Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Labrador Shies Away from Otter Gubernatorial Primary Challenge

Bookmark and Share

Only four of 30 incumbent governors from the Gem State have lost their nomination bids in state history, with just two in the last 100+ years

raullabrador10.jpgIn what may be the political tease of the week, two-term Republican Idaho U.S. Representative Raúl Labrador announced Wednesday afternoon that he would not challenge incumbent GOP Governor Butch Otter in the November 2014 election after more than a half-year of speculation and buzz that he may do so.

Otter, who is seeking to join Ben Ross (1930, 1932, 1934), Robert Smylie (1954, 1958, 1962), and Cecil Andrus (1970, 1974, 1986, 1990) as the only Idaho governors elected at least three times into office, is considered to have a safe seat, and it's not clear how much of a threat he would have faced if Labrador had run against him.

Smart Politics surveyed the state's election data and found that incumbent governors from both parties in Idaho have won renomination bids in 26 out of 30 attempts, or 87 percent of the time, dating back to statehood.

Only two governors from the Gem State seeking reelection since 1904 have failed to get back on the general election ballot: Democrat Barzilla Clark in 1938 and, more famously, Republican Robert Smylie in 1966.

Clark was in his first two-year term as governor when he lost his party's nomination to Ben Ross.

Ross had served three terms from 1931 to 1937 and decided to launch a U.S. Senate bid instead during the Election of 1936.

Ross lost that race as well as the 1938 gubernatorial election to Republican C.A. Bottolfsen.

Meanwhile, Smylie, one of just 25 governors to lose a renomination bid since the mid-1940s, was seeking a fourth four-year term when he was trounced by 22 points in the 1966 GOP primary by the more conservative State Senator Don Samuelson.

The two other Idaho governors who lost their party's nomination were Republicans Norman Willey in 1892 and John Morrison in 1904.

Willey had not been elected governor but ascended into the position from lieutenant governor after the state's first Governor George Shoup was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1890.

The GOP chose former U.S. Senator William McConnell as their nominee over Willey in the subsequent cycle.

John Morrison had served only one two-year term when Republicans opted for Frank Gooding as their nominee in 1904.

Both McConnell and Gooding would serve two terms after knocking their fellow GOPers off the ballot.

Overall, just 19 of the 30 gubernatorial incumbents in state history who ran for reelection were victorious, or 63 percent.

Another 13 incumbents opted not to run for another term and two governors were term-limited (Republicans C.A. Robins and Len Jordan in 1950 and 1954 respectively, during a brief period in state history in which "self-succession" was not allowed).

Republican gubernatorial incumbents have had a particularly spotty record in winning reelection, with 10 victories against seven defeats (58.8 percent) and eight not seeking reelection.

Democratic governors have fared slightly better, winning nine of 13 reelection attempts (69 percent) with five not running for reelection.

Although Labrador may not challenge Otter, history suggests Idaho's governor will face at least one opponent in the GOP primary.

Over the last 15 cycles dating back to 1954 just three Republican gubernatorial candidates have run unopposed for their party's nomination: Robert Smylie in 1958, Jack Murphy in 1974, and David LeRoy in 1986.

As for Labrador, the Tea Partier left the door open a crack for a future gubernatorial run, issuing a qualified statement that he has "no plans at this time" to do so.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: On the Hot Seat: US Senate Plurality-Vote Winners
Next post: Can Republicans Flip Maine's 2nd CD Seat?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting