Gubernatorial elections, 2014

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36 gubernatorial positions are up for election in 2014.

A total of four governors are term-limited and ineligible to run for re-election. They are:

  • Of those states holding gubernatorial elections in 2014, seven (AR, FL, IL, MA, ME, PA, and RI) are considered most likely to face partisan switch, according to polling figures and reports from The Washington Post, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Governing, current as of August 2013. The vulnerable governor seats are held by the following incumbents:[1][2][3]


See also: Alabama gubernatorial election, 2014

The Alabama gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Robert J. Bentley (R) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Alaska gubernatorial election, 2014

The Alaska gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Sean Parnell (R) is eligible for re-election, but has not yet said if he intends to run.[7] The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Arizona gubernatorial election, 2014

The Arizona gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Jan Brewer (R) is term-limited from seeking re-election in 2014, although reports from November 2012 indicated she was exploring the possibility of running again anyway on grounds that her circumstances could warrant an exemption from the law. Brewer was originally appointed to the position in 2009 and has been elected one time since, in 2010. Arizona constitution's rules governing gubernatorial term limits preclude any individual who has occupied the office during two consecutive terms from running for re-election, without specifying for the conditions of Brewer's incomplete first term.[8]


See also: Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2014

Democratic incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe was ineligible for re-election in 2014 due to term limits, setting the stage for a highly competitive race. Over a year before the election, polling figures and ratings reports - from sources such as The Washington Post, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, Governing and Daily Kos - already labeled Beebe's seat as a "toss-up" and labelled Arkansas among the states most vulnerable to partisan switch in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle.[9][10][11][12]

Despite announcing in December 2012 that he would not run for governor in 2014, former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross (D) re-emerged as a potential candidate in the wake of state attorney general and expected front-runner Dustin McDaniel's exit from the race.[13][14][15] "Dustin McDaniel getting out of the race has left a huge void which clearly none of the other candidates are filling or I wouldn't be getting all these calls from every corner of the state...I'm humbled by that and I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the people of this state to at least reconsider my decision and I'm doing that," Ross said at U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's (D-AR) re-election fundraiser in March 2013.[16] Ross officially launched his campaign on April 17, 2013. The only other declared Democratic candidate at the time of his announcement, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, left the race in July when he found himself trailing in fundraising and immediately threw his support behind Ross.[17][18]

Ross overtook Lynette "Doc" Bryant for the Democratic nomination in the May 20, 2014 primary election.[19] Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson defeated businessman Curtis Coleman in the Republican primary, earning the chance to win back the office for their party.[17]

The Libertarian Party and the Green Party selected their candidates for governor by convention. Libertarian nominee Frank Gilbert and Green Party nominee Josh Drake appeared on the November 4 general election ballot with Ross and Hutchinson.[20][21][22]

Money in the race

On May 13, 2014, candidates were required to file pre-primary campaign finance reports detailing their fundraising and expenditures since April 1. Before winning their respective parties' nominations on May 20, Mike Ross (D) and Asa Hutchinson (R) both reported spending more than they took in over the previous month. Ross outraised Hutchinson $491,000 to $240,375, and Hutchinson outspent Ross by about $80,000. A large portion of each candidates' campaign expenditures went toward television advertisements. This was especially true for Hutchinson, who went $439,000 airing his ads across Arkansas—more than triple what Ross spent.[23]

Heading into the May 20 primaries, Ross reported a remaining balance of $2 million, compared to Hutchinson's remaining balance of $904,000. Defeated GOP primary challenger Curtis Coleman raised $62,060 and spent $72,622 in April 2014, while Ross' Democratic primary opponent Lynette Bryant failed to file by the reporting period deadline.[24][23]

McDaniel cancels long-anticipated campaign

In June 2012, term-limited Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) filed paperwork to start raising money for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign.[25] McDaniel had been considered the Democratic frontrunner, but revelations that he had engaged in extra-martial relations with a Hot Springs attorney, Andi Davis, whom he met around his 2010 re-election, ultimately proved too significant a publicity threat to his campaign.[26] He dropped out of the race on January 25, 2013, explaining in an e-mail to supporters, "I had hoped that I could shape the 2014 gubernatorial debate with my vision for the future. Unfortunately, I am now convinced that if I run for Governor, this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas's future."[27]

Ballot access for political parties

See also: Process for establishing a political party in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the process to establish a political party is tied to the votes cast in a presidential or gubernatorial election. In order to initially put candidates on the ballot, political parties must submit a petition with 10,000 signatures. Then, in order to maintain that status beyond the election year in which they submit such a petition, their candidate for governor or president must receive at least 3 percent of the votes cast for that office.[28][29]

In 2012, both the Libertarian and Green parties of Arkansas qualified to put candidates on the ballot, but then their candidates did not receive enough votes for the parties to maintain their ballot status. In the fall of 2013, both parties submitted new petitions and were qualified to put candidates on the 2014 ballot.[30][31][32] In order to maintain their status as political parties without needing to petition for the 2016 elections, their candidates for governor had to receive at least 3 percent of the vote. Frank Gilbert (L) earned 1.9 percent of the vote and Josh Drake (G) earned 1.1 percent of the vote.

