Although he has somewhat slowed down the use of his favorite verbal tics from 10 per debate to four, Texas Governor Rick Perry is still far and away the clubhouse leader in the GOP presidential debates when it comes to using clichés. Through the nine debates since Perry first took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, he has uttered hackneyed phrases that attempt to bolster his points (e.g. "the bottom line," "at the end of the day," "the fact of the matter," "as a matter of fact," "the fact is") 54 times through the recent Iowa debate in Des Moines. Perry had used these phrases 31 times through just the first three debates, and 'just' 23 times over the last six. The only other candidate who reaches double digits during this span is none other than Newt Gingrich at 12, whose favorite such phrase is "The fact is." Following Gingrich is Jon Huntsman with six, Rick Santorum with five, Ron Paul with four, Mitt Romney with three, and Michele Bachmann with two. Herman Cain, often applauded for his straight talk, did not use any of these trite phrases during the eight debates under analysis in which he participated.
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).
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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