The Executive Summary: State auditors in the headlines

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May 16, 2013

Edited by Greg Janetka

MADISON, Wisconsin: This edition of The Executive Summary features a breakdown of the current partisan count and takes a look at recent action involving an office that normally sees little news coverage - the state auditor.

Partisan count

Ballotpedia currently covers 13 major state executive official positions across the country, totaling 729 officials. As of today, May 16, Republicans hold 214 (29%) of those seats, Democrats hold 128 (17.5%), 1 (0.13%) is an Independent, and 385 (52.9%) are officially non-partisan.

Looking at just the 344 seats that are partisan affiliated, Republicans control 57.6 percent, Democrats 40.1 percent, and Independents hold 0.52 percent. In each position Republicans hold more seats than Democrats, with the exception of Attorney General, where Democrats hold 26 and Republicans 24, and Controller and Natural Resources Commissioner, where the two parties are tied.

In the top four offices - Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State - Republicans hold 110 seats (57.6%), Democrats have 78 (40.1%), and Independents have 1 (0.5%).

Note: The partisan office of Florida Lieutenant Governor is currently vacant.

Here's a full breakdown by position.

Office Democratic Party Democratic Republican Party Republican Independent Independent Nonpartisan Total seats
Governor 19 30 1 0 50
Lieutenant Governor 14 29 0 0 44
Secretary of State 19 27 0 1 47
Attorney General 26 24 0 0 50
Treasurer 17 19 0 12 48
Auditor 11 14 0 11 36
Superintendent of Schools 3 6 0 41 50
Insurance Commissioner 5 7 0 38 50
Controller 5 5 0 3 13
Agriculture Commissioner 1 11 0 38 50
Natural Resources Commissioner 1 1 0 46 48
Labor Commissioner 0 3 0 47 50
Public Services Commissioner 7 38 0 148 193
Total 128 (17.5%) 214 (29%) 1 (0.14%) 385 (52.9%) 729
[edit]

New Iowa Auditor appointed

Iowa's new state Auditor Mary Mosiman

On May 13, Mary Mosiman took the oath of office as Iowa’s new State Auditor. Mosiman was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad (R) following the early departure of 10 year elected officeholder David Vaudt. Vaudt's current term was set to expire in January of 2015, however he[1] announced on April 4, 2013 that he would be resigning the post on May 3 in order to become chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board in Connecticut.[2]

Mosiman is the first woman to hold the office of state auditor in Iowa history. Her credentials as a CPA and her interest in a long-term commitment to the job were among the reasons Branstad cited for the choice of appointment. Mosiman has already stated her intention to seek election to a full term as auditor in the 2014 elections.[3]

Prior to assuming office as Iowa’s head financial watchdog, Mosiman served as the Auditor and Commissioner of Elections for Story County from 2001 until 2010, when she was named deputy chief of elections under secretary of state Matt Schultz.[4]


Illinois audit shows less than half of road funds spent on roads

Illinois Auditor William Holland

A recent report from the Illinois Auditor General shows that approximately a quarter of the state road fund went to the Illinois Department of Transportation over the last decade. The remaining money was spent covering expenses from other Illinois government agencies, such as underwriting secretary of state salaries and state police, according to auditor William Holland. Both agencies have "highway-related responsibilities,"[5] and thanks to an ambiguous spending policy regarding the road fund--derived mainly from the federal government, motorist user fees and motor fuel taxes--they were able to siphon money intended for construction projects. State Senator Bill Brady (R) sponsored the resolution behind the ambitious review, which necessitated for the first time the development of a standard definition of "what constituted direct road construction costs."[5]

"It’s really sorry to see that half the money that’s supposed to be going to rebuild roads, which creates jobs and provides for public safety, is being swept away to other areas," Brady said in response to the May 14 audit report's revelation that in eight of the last ten fiscal years, under 50% of money allocated to the state road fund went toward direct road construction costs.[6]

Among other statistics the auditors determined, the state road fund was overcharged $54 million more in workers’ compensation costs over a three year span, and by $156 million for employee group health insurance over the 2010-2011 fiscal years.[5]

State executives: Where are they now?

Former Pennsylvania Auditor Jack Wagner

Months after stepping down as Pennsylvania State Auditor, Democrat Jack Wagner entered the race for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[7] Candidates had until March 12 to collect the 250 signatures necessary to make the ballot. The primary election is scheduled for May 21, followed by a general election on November 5, 2013.[8] Wager will face Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, school bus monitor A.J. Richardson, District 19 State Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr., and write-in candidate Josh Wander in the Democratic primary.