According to an April 2014 poll, the likelihood of the Libertarian and Green Parties to maintain their status in the state depended on who the Democratic and Republican Parties ran in the gubernatorial election. With nominees Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross on the ballot, 3 percent of those polled said they would vote for the Libertarian candidate and 2 percent said they would vote for the Green Party candidate. Had Democrat Lynette Bryant advanced with Hutchinson, those likely to vote for the Libertarian candidate remained the same while those likely to vote for the Green Party candidate rose to 4.5 percent. If Republican Curtis Coleman ran against Ross, those polled were more likely to vote for both the Libertarian and Green Party candidates when compared to a ballot including front-runners Ross and Hutchinson, who secured their respective parties' nominations the month after the poll was taken.[33]


See also: California gubernatorial election, 2014

The California gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Jerry Brown (D) is eligible for re-election and has filed a "Statement of Intention" to run for re-election as Governor of California in 2014.[34] The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Colorado gubernatorial election, 2014

The Colorado gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent John Hickenlooper (D) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Connecticut gubernatorial election, 2014

The Connecticut gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Dan Malloy (D) is eligible for re-election, as Connecticut has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Florida gubernatorial election, 2014

Republican incumbent Rick Scott was re-elected to a second term as governor in 2014. Sources such as Governing, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, The Washington Post and Daily Kos had rated Scott among the most vulnerable governors of the electoral cycle.[35][36][37][38][39] Polls projected an extremely close contest between Scott and his prime contender, former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who became a Democrat before mounting his comeback bid against Scott. Indeed, the race came down to the wire on election night.[40]

Education debate

Charlie Crist and Rick Scott sparred over education funding as the primary election transitioned into a general election. Prior to the Republican primary, Scott announced that he would boost per-pupil spending to record levels if re-elected in November. The governor's office published a statement promising an increase in per-pupil funding to $7,132 per student for the 2016 fiscal year, which would surpass the $7,126 per student rate passed during Crist's first year as governor in 2007. He cited improving job figures in his office's optimistic outlook on public education financing.[41]

Crist toured the state in a school bus in August in order to highlight cuts in public education since Scott won election. He noted that the governor facilitated $1.3 billion in education cuts during the 2012 fiscal year.[41] Crist stated on his campaign website that he would push public schools and their partners to reach the top 10 percent of schools globally as measured by reading, math and science scores by 2020.[42]

Ad spending, influence

The Scott vs. Crist election battle played out largely through television ads during the general election. Whether sponsored internally or produced and aired under the auspices of independent expenditures, the commercials were predominantly negative, with each candidate and his outside backers barring no holds to disgrace the other before Florida's electorate of active television viewers.

In late September, Scott upped the ante on media spending for the race by sinking an additional $8 million on television commercials, next to Crist's roughly $5.5 million ad-buy increase on current and future spots. Already a wallet-shattering sum, those ad-buys put the total amount spent on behalf of the two frontrunners' marketing campaigns past the $50 million mark. Scott was responsible for 71 percent, or over $35 million, of this pot, far eclipsing contributions from Crist and his supporters. The incumbent's standing in the race remained precarious during the marketing blitz, but polls conducted during this stage indicated a slight improvement for Scott. These marginal gains invited comparisons to his road from virtual no-name to victory back in 2010, which was attributed in large part to a massive emphasis on TV commercials.[43]

A September 23 article in The Miami Herald pointed out that a candidate's on-air presence does not guarantee success in an election, although Florida's media-marketing landscape is such that a candidate who neglects television altogether is almost guaranteed to fail. "If TV ads decided the governor’s race, Scott would win in a landslide," the article stated.[43]

Primary races

In June 2013, ex-Florida Sen. Nan Rich became the first Democratic candidate in the race. She was later joined by former Florida Gov. and newly-minted Democrat Charlie Crist. Crist's candidacy loomed heavy over Scott's re-election campaign, according to match-up and approval polls dating back as far as May 2012.[44][45][46]

Long affiliated with the Republican Party, Crist's first party switch occurred in 2010, when, after losing the Republican primary for U.S. Senate to Marco Rubio, he changed his registration to Independent as an alternative route to reaching the general election ballot. In the fall of 2013, Crist became a Democrat. This latest party makeover was widely interpreted as a strategic maneuver to help him unseat Scott in the 2014 governor's race.[47]

As the Crist story unfolded and media coverage about Scott's struggles increased, a slew of other, lesser-known hopefuls began filing for the office, mainly as write-ins or with no party affiliation. By October 2013, there were over twenty potentials actively petitioning for a place on the primary and general election ballots.[48] When the filing window finally closed on June 20, 2014, the number had dropped to 18 qualified gubernatorial candidates. The Republican field settled to three, including Scott, while the Democratic field remained a head-to-head battle between Crist and Rich. Unopposed Libertarian nominee Adrian Wyllie earned a direct pass to the general election, along with nine write-ins and three candidates with no stated party preference.[49]

Under Article IV of the Florida Constitution, gubernatorial nominees are required to select running mates after the primary, though they are permitted to do so in advance. Customs for selecting running mates vary across Florida's main political parties. For example, Crist was chided for breaking with party tradition when he announced Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his lieutenant governor pick prior to the primary. "Because he’s been a life-long Republican, Charlie Crist might be excused for not knowing that Democrats typically don’t choose a running mate until they win the nomination," jabbed Nan Rich, his Democratic primary challenger, in a July campaign press release.[50]

In January, Scott appointed Carlos Lopez-Cantera as Florida's new lieutenant governor, ending an extended vacancy in the office that began with former-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's March 2013 resignation amid a public relations scandal. Since Lopez-Cantera's appointment occurred during a gubernatorial election year, his qualifications as a campaigner factored significantly into his selection. Scott and Carroll shared the ticket in 2010, so the governor was left with the responsibility of picking not only a new lieutenant governor to serve out Carroll's term, but also a new running mate for the 2014 election.

