The Executive Summary: With last 2013 primary in the books, it's on to November!
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Edited by Greg Janetka
This edition of The Executive Summary features a rundown of this week's primary in Virginia - the last state executive primary for the year. We also introduce you to New Jersey's new attorney general, look at the auditing brouhaha in Ohio, and say goodbye to resigning officials and hello to newly appointed ones. And, as always, we keep you up to date with the latest 2013-2014 election news and throw in a trivia question for good measure.
Virginia Democrats hold primary
|The Democratic slate of candidates|
Virginia Democrats went to the polls this past Tuesday to decide which candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general to send to the general election. With 99% of precincts reporting as of 12:00 am ET, the results show state Sen. Ralph Northam defeating Aneesh Chopra 54-46 percent for the lieutenant gubernatorial nomination, and attorney general hopeful Mark Herring, Northam's senate colleague, scoring a - slightly narrower 52-48 percent - victory over Justin Fairfax.
Former Democratic National Committee Chair and current gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was nominated by default, having drawn no primary challengers. His name did not appear on the primary ballot.
With both the Republican convention and Democratic primary election now over, the ballots for the Nov. 5 general election are set for major party candidates seeking the open seats of governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. McAuliffe will square off with Ken Cuccinelli for governor, along with Libertarian Party nominee Robert Sarvis. Northam and Herring will face GOP convention picks E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain, respectively, in the general election on November 5, 2013.
New Jersey Attorney General appointed to U.S. Senate, replacement named
Jeff Chiesa, who had served as Attorney General of New Jersey since January 2012, was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Chris Christie (R) on June 6 to fill the vacancy left by Frank Lautenberg’s death. A special primary will be held on August 13, 2013 and the special general election will be on October 16, 2013. Chiesa does not plan to run in the special election.
To replace Chiesa, Christie named John Hoffman to the post on June 7. Hoffman previously served as executive assistant attorney under Chiesa and has worked as an Assistant United State Attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey. While in that position he focused on economic and white collar criminal prosecutions. He also served as director of the Division of Investigations for the State Comptroller's Office, served as Trial Attorney for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and worked in private practice.
Hoffman will serve as acting attorney general until Christie either nominates a permanent replacement or asks the state Senate to confirm Hoffman as permanent. It is unclear at this point what Christie intends to do.
Ohio Governor, legislators rush to prevent audit of JobsOhio
In 2011, the Ohio State Legislature passed legislation creating JobsOhio, a private non-profit economic development firm tasked with attracting businesses to the state. A major source of funding for the firm is the $100 million in profits that come from the state's liquor operations. Prior to the creation of JobsOhio, those profits went to the state's general fund. The legislation creating the organization allows for a yearly audit by a private auditor, but controversy has arisen as the $100 million was previously public money.
In March of this year, Yost, arguing he had the authority to audit the money, subpoenaed the company's records. In response, the legislature rushed through legislation that stated the liquor money is legally private money and does not fall under a public audit, which Gov. John Kasich (R) signed on June 4. Yost, who said he would not have supported the original legislation, sent lawmakers a letter on March 19, stating, “I urge you to tread cautiously. While there have been no indications of misdealing, the potential for self-dealing or other mischief exists sometime in the future. This office’s audit will help protect against the real possibility of human failings."
The issue of the private/public status of JobsOhio is currently before the state Supreme Court. A bipartisan group made up of Democratic lawmakers, progressive activists and conservative lawyers is seeking to have the money publicly audited, arguing that it is unconstitutional for public money to be invested in private companies without public oversight. The state, meanwhile, argues that the plaintiffs do not have standing to sue.
South Carolina Public Utilities Commission chair resigns
David Wright resigned as a member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission on May 31, saying, “I’m still young enough to do something else. I’m looking for a challenge.” Wright was first appointed to the commission on March 3, 2004. He was elected Vice Chairman in July 2010 and chairman in July 2012. His term was set to expire on June 30, 2014. Randy Mitchell, who had been serving as vice chair, took over as chairman.
