Sev­eral races for gover­nor sig­nal they could be close

Democrats are look­ing to make dent in Repub­li­cans’ state-level dom­i­nance

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Nigel Duara

RALEIGH, N.C. — Twelve states will elect gover­nors Tues­day and Democrats hope they can keep as many as eight gov­er­nor­ships and take two more from Repub­li­cans.

The Obama years, es­pe­cially since the emer­gence of the tea party wing of the Repub­li­can Party in 2010, have been bru­tal for the Democrats. Dur­ing that time they lost 59 of 94 elec­tions for gov­er­nor­ships.

If Repub­li­cans win in toss-up races, they would tie their own record for the most post­war gov­er­nor­ships held by one party. They now hold 31. Democrats hold 18. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is an in­de­pen­dent.

Six sit­ting gover­nors have re­cently left of­fice due to term lim­its, re­tire­ment, un­pop­u­lar­ity, or runs for fed­eral of­fice.

Some of the close races for gover­nor in­clude:

North Carolina: After trail­ing by more than nine points in late Au­gust polling, Repub­li­can Gov. Pat McCrory has pulled into a vir­tual tie with his Demo­cratic op­po­nent, state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Roy Cooper, ac­cord­ing to a Mon­mouth Univer­sity Poll con­ducted Oct. 20-23.

But McCrory re­mains so un­pop­u­lar in ur­ban and sub­ur­ban parts of the state that Democrats in down­bal­lot races have tied their op­po­nents to the in­cum­bent in neg­a­tive ads.

In­di­ana: When Gov. Mike Pence dropped out to be­come Don­ald Trump’s GOP pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate in July, Repub­li­can Lt. Gov. Eric Hol­comb had to hur­riedly step in, giv­ing his op­po­nent, Demo­crat John Gregg, an early ad­van­tage. Gregg’s lead is tight­en­ing in con­ser­va­tive In­di­ana, where Hol­comb trailed by six points in a poll re­leased Oct. 31.

Mis­souri: Chris Koster, the Demo­cratic can­di­date for gover­nor, has sought to make it clear to prospec­tive vot­ers that he sup­ports a bill that elim­i­nates train­ing re- Roy Cooper, left, is chal­leng­ing GOP Gov. Pat McCrory in North Carolina. McCrory had been trail­ing un­til re­cently. quire­ments to carry a con­cealed weapon, demon­strat­ing the lengths can­di­dates must go in to as­sure the state’s vot­ers of their com­mit­ment to tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples. Demo­cratic Gov. Jay Nixon ve­toed the bill.

Koster also checked an­other con­ser­va­tive box with his sup­port of a bill re­quir­ing a gov­ern­ment ID to vote. But Koster’s dou­ble-digit lead over the sum­mer has thinned con­sid­er­ably. Now, Koster is tied with re­tired Navy SEAL Eric Gre­it­ens, a Repub­li­can, in a Mon­mouth poll re­leased in late Oc­to­ber.

New Hamp­shire: The race for gover­nor has stayed close, with the Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic can­di­dates trad­ing a slight lead back and forth late in the elec­tion sea­son.

Gov. Mag­gie Hassan, a Demo­crat, is chal­leng­ing a vul­ner­a­ble Repub­li­can op­po­nent in the U.S. Se­nate elec­tion. Repub­li­can Chris Su­nunu held a six-point lead over Demo­crat Colin Van Ostern this sum­mer.

By the fall, how­ever, Su­nunu’s lead had weak­ened slightly, and a Mon­mouth Univer­sity tele­phone sur­vey found Van Ostern lead­ing. By early No­vem­ber, how­ever, Su­nunu had re­cap­tured a slim lead in both a Bos­ton Globe poll and one by WBUR.

West Vir­ginia: The Dem- Demo­crat John Gregg, left, has seen his early lead shrink over Lt. Gov. Eric Hol­comb, who en­tered the race late. ocrat has a lead in spite of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s arms-length treat­ment of coal which has made state vot­ers sus­pi­cious of the na­tional party.

Jim Jus­tice, a for­mer coal ex­ec­u­tive, held an 11-point lead over Repub­li­can Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bill Cole in an Oct. 12-17 poll by MetroNews West Vir­ginia. Cole’s cam­paign re­sponded that its in­ter­nal polling showed the can­di­dates neck and neck.

Jus­tice has worked past Hil­lary Clin­ton and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama by com­pletely ig­nor­ing them in his cam­paign, in­stead fo­cus­ing on the busi­ness suc­cess that has made him West Vir­gin- ia’s only bil­lion­aire.

Mon­tana: Demo­cratic Gov. Steve Bul­lock main­tains a lead over Repub­li­can Greg Gian­forte, a Boze­man busi­ness­man. A Mon­tana State Univer­sity Billings poll found sup­port for Bul­lock at 44 per­cent to Gian­forte’s 32 per­cent, but a Ma­son-Dixon Polling and Re­search poll com­mis­sioned by Lee News­pa­pers found Bul­lock with just a two-point lead.

Like Mis­souri, the can­di­dates in Mon­tana that do well are able to con­vinc­ingly show their ad­her­ence to con­ser­vatism, re­gard­less of party.



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