Scott and Crist handily secured their respective parties' nominations in the August 26 primary election.[51]

Scott and Cantera-Lopez were elected governor and lieutenant governor on a joint ticket in the general election on November 4, 2014.


See also: Georgia gubernatorial election, 2014

The Georgia gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Nathan Deal (R) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Hawaii gubernatorial election, 2014
Defeat for Abercrombie

Wavering approval numbers, key endorsement losses and the emergence of formidable challengers in both the primary and general election placed Abercrombie at the top of the list of most vulnerable seats in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle. In the months leading up to the primary, inconsistent polling data and conflicting race projections thickened the air of uncertainty hanging over Abercrombie's re-election bid. Still, David Ige's upset by a 2-to-1 margin marked a stunning early elimination for the incumbent despite Abercrombie's 10-to-1 spending advantage.[52][53][54][55][56] The last time a sitting Hawaii Governor ran for re-election and failed was in 1962, when Republican William Francis Quinn, who, in addition to being Hawaii's first governor was also its first and only lame-duck governor, until Abercrombie. Quinn was unseated in the 1962 general election by Democratic challenger John Anthony Burns.[57]

In the aftermath of the primary, Abercrombie attributed his defeat to his decision to call a special session to legalize gay marriage in November 2013. According to Abercrombie, Republican opponents of gay marriage took advantage of the Democratic Party's open primary to vote en masse for Ige, who supported Abercrombie's push for the measure in the legislature. Abercrombie further argued that his absence in the general election paved the way for the Republicans to reclaim the governor's seat in the general election and ultimately block the measure's progress.[58]

Vulnerable seat

As far back as November 2013, several factors besides the gay marriage issue indicated Abercrombie could be at risk of losing re-election in 2014, beginning with long-time Hawaii lawmaker David Ige's entry into the Democratic primary race. Ige has been the state Sen. for District 16 since 1994 and currently serves as chair of the chamber's Ways and Means Committee. Abercrombie trailed Ige in each of the Democratic primary polls taken after the June 3 candidate filing deadline, including a Honolulu Civil Beat Poll of likely Democratic voters conducted by Merriman River Group about a week before the primary showing Ige leading 51 percent to 41 percent.[59][60] Despite having secured the endorsement of fellow Hawaii native President Barack Obama (D), more attention was paid to Ige's endorsements from ex-governors Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi. Both ex-governors are influential Hawaii Democrats who were previously considered close allies of Abercrombie.[61][62]

Controversy over U.S. Senate appointment

The notable defections of Cayetano and Ariyoshi may have stemmed from Abercrombie's controversial December 2012 decision to appoint then-Lieutenant Governor Brian E. Schatz (D) to fill the open U.S. Senate seat left by the death of veteran Senator Daniel Inouye (D). Abercrombie's decision to appoint Schatz meant defying Inouye's deathbed wish for the appointment of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as his replacement.[63][64] Abercrombie was required to appoint one of three individuals submitted by the state party of the incumbent, and Hanabusa—in addition to being Inouye's stated preference—had topped the list of early contenders, therefore the governor's call angered some members of the party.[65][66][67] After the Senate post was given to Schatz, Hanabusa threatened a challenge to Abercrombie in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary nomination.[68] Although Hanabusa ultimately decided to pursue a full term in Inouye's seat in the 2014 election, a measure of residual ill-will toward Abercrombie may have existed among the state's Democratic elite and possibly affected his chances of winning a second term.

Aiona's second run for governor

If Abercrombie had survived Ige's primary challenge, another threat would have awaited him in the second phase of the election in the form of ex-Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona. Aiona was the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee and lost the office to Abercrombie four years ago. Aiona launched his second bid in early 2014 in hopes of staging a general election rematch with Abercrombie. Polls taken prior to Abercrombie's primary knockout reinforced expectations of a tight general election contest between the former foes.[59] On August 9, Aiona won the GOP nomination for the second consecutive cycle, earning 97 percent of the vote in a three-way race.[55]


See also: Idaho gubernatorial election, 2014

The Idaho gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Butch Otter (R) is eligible for re-election, as Idaho has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Illinois gubernatorial election, 2014
Challenges for Gov. Quinn

Current incumbent Pat Quinn, a Democrat who went from lieutenant governor to governor following Rod Blagojevich's 2009 impeachment, won a full term in 2010 and lost his bid for re-election in 2014 to Republican Bruce Rauner. According to multiple outside ratings, Quinn was among the most vulnerable governors in the 2014 electoral cycle.[69]

Incumbent Lt. Gov Sheila Simon (D) announced in February 2013 that she would not run for re-election in 2014 alongside Quinn, her 2010 running mate. Simon said she wanted to seek a new office that would allow her to have a "greater impact," and later declared her candidacy for state comptroller.[70][71] Simon's thinly veiled swipe at the office's impact was followed shortly thereafter by the Illinois House of Representatives' approval of a proposal seeking to eliminate the position of lieutenant governor altogether by constitutional amendment, effective after the 2018 election. In order for the measure to be passed, it would need the approval of both the State Senate and Illinois voters.[72] Quinn said he wanted “a people person” to replace Simon, and ultimately settled on former Chicago public schools chief Paul Vallas.[73]

