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.
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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