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Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary Election Results By the Numbers

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Doug Ducey advances while flirting with the lowest support ever recorded for a GOP gubernatorial nominee in the most crowded Republican field since statehood

dougducey10.jpgThe hard-fought battle to replace outgoing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer saw a record six primary candidates vie for the Republican Party nomination Tuesday.

In the end, State Treasurer and favorite Doug Ducey won the primary with a plurality 36.3 percent of the vote and the second lowest tally ever recorded for a GOP gubernatorial primary winner in the state - 14 points ahead of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

Four candidates landed in double-digits with ex-Go Daddy executive Christine Jones in third at 16.2 percent and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett in fourth at 12.1 percent.

Former Assistant State Attorney General Andrew Thomas and former three-term California Congressman Frank Riggs rounded out the bottom of the field with 8.5 and 4.5 percent respectively.

The six candidates in the 2014 GOP race are the most ever for a Republican gubernatorial primary in the history of the Grand Canyon State.

The previous high water mark of five candidates vying for the GOP nomination to the state's highest office came in two previous cycles - in the 1974 contest won by Russell Williams and the 1990 race won by Fife Symington.

Four Republican candidates have appeared on the Republican primary ballot twice (2006, 2010) with three candidates running in seven cycles (1928, 1932, 1956, 1966, 1978, 1998, 2002).

To be sure, the pathway to the Republican nomination has not always been as difficult as it was this year.

GOP nominees ran unopposed in 18 of the 41 election cycles since statehood: 1914, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922, 1930, 1934, 1938, 1940, 1946, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1968, and 1970.

But now the number of Republican candidates is on the rise: more GOPers have run for governor during the last two (10), three (14), four (17), and five (20) cycles than during any such stretches in state history.

With such a large field of candidates splintering the GOP vote in 2014, it should come as little surprise that Ducey emerged with one of the lowest vote totals of any Republican gubernatorial nominee in state history, with his 36.3 percent just north of Russell Williams' 35.6 percent in 1974.

Forty years ago Williams defeated Evan Mecham (20.3 percent) in his second run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination followed by William Jacquin (18.2 percent), John Driggs (15.8 percent), and Milton Graham (10.3 percent).

Five other Arizona Republican gubernatorial primaries saw a candidate win his party's nomination with a plurality of the vote:

● 1928: John Phillips (44.1 percent) defeated John Udall (37.3 percent) with Celora Stoddard in third (18.6 percent)

● 1956: Horace Griffin (46.0 percent) beat O.D. Miller (40.1 percent) and Fred Trumpt (13.9 percent)

● 1966: Jack Williams (44.3 percent) was victorious over John Haugh (30.7 percent) and Robert Pickrell (25.1 percent)

● 1978: Evan Mecham (44.1 percent) won his first of two GOP gubernatorial nominations by beating Jack Londen (34.9 percent) and Charles King (21.1 percent)

● 1990: Fife Symington (43.8 percent) beat former Governor Mecham (24.5 percent), Fred Koory (16.5 percent), former five-term Congressman Sam Steiger (13.2 percent), and Bob Barnes (2.1 percent)

Just as in 2014, there was no Republican incumbent running for renomination in any of these previous contests with plurality winners.

The cycles either had a Democratic governor running for reelection (1928, 1966) or open seat races with Republican (1956, 1974) or Democratic (1978, 1990) governors not seeking another term.

The double-digit win by Ducey means that only five Republican gubernatorial primaries in state history have been decided by single-digits out of more than three-dozen such contests:

● 1926: E.S. Clark defeated Tom Maddock by 8.2 points
● 1928: John Phillips beat John Udall by 6.8 points
● 1956: Horace Griffin defeated O.D. Miller by 5.9 points
● 1978: Evan Mecham beat Jack Londen by 9.2 points
● 1986: Evan Mecham defeated Burton Barr by 7.4 points

Ducey will face Democratic nominee Fred DuVal, Libertarian Barry Hess, and Americans Elect nominee John Mealer in November's general election.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

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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