The 2014 electoral cycle marked the first time in Illinois history that candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor ran on a single ticket in the primary election phase. Spurred by the 2010 election fiasco when Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Scott Lee Cohen had to drop out of the race after being arrested on charges of steroid use and domestic battery, the new joint ticket rule intended to increase the importance of the lieutenant governor based on its partnership with the governor. In theory, allowing gubernatorial candidates to handpick their running mates for the primary would cause campaigns to "better define their priorities for voters and cover more ground as election season gets underway."[73]

As of April 2015, Illinois is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas. In such a blue state, it was expected that Quinn's biggest threat in 2014 would come from a fellow Democrat. The potential primary challenges for Quinn included William "Bill" Daley, a past U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff, and attorney general Lisa Madigan. Quinn dodged both bullets as both potential challengers removed themselves from contention by September 2013. Madigan dropped her long anticipated bid in June 2013 in order to seek another term as attorney general.[74][75][76] In September 2013, after a promising first stretch of campaigning, Daley abruptly ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination.[27][76] Called "a member of Chicago's first political family," for his relation to two of Chicago's longest-reigning mayors, Daley's departure in particular was a coup for Quinn, whose apparently bleak re-election prospects improved markedly in his absence.[77]

Quinn was the fifth out of a total of 46 previous Illinois lieutenant governors to have succeeded to the governorship mid-term. As governor, Quinn emphasized improving the state government's ethical standards and protecting public-sector labor unions. His tenure was marred by steep, deeply unpopular budget cuts and tax increases stemming from long-term state debt among other issues that contributed to his status among the least popular governors facing re-election in 2014.[78]


Bruce Rauner earned the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune prior to the general election.[79] The Chicago Tribune traditionally endorses Republican candidates for statewide and national office, with the notable exception of the paper's endorsement for Barack Obama (D) in the 2008 presidential election.[80]

Third-party candidates

Quinn and Rauner ran against Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm. There were three other third party tickets in race, led by Michael Oberline (Constitution) Scott Summers (Green) and Michael Hawkins (Independent), until an August 22 petition challenge ruling by the Illinois State Board of Elections disqualified their respective parties from appearing on the November 4 ballot. It was the first time in a decade that the Libertarian Party, which survived the signature challenge, was the only minor party to compete for Illinois statewide office in the general election.[81]

Primary review, cross-party vote phenomenon

On September 3, 2013, individuals aiming to qualify for a slot on the March 2014 primary ballot began gathering signatures. The filing period for major party primary candidates ended on December 2, 2013, with only one Democrat, Tio Hardiman, filing to go up against Quinn. On the Republican end, candidates included state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state treasurer Dan Rutherford and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner. Early polls showed Rutherford as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, but Rauner rocketed ahead of the pack by November 2013 and maintained a 15-point average lead up to the March primary, which he won.[82]

A newcomer to politics, Rauner achieved the name recognition he needed to overcome his more established opponents with the help of massive campaign spending totaling nearly $14 million, including $6 million of his own money—the highest amount a candidate has ever spent on his own primary campaign for governor in Illinois.[83][84]

Unofficial results from the March 18 primaries revealed some steep deviations from typical voting behaviors recorded in past elections. Based on the breakdown of votes in the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries provided by the Chicago Tribune on election night, Ballot Access News analyzed what appeared to be a spectacularly low turnout of Democratic voters (438,112 votes) in the party's nominally contested primary. They detected that hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters must have taken advantage of the state's mixed-hybrid primary system to vote the Republican ballot instead of their own. Under Illinois' primary rules, voters can change parties each year but must declare a party affiliation at the polls. Depending on which party is chosen, the voter will then be counted as registered for that party. Voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.[85]

The mass cross-over by Democrats was linked to one specific issue highlighted in this year's GOP governor's race: government employee unions. Most of the Democrats who participated in the Republican primary did so in order to ensure Kirk Dillard, who sided with the unions in the state senate, would lose to Bruce Rauner, who promised to curtail union influence.[86]

In Illinois, the last time more votes were cast in the Republican than the Democratic gubernatorial primary was 1986; not since the 1940s had so few votes been cast in a Democratic gubernatorial primary election. Compared to the last five Illinois gubernatorial elections, there was no significant spike in Republican votes in 2014, indicating the trend reversal was caused by a tremendous drop in Democratic gubernatorial primary votes cast.[86]


See also: Iowa gubernatorial election, 2014

Incumbent standing before re-election

Before Branstad formally launched his campaign, polls showed him in excellent standing for re-election, with an average lead of 20 percentage points in hypothetical general election match-ups.[87] Branstad had looked considerably less secure around the time ex-Democratic challenger Tyler Olson entered the race in July 2013, with only 43 percent of polled voters saying they believed the governor deserved to be re-elected and 54 percent answering that he held office long enough, even though 51 percent approved of his performance. A December 2013 poll by Quinnipiac University gave him a boost of 8 percent in both approval and "deserves to be re-elected" categories.[88][89] By mid-March 2014, polls continued to show Branstad sitting comfortably at 63 percent job approval and Hatch trailing behind by 15 points.[90]

Candidate withdrawals

Democratic State Rep. Tyler Olson declared his candidacy for governor in July 2013 and was considered a strong contender for the party's nomination before withdrawing from the race in December 2013.[91] He decided to drop out following the announcement of his separation from wife Sarah Olson, who had been an instrumental part of his family-oriented campaign.[92][93] Olson's withdrawal was followed soon thereafter by former state Sen. Bob Krause's announcement he was shutting down his campaign. Their absences cleared the path for remaining Democratic hopeful Jack Hatch to face Branstad in the general election. Krause immediately gave Hatch his support, while Olson declined to endorse Hatch upon dropping out of the race.[91][94]


