Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


When Will Minnesota (or Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota...) Elect a Woman as Governor?

Bookmark and Share

After holding more than 300 gubernatorial elections across the Upper Midwest during the past 160+ years, the region has yet to elect its first female governor.

With gubernatorial elections taking place in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin next year, will 2010 be the year in which a woman finally breaks through and wins the governor's office in one of these states?

The best (and perhaps only) opportunities for the election of a female governor in the Upper Midwest in 2010 will be in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Three female major party candidates are currently running for Tim Pawlenty's open seat in the Gopher State: DFL Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, and former Republican State Auditor Pat Anderson.

Anderson will also likely be the only female GOPer vying for the governor's office across the Upper Midwestern region this year.

In Wisconsin, Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton is a strong contender to lead the Democratic Party ticket, though rumors have also percolated throughout the year that Democratic Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk could jump into the race (Falk ran for governor in 2002, losing in the primary to current Governor Jim Doyle).

No major party female candidates have been announced for the open seat race to replace Republican Mike Rounds in South Dakota and no Republican woman has announced a bid to challenge 1-term Democratic incumbent Chet Culver in Iowa.

South Dakota has never had a Democratic or Republican female candidate on the gubernatorial ballot in 52 elections dating back to statehood in 1889. The Mount Rushmore State's best chance to elect a woman as governor to date may have been at-large blue dog Democratic U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth during this election cycle. However, Rep. Herseth announced her decision to run for a 5th term in D.C. in July of this year instead.

Wisconsin (with 71 gubernatorial races since statehood) and Minnesota (with 64) have also never had a woman win a major party's gubernatorial slot on the general election ballot to date.

Iowa, however, has seen two women representing major parties contend for the governor's office across the 70 such contests that have been held in the Hawkeye State since its first election in 1846.

Democrat Roxanna Conlin won 46.5 percent of the vote in 1982, losing to Terry Branstad by 6.3 points. Twelve years later, in 1994, Democrat Bonnie Campbell won 41.6 percent of the vote while Branstad cruised to his 4th term with a 15.2 point victory.

Overall, 25 women have been elected governor across twenty states in U.S. history, while another six have served as governor or acting governor without being elected to the office. Two current female governors (Linda Lingle of Hawaii and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan) are term-limited in 2010.

Women Governors (or Acting Governors) By State

State
Governors
Total
Elected
Alabama
Lureen Wallace
1
1
Alaska
Sarah Palin
1
1
Arizona
Rose Perica Mofford*, Jane Dee Hull, Janet Napolitano, Jan Brewer*
4
2
Arkansas
---
0
0
California
---
0
0
Colorado
---
0
0
Connecticut
Ella Grasso, Jodi Rell
2
2
Delaware
Ruth Ann Minner
1
1
Florida
---
0
0
Georgia
---
0
0
Hawaii
Linda Lingle
1
1
Idaho
---
0
0
Illinois
---
0
0
Indiana
---
0
0
Iowa
---
0
0
Kansas
Joan Finney, Kathleen Sebelius
2
2
Kentucky
Martha Layne Collins
1
1
Louisiana
Kathleen Blanco
1
1
Maine
---
0
0
Maryland
---
0
0
Massachusetts
Jane Swift*
1
0
Michigan
Jennifer Granholm
1
1
Minnesota
---
0
0
Mississippi
---
0
0
Missouri
---
0
0
Montana
Judy Martz
1
1
Nebraska
Kay Orr
1
1
Nevada
---
0
0
New Hampshire
Vesta Roy*, Jeanne Shaheen
2
1
New Jersey
Christine Todd Whitman
1
1
New Mexico
---
0
0
New York
---
0
0
North Carolina
Beverly Perdue
1
1
North Dakota
---
0
0
Ohio
Nancy Hollister*
1
0
Oklahoma
---
0
0
Oregon
Barbara Roberts
1
1
Pennsylvania
---
0
0
Rhode Island
---
0
0
South Carolina
---
0
0
South Dakota
---
0
0
Tennessee
---
0
0
Texas
Miriam Ferguson, Ann Richards
2
2
Utah
Olene Smith Walker*
1
0
Vermont
Madeleine M. Kunin
1
1
Virginia
---
0
0
Washington
Dixy Lee Ray,Christine Gregoire
2
2
West Virginia
---
0
0
Wisconsin
---
0
0
Wyoming
Nellie Tayloe Ross
1
1
Total
 
31
25
* Was never elected to the office of Governor.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Joe Wilson Received Nearly Twice the Contributions Per Capita from McCain States Over Obama States in Q3 2009
Next post: Pathway to the Governor's Mansion in Minnesota, Part III: Ethnic Heritage

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting