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Smart Politics Projections: Gubernatorial Races

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Republicans eye 90 year-old mark of 25+ victories

Current partisan split
Democrats: 26
Republicans: 24

On the ballot
Total Democratic seats: 20
Total Republican seats: 17

Incumbents
Democratic incumbents: 7
Open Democratic seats: 13
Republican incumbents: 5
Open Republican seats: 12

Analysis
Nail-biters abound in several of the nation's 37 gubernatorial contests, with third-party watchers glued to the elections in Rhode Island and Colorado.

But 2010 is all about the GOP, with its gubernatorial candidates having a strong chance of winning 25 or 26 races - the most wins by the Party in 90 years since Republicans won 29 governorships in 1920.

When all is said and done, Republicans may have control of twice the number of governor's offices across the country as Democrats.

Projections
Alabama. Robert Bentley (GOP hold)
Alaska. Sean Parnell (GOP hold)
Arizona. Jan Brewer (GOP hold)
Arkansas. Mike Beebe (Democratic hold)
California. Jerry Brown (Democratic pick-up)
Colorado. John Hickenlooper (Democratic hold)
Connecticut. Tom Foley (GOP hold)
Florida. Rick Scott (GOP hold)
Georgia. Nathan Deal (GOP hold)
Hawaii. Neil Abercrombie (Democratic pick-up)
Idaho. Butch Otter (GOP hold)
Illinois. Bill Brady (GOP pick-up)
Iowa. Terry Branstad (GOP pick-up)
Kansas. Sam Brownback (GOP pick-up)
Maine. Paul LePage (GOP pick-up)
Maryland. Martin O'Malley (Democratic hold)
Massachusetts. Deval Patrick (Democratic hold)
Michigan. Rick Snyder (GOP pick-up)
Minnesota. Tom Emmer (GOP hold)
Nebraska. Dave Heineman (GOP hold)
Nevada. Brian Sandoval (GOP hold)
New Hampshire. John Lynch (Democratic hold)
New Mexico. Susana Martinez (GOP pick-up)
New York. Andrew Cuomo (Democratic hold)
Ohio. John Kasich (GOP pick-up)
Oklahoma. Mary Fallin (GOP pick-up)
Oregon. John Kitzhaber (Democratic hold)
Pennsylvania. Tom Corbett (GOP pick-up)
Rhode Island. Lincoln Chafee (Independent pick-up)
South Carolina. Nikki Haley (GOP hold)
South Dakota. Dennis Daugaard (GOP hold)
Tennessee. Bill Haslam (GOP pick-up)
Texas. Rick Perry (GOP hold)
Utah. Gary Herbert (GOP hold)
Vermont. Peter Shumlin (Democratic pick-up)
Wisconsin. Scott Walker (GOP pick-up)
Wyoming. Matt Mead (GOP pick-up)

Wins: GOP = 26, Democrats = 10, Independents = 1
Pick-ups: GOP +12, Democrats +3, Independents +1

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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