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Projections: 2012 Gubernatorial Races

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Western states to provide high drama late Tuesday down the ballot

montanaseal10.pngAlthough the presidential race and key U.S. Senate contests will steal the headlines Tuesday evening, there are nonetheless probably going to be a few tight gubernatorial races that may not be called until Wednesday (or beyond).

Out West, toss-up open seat races in Montana and Washington could go down to the wire.

In Washington, Democratic congressman Jay Inslee seeks to extend the longest Republican gubernatorial drought in the nation over GOP nominee Rob McKenna.

The State of Washington last elected a Republican governor in 1980 (John Spellman) and only the current Democratic losing streak in South Dakota, where a Democrat last won in 1974, is longer across the 50 states (Democrats also last won the governor's mansion in Utah in 1980).

In Montana, as popular term-limited Democrat Brian Schweitzer exits the office, Democratic State Attorney General Steve Bullock and former GOP U.S. Representative Rick Hill square off in another close race west of the Mississippi.

The strength of the vote for Libertarian nominee Ron Vandevender in the Treasure State may be determinative, as it was in Montana's closely-decided 2006 U.S. Senate race that went to the Democrats. Hill, however, has led Bullock in most autumn polling.

A third open seat race in New Hampshire, between Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne, should also be competitive with only a few of the remaining eight gubernatorial races likely to be decided by single digits (e.g. Indiana, Missouri, possibly North Carolina).

Smart Politics 2012 Gubernatorial Projections

State
Projection
Status
Delaware
Jack Markell (inc.)
Democratic hold
Indiana
Mike Pence
Republican hold
Missouri
Jay Nixon (inc.)
Democratic hold
Montana
Steve Bullock
Democratic hold
New Hampshire
Maggie Hassan
Democratic hold
North Carolina
Pat McCrory
Republican pick-up
North Dakota
Jack Dalrymple (inc.)
Republican hold
Utah
Gary Herbert (inc.)
Republican hold
Vermont
Peter Shumlin (inc.)
Democratic hold
Washington
Jay Inslee
Democratic hold
West Virginia
Earl Ray Tomblin (inc.)
Democratic hold

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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