Non-partisan U.S. Political News Reporting

Author: bpstaff

Preview of 2014’s most competitive gubernatorial races

Sep 30 2014

Thirty-six states will hold elections for governor on November 4, 2014. Ballotpedia staff selected 10 races from the crowded gubernatorial field to preview based on competitiveness and intriguing story lines. In each state gubernatorial preview below, you will find a capsule describing major events in the race and a list of general election candidates.

Each race has also been assigned a rating based on Ballotpedia’s racetracking methodology, which takes into account polling information, current officeholders and the results of the 2012 presidential election.

Incumbents are seeking re-election in large numbers in 2014, with 29 out of 36 (80.1 percent) current governors seeking new terms. Four incumbents are ineligible to run due to term limits, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R), Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) decided not to seek re-election. Republicans hold 22 of the 36 gubernatorial offices on the ballot in 2014.

See also: Alaska Gubernatorial election, 2014

Race rating: Lean Republican

An otherwise sleepy race for governor in Alaska became intriguing following the August primary thanks to unorthodox ballot groupings and post-primary candidate shakeups. As thousands of ballots headed overseas in late September, voters pieced together the dynamics of the race as the ballot was still unsettled.

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Ken Selzer wins crowded GOP primary for insurance commissioner: Kansas state executive primary elections review

Aug 6 2014

TOPEKA, Kansas: On August 5, voters settled the Republican primaries for governor/lieutenant governor, secretary of state and insurance commissioner, the only three contested fields between the six Kansas state executive offices up for election in 2014. The remaining nine major party primaries drew one candidate apiece, producing a complete set of unopposed Democratic nominees. Each hope to inject a bit of blue back into the fully red ensemble of executives serving currently.[1]

On primary election night, incumbent Governor Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach were re-nominated for their respective seats, scoring double-digit wins against single challengers, both virtual unknowns. Brownback, alongside 2010 running mate and current Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, will face a formidable Democratic ticket led by Paul Davis in the general election. Coming off months of trading barbs with primary opponent Scott Morgan, Kobach can expect tensions to escalate further before his final showdown with Democratic nominee Jean Schodorf this fall.

Rounding out the night, accountant and Republican Leawood executive Ken Selzer secured a slot on the November ballot for the open-seat race to succeed Sandy Praeger (R) as Kansas Commissioner of Insurance.[2] With 27 percent of the vote, Selzer edged out four other contenders in the hotly contested primary that was not called until around midnight after the polls closed.

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The dreaded promotion: South Carolina’s lieutenant governorship

Apr 29 2014

No one wants to be Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. Well, at least two people would rather be elsewhere. The current lieutenant governor, Glenn McConnell, is quitting to become a college president.[1] But his presumptive successor, Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson, has said that he won’t step up.[2] Ballotpedia’s State Executive Officials team investigates.

An unusual dilemma…

The Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Glenn McConnell is stepping down in June 2014 to take a job as president of the College of Charleston. Under South Carolina’s constitution, the next step in the line of succession after lieutenant governor is the president pro tempore of the South Carolina State Senate, John Courson. Courson has been in the Senate for twenty years and chairs the education committee. His election as president pro tempore by his colleagues presumably demonstrates that he is a leading senator. For Courson, moving from the senate into the lieutenant governorship seems to be a step down in terms of political stature. He has said that he will decline the office once it becomes available and continue his career in the senate.[1]

The resulting vacancy would last for seven months until January 2015, when the lieutenant governor elected in November 2014 takes office. Read More

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The Tuesday Count: Number of measures on 2014 ballots steadily increasing

Apr 29 2014

Edited by Brittany Clingen

6 certifications 87 measures for 2014

Certifications (News) LGBT issues (Quick hits) Wages (Spotlight)

Last week saw the certification of six new measures for 2014, one in Georgia and five in Oklahoma. Both chambers of the Georgia Legislature approved the Private College Buildings Tax Exemption measure by the required two-thirds vote, thereby referring it to the ballot.[1] If approved by voters, the measure would extend a “public property” ad valorem tax exemption to privately owned and operated student dormitories and parking decks, which are obliged by contract to serve the university, within the University of Georgia system.[2]

