to his time as governor, he was sentenced to three years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Dan Walker would be the second to go to jail. Governor from 1973 to 1977, Walker was involved in the savings and loan scandals and pled guilty to bank fraud. He was sentenced to seven years in jail and served 17 months.[113]

George Ryan, grovernor from 1999 to 2003, was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI. He began serving a 6 ½ year sentence in 2007. In January 2013 he was moved to home confinement and released in July, his term reduced for good behavior.[114]

The fourth Illinois governor to be sentenced to jail was Rod Blagojevich. Following a three-year battle, Blagojevich was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, including trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. In December 2011 he was sentenced to 14 years.[115]

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