Election 2014: A Second Spotlight on the Gubernatorial Races

By Nick Blazer, Manager, Social Media Services and the 2014 Elections Project

canstockphoto1698022June features three more waves of primary elections in states across the country that will settle some key questions in this year’s races. Will Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) or Neel Kashkari (R) emerge from California’s top-two primary system to compete against Governor Jerry Brown (D), who is highly likely to be one of the winners, in the general election? Who will be the Nevada Democratic Party’s nominee to face Governor Brian Sandoval (R)? Finally, who will be the official candidates seeking the open seat in Maryland? Over the next four weeks, these questions will be answered.

In total, there are fifteen primary elections and a primary runoff election scheduled in June. Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota are holding primary elections today on June 3; Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina will hold primary elections on June 10; and Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah will hold primary elections on June 24. However, Montana, North Dakota and Utah will not be electing a governor in 2014. In addition, Arkansas will hold its primary runoff election on June 10 and South Carolina may hold a primary runoff election on June 24 if necessary.

After June 24, more than half of the gubernatorial primary elections will be settled.

In honor of the early June gubernatorial primaries, here are updates on four races. Also, be sure to check out more information on the latest polls and news headlines, plus interactive elections charts and information on ballot measures, on our companion elections websites 2014governorsraces.com and 2014attorneysgeneral.com.

California

Governor Jerry Brown (D) is seeking re-election in 2014. His two main competitors are Neel Kashkari (R) and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) in California’s top-two primary system, where all candidates are placed on the same primary ballot regardless of party affiliation. The two candidates with the highest amount of votes in the primary election advance to the ballot in the general election. Governor Brown is very likely to be one of the two candidates: two recent polls place Governor Brown as the definite front-runner in the race.

The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed California residents in May and included questions about the 2014 gubernatorial election. The poll found 48% of respondents likely to vote in the primary election intended to vote for Governor Brown, while 15% picked Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, 10% backed Neel Kashkari, 27% were undecided and 1% opted for a different candidate in the race. SurveyUSA also conducted a mid-May poll and discovered 57% of respondents would vote for Governor Brown, while 15% intended to cast a vote for Assemblyman Donnelly, 11% for Neel Kashkari, 4% for a different candidate and 10% of respondents were undecided.

In addition, Governor Jerry Brown possessed more than $20 million in cash on hand as of the most recent campaign finance reports, while Neel Kashkari reported holding $1.4 million in cash on hand and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly reported possessing $70,000 in cash on hand.

The California primary election is today, June 3.

Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. He is challenged by Tom Hoefling (R) for the Republican Party nomination in the primary election. State Senator Jack Hatch (D) is unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination.

Governor Branstad is in a good position as indicated by the most recent poll. Public Policy Polling surveyedIowa voters in May and asked respondents to vote in two general election scenarios pitting State Senator Jack Hatch against Tom Hoefling and Governor Branstad. In a race between Governor Branstad and State Senator Hatch, 48% backed Governor Branstad, 40% supported State Senator Hatch and 12% were undecided. In a match between Tom Hoefling and State Senator Hatch, 37% opted for Jack Hatch, 30% chose Tom Hoefling and 33% were uncertain.

Governor Branstad is financially well-positioned against his competitors. The campaign finance reports for the period between January 1 and mid-May were due earlier this month. Governor Branstad raised more than $1.1million during that period and possessed more than $4.5 million in cash on hand. State Senator Hatch raised more than $262,000 and possessed more than $310,000 in cash on hand.

Lastly, Tom Hoefling and Governor Branstad squared off in a debate in early May.

The Iowa primary election is today, June 3.

Maine

Governor Paul LePage (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. He is challenged by Congressman Mike Michaud (D) and his 2010 rival Eliot Cutler (I).

The race is highly competitive and still a possible tossup, as indicated by a poll conducted by Critical Insights in April and released in early May. Critical Insights reported 37% of respondents sided with Congressman Mike Michaud, 36% backed Governor Paul LePage, 18% would vote for Eliot Cutler and 8% were undecided.

Campaign finance reports released at the beginning of June, for the reporting period of April 23 until May 27, revealed Governor Paul LePage raised the most funds of the three candidates in the reporting period. Eliot Cutler raised more than $33,000 and possessed more than $39,000 in cash on hand. Congressman Michaud raised more than $120,000 and possessed more than $570,000 in cash on hand. Finally, Governor LePage raised more than $150,000 and possessed more than $540,000 in cash on hand.

The Maine primary election is June 10.

New Mexico

Governor Susana Martinez (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. She will face one of five possible Democratic candidates in the general election. Attorney General Gary King (D), Linda Lopez (D), State Senator Howie Morales (R), Lawrence Rael (D) and Alan Webber (D) are competing for the party nomination.

A recent poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal found Attorney General Gary King held the most support in the Democratic field among respondents, but more than a quarter still needed to decide. The poll discovered 22% of respondents backed Attorney General King, 16% supported Lawrence Rael, 16% chose Alan Webber, 12% picked State Senator Howie Morales, 5% backed Linda Lopez and 29% were undecided.

Governor Martinez is financially well-positioned relative to her field of challengers. She raised the most funds in April – $561,000 – and possessed the most cash on hand (more than $4 million). On the Democratic side for the month of April, Alan Webber raised more than $115,000 and possessed more than $455,000 in cash on hand; Lawrence Rael raised $58,000 and possessed more than $209,000 in cash on hand; Attorney General Gary King raised $12,300 and possessed more than $48,000 in cash on hand; State Senator Howie Morales raised $22,000 and possessed more than $44,000 in cash on hand; and Linda Lopez raised more than $10,000 and possessed more than $13,000 in cash on hand.

The New Mexico primary election is today, June 3.

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Nick Blazer is Manager of Social Media Services and the 2014 Elections Project.

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