See also: Kansas gubernatorial election, 2014

The Kansas gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Sam Brownback (R) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office. The race is considered to be very competitive, with early polls showing Democrat Paul Davis, the state House Minority Leader, with a small lead over the incumbent governor, Republican Sam Brownback. The Washington Post has also named Kansas as one of the top 15 gubernatorial races of 2014, declaring that "it's hard to ignore polls that show Gov. Sam Brownback's approval ratings well shy of 50%."[95] Brownback's approval ratings have hovered around 35% since January of 2012.[96]


See also: Maine gubernatorial election, 2014

Paul LePage ran for a second term as governor in 2014.[74][97] The often divisive Republican was widely considered one of the most vulnerable gubernatorial incumbents facing re-election this year. Sources ranging from Governing, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Washington Post and Daily Kos rated the 2014 Maine governor's race as a tossup.[98][99][100][101] In June 2013, after Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud launched his bid for the office, LePage briefly indicated interest in running for Michaud's seat in the U.S. House in 2014 as a way to avoid the risk of a formidable challenge. LePage ultimately decided to seek re-election as governor.[102][103]

Cutler's declining fortunes in the general election

The back-and-forth results of polls published in October led supporters of Michaud to call for Cutler's withdrawal from the gubernatorial race. Cutler, who lost to LePage by 1.7 percent in 2010, was seen as a drain on Michaud's poll figures due to their similar political leanings. The independent candidate averaged about 13 percent in October polls gathered by Ballotpedia, while LePage and Michaud each approached 40 percent. Cutler called an October 29 press conference to address these concerns, raising the hopes of Democratic supporters who asked for his withdrawal. He announced plans to remain in the race and stated, "Anyone who has supported me but who now worries that I cannot win and is thereby compelled by their fears or by their conscience to vote instead for Mr. LePage or Mr. Michaud should do so."[104]

U.S. Sen. Angus King (I) had a change of heart on the same day as Cutler's press conference. He endorsed Cutler in August, but switched his support to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D) because "the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014."[105][106]

Campaign finance decision in district court

An August 22 decision by U.S. District Court judge D. Brock Hornby regarding campaign finance limits in Maine may have contributed to more money in the gubernatorial race. Hornby ruled that a group of four donors to the campaign of independent candidate Eliot Cutler could go beyond a $1,500 per person limit on general election contributions for unaffiliated candidates. Democratic and Republican candidates in Maine enjoy a higher contribution limit because they can max out the individual donation limit in the primary and general election reporting periods. Both major-party candidates did not face primary challenges this year, though the individual limit reset after the statewide primary on June 10.[107]

Attorneys representing the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices defended the contribution limits, citing their ability to reduce corrupt practices. The state's attorneys also argued that supporters can use PACs to support their preferred candidates. Hornby dismissed these arguments, noting that the current limitation treats contributors differently based on their political leanings. The decision left open the question of whether all donors to Cutler could contribute $3,000 ahead of the general election, or if the ruling focused on the four plaintiffs. The donors who brought the original lawsuit will also pursue further action to enshrine Hornby's decision into state law.[107]

The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously on August 27 to not enforce the $1,500 limit for each election, opting instead for a $3,000 per individual limit for the 2014 election cycle. The board's decision only applied to the 2014 election, and the Maine State Legislature would need to act for similar changes in future elections.[108]

Dueling campaign finance complaints

The Maine Democratic Party filed an ethics complaints in early October against Paul LePage, claiming that the governor used state property as part of his re-election campaign. The complaint argued that a campaign spokesperson used a state-funded vehicle in order to reach election-related events. The state Republican Party countered with a complaint against Mike Michaud that accused the U.S. House member of using federal campaign money for his gubernatorial campaign. The Maine Ethics Commission unanimously rejected further investigation of both claims on October 10, 2014.[109]

Michaud's revelation

On November 4, 2013, after establishing himself as the race's front-runner, Michaud disclosed in an op-ed column submitted to three of the state’s major news outlets that he is gay.[110] Michaud emphasized that his sexuality was irrelevant to his ability to perform in public office. He said he came out in response to "whisper campaigns" instigated by opponents in order to cast suspicion about his personal life.[111] The revelation put Michaud in the running to become the first openly gay man or woman to be elected governor in the nation's history, though he ultimately lost to Gov. LePage.


See also: Maryland gubernatorial election, 2014

Democratic nomination

Incumbent Martin O'Malley (D) was prevented by term limits from seeking a third consecutive term in office.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown officially launched his 2014 gubernatorial campaign on May 10, 2013. If he would have won, Brown would have been the first lieutenant governor (since the lieutenant governor's office was created in 1970) and first black candidate to be elected governor of Maryland.[112][113] O'Malley, with whom Brown shared winning tickets in both the 2006 and 2010 elections, supported Brown as his successor.[114] Brown's lieutenant gubernatorial running-mate is Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.[97] Immediately after formalizing their partnership for the 2014 campaign, the Brown-Ulman ticket received the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). A number of Cumming's congressional colleagues announced their support soon thereafter, as well as influential branches of SEIU, a major labor union.[115][116][117]

On July 17, 2013, another potentially history-making candidate entered the Democratic primary field to give Brown some competition: Maryland House Delegate Heather Mizeur.[118] Mizeur would have been the first female Governor of Maryland, as well as the country's first openly gay governor, if she had won the general election.[119] Current state attorney general Doug Gansler also sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014. On Oct. 14, 2013, Gansler selected Prince George County Delegate Jolene Ivey as his lieutenant gubernatorial running-mate. Keeping with the trailblazer theme established earlier by Brown and Mizeur to entice more progressive-leaning voters, the Gansler-Ivey ticket also carried the promise of setting an historical record, statewide and national. After joining Gansler's campaign, Ivey stated, "I am proud to be the first African-American woman to run for lieutenant governor, and when we win, to be the first Democratic African-American woman to be lieutenant governor in our nation's history."[120] Both Gansler and Mizeur lost in the Democratic primary on June 24, 2014.