In South Carolina, a vacancy on the public service commission may be filled by the governor until the successor in the office for a full term or an unexpired term, as applicable, has been elected by the General Assembly. However, it is possible that the seat could remain vacant until the legislature elects a successor next year.
- 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|
|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.|
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 hopes to succeed him as the state's chief executive official. The combination of Cuccinelli's bid and the Republican Party's shift to a closed primary convention in 2013 compelled retiring Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, once considered the front runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, to opt out of the governor's race.
This year's election marks McAuliffe’s second bid for the governorship in Virginia; he ran for the office in 2009, finishing a distant second in the Democratic primary behind Creigh Deeds, who lost to McDonnell in the general election. He will square off with Cuccinelli this fall for the governor's office, along with Libertarian Party nominee Robert Sarvis.
Echoing this year’s Republican nominating convention, the gubernatorial field attracted only one Democrat, former National Democratic Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe, whereas the lieutenant governor and attorney general primary fields were both contested. Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer for President Obama until 2012 and state Sen. Ralph Northam filed for the open lieutenant governor seat. Two more - former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax and state Sen. Mark Herring - entered to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general by the March 28 candidate filing deadline.
Now officially the Democratic Party nominee for lt. governor, Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist who was first elected to the state legislature's upper chamber in 2008, wants to win the 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."
Herring, who won the Democratic primary for attorney general this week, claims that Cuccinelli has abused his position in pursuit of a partisan agenda and called him an "extreme conservative." The Democratic hopeful’s priorities include reforming the state's gun laws, fighting GOP and Cuccinelli-led efforts to strengthen restrictions on abortions, as well as advocate for equal rights for same-sex couples. His primary opponent Fairfax, 34, expressed similar priorities, but believed his background as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia would give him the edge, as did The Washington Post, which endorsed him in the primary. The most recent PPP poll heading into the June 11 election, however, indicated that voters were marginally more inclined toward nominating Herring- owing perhaps to Herring's greater name-recognition, having served in the state Senate since 2006. Herring wants to pass gun-reform legislation, protect the environment and fight elder and child abuse.
|Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Democratic Primary Election, 2013|
|Election Results Via: Virginia State Board of Elections|
|Attorney General of Virginia Democratic Primary Election, 2013|
|Election Results Via: Virginia State Board of Elections|
With both the Republican convention and Democratic primary election now over, the ballots for the Nov. 5 general election are set for major party candidates seeking the open seats of governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The candidates include:
New Jersey held primary elections last week for governor. Republican incumbent Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono faced one challenger each, though ultimately neither presented much of a challenge. With 98% of precincts reporting, results show both Christie and Buono winning 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 has long been on the rise but turned 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 to share the ticket with in the general election. Christie has already secured his current Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno as his running-mate, and Buono is expected to make her pick soon. Buono and Christie, along with unaffiliated candidates Diane Sare and Hank Schroeder, will square off in the general election on November 5, 2013.
Christie is heavily favored to win re-election, with his campaign raising nearly double that of Buono's so far and averaging a 30% edge over his Democratic competitor in the latest polls. 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.
Here are the unofficial results of the June 4 Democratic and Republican primary contests for New Jersey Governor:
Arkansas Treasurer appointed
In the wake of the scandal that led to Martha Ann Shoffner’s retirement, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) coaxed former legislative auditor Charles Robinson out of retirement to fill the vacancy. Robinson, who retired in 2007, spent 34 years at the Division of Legislative Audit, including 28 years as the legislative auditor. Upon his appointment Robinson stated, "I want the treasurer's office to be what everyone expects it to be. I think I'm apolitical, and I'm too old to change."
Shoffner, meanwhile, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 5 on 14 counts of extortion and bribery. She is due back in court on June 27.
New Hampshire Labor Commissioner nominated
On June 5, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) nominated attorney and former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives James Craig as the new Commissioner of Labor. Craig would take over for David Wihby, who has been serving as interim officeholder since July 2012. The Executive Council has scheduled a hearing on Craig’s nomination for June 17.
Craig is a former Democratic member of the state House, serving from 1998-2006 and 2008-2010. He was the Democratic minority leader for the New Hampshire State House of Representatives from 2004-2006. Craig made an unsuccessful bid for the United States House of Representatives, District 1, New Hampshire in 2006.