After working as a Safety Consultant for several years, Wagner was elected to his first political post in 1984 when he became a Pittsburgh City Councilman. After ten years on the Pittsburgh City Council, Wagner was elected to his first statewide office when he became a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate. He served in this post for another ten years.

Wagner ran successfully for Pennsylvania Auditor in 2004, and was re-elected by a large margin in 2008 over Republican businessman Chet Beiler, earning more votes than any other candidate on the ballot in Pennsylvania (3.26 million), including Barack Obama.[9]

Wagner made one of his final, and most publicized, acts as auditor last summer when, in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, he called for major changes which he believed would make Penn State more open and accountable. In a July 26, 2012 letter to leaders of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, Wager made several recommendations, each of which would require laws to be changed.[10] First, Wagner called for the President to be removed as a voting member of the Board of Trustees. Second, the university, along with three other schools, should be subject to right-to-know laws which would require them to make information such as salaries and contracts available to the public. Third, the board's by-laws, he said, should be changed to require more members be present in order to establish a quorum.[10]

On November 14, 2012, after his successor, Eugene DePasquale (D), had won in the general election, Wagner released a special report in which he added another recommendation to the list of reforms he put forth in July. The new proposal called for the Governor of Pennsylvania, along with the University President, to be removed as a voting member of the Board of Trustees. “The governor simply cannot faithfully serve two masters,” Wagner said in his report, referring to the dueling agendas the governor has to serve, between the average taxpayer and the board.[11]

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
May 17-18Virginia Republican Party holds statewide primary convention
June 4New Jersey primary election
June 11Virginia Democratic primary election
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.[12] 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"[13] political reporters.[14][15]

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.[16]

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

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 has already secured the GOP nomination for governor, being the only member of his party to file by the convention’s Jan. 13th deadline,[17] whereas the lieutenant governor and attorney general primary fields are both contested. Seven Republican candidates filed for retiring Lt. Gov Bill Bolling’s seat, while two entered the race to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general. This upcoming weekend, delegates of the Republican Party of Virginia will vote to decide which two of their party’s candidates will appear on the general election ballot for the offices of lieutenant governor and attorney general. Here is a complete list of candidates competing in the May 17-18 Republican primary convention:

Lieutenant Governor:

Attorney General:

Race background

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.[18] 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.[19] He later said he regretted dropping out of the race so soon.[20]

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.[21][22][23]

Like Cuccinelli, McAuliffe faces no primary contest. The two contenders will square off in the general election on November 5, 2013.[24]

Governor of Virginia: Cuccinelli v. McAuliffe
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
AVERAGES 38.4% 42% 19.2% +/-3.58 877.2
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

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. The winners will face the Republican nominees chosen by delegates of the Virginia Republican Party at the party-funded statewide primary convention on May 18. The following list of candidates for the Democratic primary election is official as of March 28, 2013:

Governor:

Lieutenant Governor:

Attorney General:

New Jersey

In November 2012, the Washington Post rated the New Jersey gubernatorial election as one of the top five races to watch in 2013.[25]

First term incumbent Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced his bid for re-election on November 26, 2012, the day before Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Christie's approval rating soaring to 72%, compared to 56% in October and previous record high of 59% from April.[26][27] The peak job approval ratings from New Jersey voters were Christie's reward for his performance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

In early 2013, names of potential Democratic candidates for New Jersey Governor defected to a new list - supporters of presumptive nominee Barbara Buono, a state Senator. Buono was the only individual from her party to formally enter the race until the April 1 primary candidate filing deadline; Four additional Democrats ultimately filed for the Democratic primary nomination, as well as one Republican candidate.[28]

In February, when Buono's campaign passed the $380,000 fundraising mark to qualify for the state's public matching-funds program, Christie had already raised $2 million for his re-election campaign. Unlike in 2009, Christie stated that he will not accept matching funds in the 2013 primary.[29] Despite Buono’s expanding campaign coffer and list of endorsements, which now includes the Democratic Governors’ Association, she faces what appears to be an uphill battle. The incumbency advantage aside, Christie’s fundraising prowess and popularity--especially since Hurricane Sandy--among heavyweights from both major parties shield him against an upset in November.

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
AVERAGES 27% 59% 11.5% +/-2.95 1,096
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

The following list of candidates is official as of the April 1, 2013 primary candidate filing deadline.