Republican nomination

The Republican ticket of Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford emerged from a field of four potential tickets after the June 24 primary. The winning ticket managed a 14-percent margin of victory over Harford County Executive David Craig and state Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. Hogan and Rutherford were both former appointees of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R).[121]

Campaign issues

Change Maryland inquiry

Republican candidate Larry Hogan was the subject of a complaint to the Maryland State Board of Elections, related to potential assistance of the candidate by Change Maryland. The political communications group, which was created by Hogan in 2011, had been accused of conducting polls and providing resources during Hogan's exploration of a gubernatorial bid. The complaint was filed by David Craig and Ron George, who were defeated by Hogan in the Republican primary on June 24, 2014. The state board dismissed the complaint in July, determining that Hogan likely received assistance from Change Maryland but the board lacked oversight over candidates prior to official filings.[122]

The Maryland Democratic Party filed a new claim regarding Hogan's relationship with Change Maryland on July 24. This complaint alleged that the poll referenced in the earlier complaint cost $10,000, which represented an illegal in-kind contribution to Hogan. Hogan's campaign spokesman, Adam Dubitsky, countered that the Democratic complaint was an effort to distract from changing political fortunes for the party's candidate, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.[123]

Super PAC accusations

The Maryland State Board of Elections received a complaint from Hogan on September 4, alleging coordination between Brown's campaign and a political action committee (PAC) called "One State, One Future." Hogan's filing cited a conflict of interest for Brown consultant Colleen Martin-Lauer, who also consulted with the union-funded PAC. The complaint also pointed to Susan Smith-Bauk, a consultant to lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Ken Ulman who also worked with "One State, One Future." Hogan's campaign manager, Steve Crim, argued at the time of filing that both consultants could not avoid coordination between their different employers based on the nature of their work.[124]

The state board issued guidelines in January 2014 that prohibited communication between Super PACs, which could collect unlimited funds for the purpose of advocating a political position or candidates, and political campaigns. These guidelines prevent coordination over "advertising, messaging, strategy, polling, research, or allocation of resources." Hogan's complaint claimed that the Martin-Lauer example was a "blatant example of illegal coordination" because of overlapping interests in fundraising for the campaign and the Super PAC.[124]

Campaign finance

Hogan reported three times more cash on hand than Brown in the campaign finance reporting period ending on August 19, 2014. Hogan had $2.4 million in cash on hand, compared to $760,000 for the Brown campaign. The disparity was due to Hogan's commitment to a publicly financed campaign, which meant a single payment of $2.6 million from the state's dedicated campaign finance fund. Hogan could not raise additional money in the campaign, while Brown was capable of raising additional funds by not committing to public financing. Brown reported $1.5 million in contributions from June 9 through August 19.[125]

National figures in the race

As poll results between Brown and Hogan narrowed in October, national political figures toured the state to influence the outcome of the gubernatorial race. President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Hillary Clinton made appearances supporting Brown's campaign. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared at three campaign events for Hogan through late October.[126]

Outside groups also spent lavishly on ads during the general election campaign. The Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association invested $1.5 million on TV ads through late October. Michael Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC committed $500,000 to criticize Hogan's endorsement by the National Rifle Association (NRA).[126]


See also: Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2014

Current incumbent Deval Patrick, a Democrat first elected in 2006, was eligible to run for re-election in 2014. However, after winning re-election in 2010, Patrick stated that he would not seek a third term as governor in the 2014 election.[127][128]

Democratic nomination

The field of Democrats competing for their party's nomination in the primary, which took place on September 9, 2014, attracted several current officeholders. Treasurer Steven Grossman won the state Democratic convention on June 14, 2014, while Attorney General Martha Coakley came in second. Physician Donald Berwick also secured a place on the primary ballot. Candidates Joe Avellone and Juliette Kayyem failed to achieve 15 percent of the convention backing to reach the primary ballot.[129][130] Coakley was the leading candidate in all polls against Grossman, but did not win over the party itself prior to the primary. Analysts posited that Coakley defeated Grossman based on higher name recognition. Party leaders were concerned she will not be able to win the general election. Grossman was the former chairman of the state and national Democratic parties.[131] Coakley defeated Grossman and Berwick in the September primary to reach the general election ballot.

