While Barack Obama may be pulling for a Rick Santorum long-shot bid on the Republican side of the presidential ticket, it is unlikely any underdogs will make it on the president's Final Four bracket in the men's college basketball tournament. Obama has played it safe through his first three brackets as president - picking nine #1 one seeds and three #2 seeds thus far, with a #1 seed as the tourney champion each year. In 2009, Obama picked North Carolina (1) over Louisville (1) in the title game, with Pitt (1) and Memphis (2) rounding out the Final Four. In 2010, the president chose Kansas (1) to win it all over Kentucky (1) - with Kansas State (2) and Villanova (2) falling just short. In 2011, Obama once again picked Kansas (1) - this time over Ohio State (1), with Duke (1) and Pitt (1) losing in the semi-finals.
The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.
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).
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