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates

See also: State executive official elections, 2014

Ballotpedia has counted and is currently tracking a total of 214 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 nine 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:

Recent notable candidates

  • Current Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Anthony Brown officially launched his 2014 gubernatorial campaign on May 10, 2013. If he wins, Brown will be the first lieutenant governor and first African-American to be elected governor of Maryland since the lieutenant governor's office was created in 1970.[35][36] Term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley, with whom Brown shared winning tickets in both the 2006 and 2010 elections, supports Brown as his successor.[37] He is reportedly considering Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for his running mate.[38]

252px-Question book-3.jpg

How many state elect their governor and lieutenant governor on a shared ticket in both the primary and general elections?

Answer: A total of 20 states elect the governor and lieutenant governor on a single ticket in both the primary and general elections. Meanwhile, 6 states elect the lt. governor separately in the primary election but elect them on a shared ticket with the governor in the general election, and 17 states hold entirely separate elections for governor and lt. governor.
The 20 states that see the governor and lt. governor share a ticket throughout the entire election cycle are as follows:

References

  1. Iowa Auditor of State, "David A. Vaudt, CPA," accessed May 30, 2012
  2. The Gazette, "Iowa state auditor Vaudt resigning," April 4, 2013
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named marymo
  4. Office of the Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad, "Press release: Branstad names CPA Mary Mosiman as new state auditor," May 13, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The State Journal-Register, "Audit: Less than half of state road fund spent on roads," May 14, 2013
  6. State of Illinois Office of the Auditor General, "Management Audit of Road Fund Revenue and Expenditures," May 2013
  7. PoliticsPA, "Wagner, Harris Circulating Petitions for PGH Mayor," March 4, 2013
  8. Jack Wagner for Mayor, "Elections," accessed April 18, 2013
  9. Wagner wins second term as auditor general
  10. 10.0 10.1 Philly.com, "Auditor General Wagner seeks right-to-know laws, other changes at Penn State," July 27, 2012
  11. The Patriot News, "Pennsylvania AG's recommendations for Penn State include removing governor, school president as trustees," November 14, 2012
  12. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin April 2 election results," accessed April 3, 2013
  13. The Republic, "GOP education superintendent candidate's campaign blacklists 5 Wisconsin reporters," March 17, 2013
  14. Walworth County Today, "Wisconsin superintendent candidates to debate," March 12, 2013
  15. WisPolitics, "Pridemore Campaign: Pridemore vows to eliminate DPI mascot policy," March 28, 2013
  16. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Canvass Certification: 2013 Spring Election," accessed April 18, 2013
  17. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling says major announcement set for March 14," February 7, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
  19. Washington Post, "Bill Bolling decides not to seek GOP nomination for VA governor," November 28, 2012
  20. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling regrets dropping out of the race so soon," April 22, 2013
  21. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  22. NBC 12- Decision Virginia 2013, "Transportation battle creates awkward political triangle," March 26, 2013
  23. Washington Post, "Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe: Virginia governor’s race holds the eyes of the nation," March 29, 2013
  24. Associated Press - abc7.com, "Terry McAuliffe qualifies for Virginia June Democratic primary ballot," March 27, 2013
  25. Washington Post, "The 5 best races of 2013," November 30, 2012
  26. Quinnipiac University Poll, "Sandy Response Sends New Jersey Gov Approval Sky-High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Stricter Codes For Shore Rebuilding," November 27, 2012
  27. USA Today, "New Jersey Governor Christie announces re-election bid," November 27, 2012
  28. Asbury Park Press, "Christie, Buono get five other primary foes," April 2, 2013
  29. The Star-Ledger, "Buono qualifies for public matching funds in N.J. governor's race," February 4, 2013
  30. NorthJersey.com, "Democrat Barbara Buono running for governor in NJ," December 11, 2012
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 New Jersey State Board of Elections, "Primary candidate list for 2013 Governor," accessed April 4, 2014
  32. The Associated Press "Governor Christie Announces Re-Election Bid," November 26, 2012
  33. Trib Live, "Sestak rules out run for governor in 2014, eyes rematch with Toomey," May 14, 2013
  34. WBAY, "Republican Bishop announces Secretary of State run," May 14, 2013
  35. WBAL Radio, "Brown Kicks Off Bid for Governor Today," May 10, 2013
  36. The Washington Post, "Steele Running Against History," August 7, 2005
  37. Washington Blade, "Exclusive: Mizeur eyeing run for Maryland governor," November 14, 2012
  38. The Washington Post, "A Brown-Ulman ticket could shake up Democratic primary for Md. governor’s office," April 28, 2013