Republican nomination

Daniel Wolf, a Republican state senator who announced his intentions to run early on, dropped out of the race after his campaign was suspended "indefinitely" since his Aug 2, 2013 disqualification by the Massachusetts Ethics Commission for being a stakeholder in an airline he previously founded, CapeAir. Since CapeAir is now a quasi-public agency whose board is controlled by the governor, the commission ruled Wolf's ties to be a violation of state conflict of interest prohibitions.[132][133] 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 withdraw from the gubernatorial race.[134][135][136] The uncertainty about if and when he could resume campaigning resulted in Wolf's decision to officially withdraw from the race on October 21, 2013. [77][137][138][134]

Charlie Baker, a venture capitalist who was the Republican nominee for governor in 2010, again won his party's nomination at the convention on March 22, 2014. The other Republican challenger, Mark Fisher, originally appeared to have narrowly missed an appearance on the primary ballot after failing to achieve 15 percent of the vote with just 14.765 percent, but after challenging the results in court the judge ruled that Fisher should be allowed to appear with Baker on the primary ballot.[139][140] The blank ballots that were cast at the convention were counted in the total, reducing the percentage that Fisher received just enough to push him off the ballot. Kirsten Hughes, the Massachusetts Republican party chairwoman, told the media after the convention that blanks should not count towards the total. She retracted that statement days later saying she misspoke.[141][142][143] Baker defeated Fisher in the Republican primary on September 9, 2014.

Baker had to defend his more moderate views as a Republican in order to distance himself from Coakley. Baker supports both abortion rights and gay marriage, a contrast to many views of his conservative Republican supporters.[144]


See also: Michigan gubernatorial election, 2014

First term Republican Gov. Rick Snyder ran for re-election in 2014. In December 2012, in the wake of his passage of a "right-to-work" law that provoked heavy rioting, particularly from unions, a Public Policy Poll showed the governor's chances of winning another term having severely diminished compared to a similar poll released the previous month. His net approval tumbled a net -28 points, with respondents preferring each of the poll's four hypothetical Democratic challengers over Snyder for 2014.[145][146]


See also: Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2014

The Minnesota gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Mark Dayton (D) is running for re-election.[147] The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2014

Incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman is barred by term limits from seeking re-election in 2014.[148][149]. Heineman intended to enthusiastically back then-Lt. Gov Rick Sheehy, with whom he shared a winning ticket in both the 2006 and 2010 elections, as his successor, until[150]until Sheehy's resignation in Feb. 2012, causing a "deeply disappointed" Heineman to withdraw his support for his former second-in-command's campaign.[151] Days later, campaign donors reportedly began receiving refund checks in the mail, the final death knell for Sheehy’s foregone gubernatorial ambitions.[152]

With Sheehy, the previous front-runner, out of the running, other potential candidates emerged with renewed hope: A few weeks after Sheehy's resignation and subsequent withdrawal from the race, state Sen. Charlie Janssen declared his candidacy. Although he is a member of the nonpartisan of the Nebraska Legislature, Janssen is running for governor on the Republican ticket.[153]


See also: Nevada gubernatorial election, 2014

New Hampshire

See also: New Hampshire gubernatorial election, 2014

The New Hampshire gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Maggie Hassan (D) is eligible for re-election, as New Hampshire has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 2-year term in office.

New Mexico

See also: New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2014

The New Mexico gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Susana Martinez (R) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.

New York

See also: New York gubernatorial election, 2014

The New York gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Andrew Cuomo (D) is eligible for re-election, as New York has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Ohio gubernatorial election, 2014

Kasich has stated his intention to seek a second term as governor in 2014.[74]

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan had been considered a strong potential Democratic candidate for the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial election, but ultimately opted against entering the race in March of 2013. He decided that challenging incumbent Gov. John Kasich (R) was not worth forfeiting his seat in the U.S. House, particularly in light of his reappointment to the influential Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress.[154] [155][156]

Ballot access lawsuits

In late 2013, Ohio passed two laws that allegedly restrict minor parties' participation in the 2014 elections. The Libertarian Party of Ohio filed lawsuits against both laws, the outcomes of which could alter the candidate landscape of this race.[157]

Tea Party primary challenge

Ted Stevenot, an Ohio Tea Party leader, had planned to announce a primary challenge to incumbent Governor Kasich.[158] In early January 2014, however, Stevenot and his running mate, Brenda Mack, decided not to challenge Kasich.[159] In his prepared statement, Stevenot said that his running mate's financial history, which had been the subject of recent critical news coverage, was not part of his consideration to withdraw.[160]


See also: Oklahoma gubernatorial election, 2014

The Oklahoma gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Mary Fallin (R) is eligible for re-election.


See also: Oregon gubernatorial election, 2014

Incumbent John Kitzhaber is running for his fourth term as Governor of Oregon. He stressed a renewed focus on tax changes and job creation aimed at reducing inequality in his fourth term.[161]

His two Republican opponents, Oregon state representative Dennis Richardson and rancher Jon Justesen will face off in the May 20 primary. Though they have raised less money than Kitzhaber, whoever wins the primary may be boosted by the poor initial performance of Oregon's state-run health exchange.[162]


See also: Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2014

There were 36 states holding regularly scheduled gubernatorial elections in 2014, with up to 10 seats considered most likely to face partisan switch including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. He was moved into to the top slot on the Washington Post's "endangered" list in March 2013, after having been in third place during the prior rating cycle.[163][164][165] Corbett's upgraded vulnerability status followed his failure to enact any of his three tent-pole policy initiatives during the recently concluded spring legislative session. The timing also corresponded to a further swell of Democratic candidates entering the 2014 governor's race.

