While all eyes were on Wisconsin this week, Mitt Romney turned in more sluggish performances in presidential primaries held on Tuesday. Despite effectively sealing the nomination nearly two months ago, Romney failed to crack the 70 percent mark in two more states: South Dakota (66.0 percent) and Montana (68.4 percent). Through 49 contests, the former Massachusetts governor has eclipsed the 70 percent barrier just six times - in his home state, Nebraska, Oregon, California, New Jersey, and New Mexico. Romney will clean up in the nation's last primary state of Utah, which means he will tie Bob Dole for the lowest number of primary states carried with 70+ percent of the vote at seven. Romney has eclipsed the 80 percent mark in only one state, New Jersey (81.3 percent) with Utah yet to come. Contested Republican nominees since 1980 have averaged seven states with 80+ percent of the vote per cycle.
A total of eight candidates will be on the ballot in New Jersey's gubernatorial election Tuesday. That is the lowest number since 1989, when voters got to choose from six candidates in the ballot access-friendly Garden State. There were 19 gubernatorial hopefuls in 1993, 10 in 1997, nine in 2001, 10 in 2005, and a dozen in 2009. Since 1901, an average of eight candidates have appeared on New Jersey's gubernatorial ballot. As a result, candidates have won with a plurality of the vote eight times during this 110+-year period: in 1907, 1913, 1919, 1934, 1981, 1993, 1997, and 2009. In addition to major party nominees Chris Christie and Barbara Buono, the other six candidates running for governor in 2013 are Kenneth Kaplan (Libertarian), Steven Welzer (Green), William Araujo (Peace and Freedom), Jeff Boss (NSA Did 911), Diane Sare (Glass-Steagall Now), and Hank Schroeder (independent).
What do Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have in common? All five women ran failed gubernatorial general election campaigns prior to winning U.S. Senate seats. Feinstein lost her gubernatorial bid in 1990 with Collins losing in 1994, Heitkamp in 2000, Hirono in 2002, and McCaskill in 2004. Heitkamp had the longest gap - getting elected to the nation's upper legislative chamber a dozen years later in 2012 with Feinstein (1992), Collins (1996), and McCaskill (2006) each waiting just two years before claiming a Senate seat and Hirono (2002) waiting ten.
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