Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


South Dakota Democrats Field 4th All-Female Gubernatorial Ticket in US History

Bookmark and Share

Only three previous major party gubernatorial tickets in history had female nominees for both governor and lieutenant governor; none have reached 40 percent

susanwismer10.jpgSouth Dakota's gubernatorial race has not exactly been on the national radar thus far in the 2014 cycle - due in part to the state's strong Republican lean as well as the 20+ points separating incumbent Dennis Daugaard and Democratic nominee Susan Wismer according to the scant public polling that has been conducted of the race.

Earlier this month, Wismer became the first woman to receive a major party gubernatorial nomination in Mount Rushmore State history.

Wismer, a State Representative from Britton, defeated Joe Lowe by 14 points in the Democratic primary in early June.

Then on Wednesday, Wismer made more headlines when she selected a female running mate.

Wismer chose former two-term Sioux Falls State Representative Susy Blake as her pick for lieutenant governor.

The all-female ticket was therefore not only a first in South Dakota politics, but also a historical rarity nationwide.

Smart Politics reviewed the election data and found that the Wismer-Blake ticket in South Dakota is just the fourth featuring two women for a major party in U.S. history out of more than 40 elections in which a female gubernatorial nominee had a running mate.

With New Jersey recently creating a lieutenant governor's post, the number of states without such a statewide office has dropped to seven with nearly 20 others electing lieutenant governors on a separate ballot line.

That leaves two-dozen states in which the governor and lieutenant governor are running mates - with the lieutenant governor either hand-picked by the gubernatorial nominee (as in South Dakota) or nominated by the party through a primary.

Overall, more than 100 women have secured a major party gubernatorial nomination dating back to the election of Nellie Tayloe Ross in Wyoming 90 years ago, with slightly more than 40 of these in states where the nominee runs jointly with the lieutenant governor.

It took until 1994, however, for the first all-female gubernatorial ticket by a major political party.

In Illinois, Democrats nominated Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch for governor and State Senator Penny Severns for Lieutenant Governor (each won their own primary).

The Democratic ticket was handily defeated by incumbent Jim Edgar and Bob Kustra during that cycle's Republican landslide - losing by 29.4 points with 34.4 percent of the vote.

Note: Also in 1994, a notable third-party in Connecticut nominated two women at the top of the ticket. Eunice Groark (Lieutenant Governor under Lowell Weicker) was the gubernatorial nominee for A Connecticut Party with Social Services Commissioner Audrey Rowe as her running mate. The duo placed third winning 18.9 percent of the vote.

The second time major party running mate slots for governor and lieutenant governor were both occupied by women came in 1999 in Kentucky.

In that cycle, Peppy Martin and Wanda Cornelius headed the Republican ticket to square off against Democratic incumbents Paul Patton and Steve Henry.

Martin and Cornelius lost badly - recording only 22.2 percent of the vote and losing by 38.5 points.

The last time a female gubernatorial nominee had a female running mate was last year in New Jersey.

State Senator Barbara Buono selected union executive Milly Silva for the lieutenant governor slot, but the ticket lost by 22.1 points to Chris Christie with 38.2 percent of the vote - the current high water mark for an all-female ticket.

And then there is this final historical footnote.

In 1996, Montana Democrats nominated Chet Blaylock to run against incumbent Governor Marc Racicot and Judy Martz.

Judy Jacobson was Blaylock's running mate but when Blaylock died two weeks before Election Day, Jacobson became the nominee. However, her name also remained on the ballot for lieutenant governor.

Jacobson/Jacobson lost to Racicot/Martz by 58.3 points with just 20.8 percent of the vote.

Overall, all-female gubernatorial tickets are currently 0-3, while tickets with a female gubernatorial nominee and a male for lieutenant governor have won 14 contests out of 39 races over the last half-century, or 36 percent of the time.

Will the all-female ticket give a boost to Democrats in South Dakota?

Overall, Republicans have won 437 of the 525 elections for partisan statewide office in South Dakota since statehood, or 83.2 percent, including 81.1 percent of gubernatorial contests.

South Dakota Democrats also face the longest current gubernatorial drought in the nation - last winning the office 40 years ago in 1974 with Richard Kneip, and losing each of the nine elections ever since.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Cochran Advances: Six-Term US Senators Improve to 16-2 in Renomination Bids
Next post: Could Dayton Be the Lone Democratic Victor in 2014 Midwestern Gubernatorial Races?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


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