- See also: State executive official elections, 2014
Ballotpedia has counted and is currently tracking a total of 215 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:
- 36 governors
- 25 treasurers
- 16 auditors
State executive incumbents planning to retire rather than seek re-election in 2014
Q. Who are the longest-serving and shortest-serving governors?
Answer: Iowa’s current Republican Gov. Terry Branstad earned the top spot with a combined total of over 18 years and counting, while Samuel G. Cosgrove (R) of Washington comes in last, serving just one day in office.
Branstad first served as Governor of Iowa from 1983-1999. He was re-elected in 2010 and after about a week in office in 2011 officially became the longest serving governor in U.S. History, taking the title from former South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow who served a total of 16 years and 7 days. Branstad is exploring a bid for re-election in 2014.
While there is some argument about the shortest-serving governor, the title appears to go to Washington’s Cosgrove. Although his term in office is listed as January 27,1909 - March 28, 1909, he actually only served one day in office. Soon after his election, Cosgrove suffered a heart attack. Too weak to finish his inaugural ceremony, Cosgrove was granted a leave of absence. He went to California to recuperate but died two months later.
- Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
- Virginia State Board of Elections, "2013 Unofficial Primary Election Results," accessed June 11, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Va. Democrats in race for attorney general, lieutenant governor appear at showcase," June 6, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Virginia GOP picks staunch conservatives as statewide candidates," May 18, 2013
- Politico "Chris Christie appoints Jeff Chiesa as interim senator" June 6, 2013
- Arkansas Business, "Mike Beebe Names Charles Robinson State Treasurer," May 29, 2013
- NJToday.net, "Hoffman Tabbed As Acting Attorney General," June 10, 2013
- NorthJersey.com, "Christie names John Hoffman acting attorney general," June 10, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Senate follows House in quickly passing bill to block public audit of JobsOhio," May 31, 2013
- Governing, "The Strange Case of JobsOhio and Public Auditing of Private Firms," June 10, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio Supreme Court agrees to hear JobsOhio case," January 23, 2013
- The State, "SC Public Service Commission member David Wright to retire," May 30, 2013
- South Carolina Code of Laws, " Title 58, Chapter 3," accessed January 18, 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
- Official Campaign Website, "Issues," accessed March 20, 2013
- Patch.com, "Meet Democratic Attorney General Candidate Justin Fairfax," June 7, 2013
- Public Policy Polling, "McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by 5 points," May 29, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Virginia GOP picks staunch conservatives as statewide candidates," May 18, 2013
- NJToday "Primary election results," accessed June 5, 2013
- Elect Troy Webster Official Campaign Website, "Biography," accessed June 4, 2013
- NJ Today, "EDITORIAL: Troy Webster For Governor," April 14, 2013
- PolitickerNJ, "Christie and Buono wrap yawner primary season," June 4, 2013
- New Jersey Department of State Elections Division, "Statewide Voter Registration Summary," May 7, 2013
- Arkansas Business, “Martha Shoffner Due Back in Court June 27,” June 7, 2013
- Boston.com, "NH council hearing on labor commissioner pick set," June 9, 2013
- Project Vote Smart - Rep. Craig
- The Sacramento Bee, "California treasurer Bill Lockyer to retire from elected office," June 3, 2013
- Boston Globe, "Patrick says he will serve out full term," January 4, 2011
- Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, "NEWS RELEASE: Secretary of State Ritchie Announces He Will Not Seek Third Term," June 4, 2013
- Reporternews.com, "Comptroller Combs will not run for any statewide office in 2014," May 29, 2013
- Smart Politics, "The Top 50 Longest-Serving Governors of All Time," April 10, 2013
- WHOTV Des Moines, "CULVER PLANS: Former Governor Considers Future," December 2, 2012
- National Governors Association, “Washington Governor Samuel G. Cosgrove,” Access to June 12, 2013
- Washington Secretary of State, “ Samuel Goodlove Cosgrove,” accessed June 12, 2013