By the summer of 2013, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Governing all rated Republican incumbent Tom Corbett as one of the most vulnerable governors facing re-election in 2014.[166] Their reports reflected the Republican governor's increasingly weak position heading into the 2014 election season, when his abysmal job approval ratings were put to the test by state Democrats, fired-up for an ousting after years under a Republican trifecta.[167]

Early polling and candidates

A July 2013 survey taken by Harper Polling showed that just under a quarter of state residents thought Corbett deserved to be elected again in 2014.[168] Those results backed up earlier polling figures released by Quinnipiac University, which had him at 38 percent job approval and substantially behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz in a hypothetical general election match-up.[169] The Quinnipiac poll showed Schwartz beating Corbett by a whopping 10 points. These were even better numbers than had been revealed in a similar survey conducted previously by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican-aligned firm.[170]

Back in April 2013, Schwartz was already looking especially threatening due to Corbett's dismal popularity among female respondents, 54 percent of whom expressed opposition to Corbett’s re-election compared to 27 percent who supported another term for the governor.[171]

Several Democratic hopefuls - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger, Hanger's predecessor Kate McGinty, Cumberland County minister Max Myers, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, York businessman Tom Wolf and State Treasurer Rob McCord - formally launched 2014 campaigns for governor. Three other potential Democratic candidates were mentioned in connection with the race: State rep. H. Scott Conklin, former state auditor and state senator Jack Wagner and county commission chairman Josh Shapiro.[172][153]Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Republican primary

Two Republicans were also mentioned as potential primary opponents for Governor Corbett: former radio announcer Tom Lineaweaver and conservative activist Bob Guzzardi.[173][174] Guzzardi filed for the Republican primary and initially survived a challenge to his campaign's signatures after the Republican Party of Pennsylvania tried to get him disqualified.[175] However, on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Guzzardi was ordered stricken from the ballot on a technicality. The majority on the court found that Guzzardi had failed to "meet a deadline for filing a statement of financial interests" with the State Ethics Commission and his campaign filing therefore "possessed a 'fatal defect.'"[176] Two justices dissented, citing the lower court's finding that Guzzardi had filed the proper forms with the Pennsylvania Department of State and had been told by an employee there that he did not need to also file with the State Ethics Board.[176][177]

I agree with the Commonwealth Court that what occurred here was a breakdown in the administrative process. To strike this candidate's name from the ballot is akin to denying candidates their right to appear on the ballot under circumstances where there was some accident or natural disaster preventing candidates from entering the filing office.[178]

—Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, In Re: Nom. Pet. of Robert Guzzardi Dissenting Statement

Democratic primary
See also: Primary election results

Businessman Tom Wolf took the Democratic primary by storm, spending on early campaign ads and taking an early lead that proved unsurpassed by the other candidates. This was an upset for early favorite Allyson Schwartz, who finished a distant second.

Third-party candidates

Green Party candidate Paul Glover and Libertarian Party candidate Ken Krawchuk failed to get on to the November general election ballot after failing to collect the 17,000 required signatures.[179] Referencing the perceived lack of options on the ballot following the qualifying period, Republican-turned-Independent Tom Lineaweaver declared a write-in campaign.[180] Lineaweaver had previously been considered a possible Republican primary challenger to Corbett.

Rhode Island

See also: Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2014

The Rhode Island gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Lincoln Chafee (D) was eligible but chose not to run for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.

In October 2013, The Washington Post named the Democratic primary in the governor's race as one of the top 10 primaries of 2014.[181]

On May 30, 2013, the Republican-turned-Independent governor formalized his long-rumored intention to once again change his party affiliation, this time switching to Democrat.[182][183] Until officially joining the Democratic Party on May 30, 2013, Chafee was the country's only sitting Independent governor.[184] He endorsed former U.S. Senate colleague President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but the main reason Chafee cited for changing to a major party affiliation was the need to finance a competitive re-election campaign. "There is no independent governors association throwing money around ... but there is a Democratic Governors Association," he told The Associated Press in December 2012. Reaffirming his concerns, a report released by Governing in December 2012 named Chafee as one of five governors considered vulnerable to losing re-election in 2013-2014.[185]

Chafee was expected to seek re-election, but announced on September 4, 2013 that he would not seek a second term so that he could focus on governing instead. "I want to devote all my time, all my energy, to the task at hand," he stated.[186][6]

South Carolina

See also: South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2014

Incumbent Nikki Haley is running for re-election in 2014.[187] Republican state treasurer Curtis Loftis, Jr. considered challenging Haley for the party's nomination, but announced on January 25, 2013 that he would seek re-election to his current post as treasurer instead.[53] Without Loftis, the list of potential Republican primary candidates is still long, and includes two fellow officials from the executive branch: Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

South Dakota

See also: South Dakota gubernatorial election, 2014

The South Dakota gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Dennis Daugaard (R) is eligible for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2014

The Tennessee gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Bill Haslam (R) is running for re-election. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2014

The Texas gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Rick Perry (R) is eligible for re-election, as Texas has no gubernatorial term limits, but announced on July 8, 2013 that he would not seek re-election.[188] The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Vermont gubernatorial election, 2014

The Vermont gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Peter Shumlin (D) is eligible for re-election, as Vermont has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 2-year term in office.


See also: Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2014

The Wisconsin gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Scott Walker (R) is eligible for re-election, as Wisconsin has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.


See also: Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2014

On January 29, 2013, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill announced that she was considering a bid for Governor of Wyoming in 2014. Hill, a Republican, was prompted to enter the race after incumbent Matt Mead signed a bill that relegates the elected office of state superintendent of education to a ceremonial position, reassigning leadership over the Department of Education to an education director post, selected by gubernatorial appointment. Hill subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the constitutionality of the law.[189] She said her decision to run for governor was driven by the swell of public support she has received in response to the lawsuit.[190]

See Also

Additional Reading


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