The statute is part of a larger legislative package related to the privatization of student dormitories. The package, taken together, would lease dormitories to private firms who would collect revenues from operating the dorms. The package would leave some control of student dorm boarding prices to administrators. The leasing companies would take on any existing debt on leased properties and have the option of building new dormitories. Leases would last from 30 to 65 years, and many would include a renewal option. Private companies would bid on contracts and be selected following the referendum.[3]

Five legislatively-referred constitutional amendments were sent to Oklahoma’s November 4, 2014 ballot by the state legislature. Read More

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Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Missouri elections in 2014

Apr 25 2014

By Ballotpedia’s State legislative team

Missouri’s 2014 elections feature six former state representatives seeking a return to the state legislature. Vicki Schneider (R), who was term-limited in 2012, is running against Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R) and Bob Onder (R) for the Senate District 2 seat of the term-limited Scott Rupp (R). Defeated in her re-election bid in the 2012 Democratic primary, Tracy McCreery (D) faces no primary competition in her attempt to return to the chamber. Sylvester Taylor, II (D) was drawn against and defeated by fellow incumbent Rochelle Walton Gray (D) in 2012. He faces four other Democrats in a primary for the vacant Senate District 67 seat. Cloria Brown (R) is set for a rematch with now-Rep. Vicki Englund (D). Englund defeated Brown by 313 votes (1.8%) in 2012. Chris Carter (D) won re-election in 2012, but left the chamber to replace his deceased uncle on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Carter will face his replacement, Rep. Joshua Peters (D) in the Democratic primary. Defeated in the 2012 general election, Brent Lasater (R) faces Bill Kidd in the Republican primary. Should Lasater win, he will face a rematch with Rep. John A. Mayfield (D). Mayfield won in 2012 by 172 votes (1.2%).[1]

March 25 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Missouri State Senate and Missouri House of Representatives. Read More

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King County voters reject Prop. 1 Metro funding, choosing lower taxes despite looming bus service cuts

Apr 25 2014

By Josh Altic

Despite creative campaign advertisements like the ones shown on the right, the Move King County Now campaign in favor of Proposition 1 failed to convince voters – who sided approximately 55% to 45% against the Prop. 1 – that giving the Metro system additional funding to avoid public transit service cuts was worth the higher taxes. Voters were, instead, sympathetic to the position of the victorious opponents, who argued that Metro needed to cut its costs and be realistic about its out-of-control spending rather than demand more money from taxpayers. Proposition 1 would have imposed $130 million more in taxes per year on county residents in the form of a sales tax increase of 0.1 percent and an annual vehicle registration fee of $60.[1]

Once it became apparent that voters had rejected Proposition 1, Metro officials announced that they would be proposing a 16 percent cut in bus services, which amounts to 550,000 hours. This is slightly less than the 600,000 hours in cuts proposed during Proposition 1 campaigning.[1]

King County Executive Dow Constantine, after announcing the plan to cut service by 550,000 bus hours, said that he would continue to urge state legislators to approve more funding for the King County Metro system. Read More

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Michigan filing deadline report: Two filed state executives

Apr 25 2014

By Kristen Mathews

Lansing, Michigan: Four state executive official positions are up for election in Michigan in 2014. The Governor of Michigan, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, Attorney General and Secretary of State will be up for election November 4. The first candidate filing deadline passed on April 22 at 4 p.m. This filing deadline does not include write-ins or candidates without a political party affiliation. Legislation passed in 2012 moved the filing deadline for the 2014 election year up three weeks earlier than in the past.[1]

In Michigan, candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are nominated at their party’s convention in the fall, after the gubernatorial candidates have been selected by the voters at large in the primary election, under Michigan Election Law, Act 116 of 1954, Section 168.72.[2]

Incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder is running for re-election. The unofficial candidate list released by Michigan’s Department of State’s office after the filing deadline showed Democrat Mark Schauer as the only political party candidate challenging Snyder.



Rick Snyder – Incumbent Mark Schauer (Declared) – Former U.S. Rep – District 7[3][4] Robin Sanders – State corrections officer at Woodland Center Correctional Facility[5] Read More
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Pension Hotspots: Ventura county petitioners turn in signatures, supremely confident their measure will qualify for the ballot

Apr 25 2014

By Josh Altic

The Pension Hotspots Report is a monthly publication about local pension reform efforts.

As of April 25, 2014, five pension related measures have been proposed. One of these was approved, one was defeated and the remaining three are pending.

This edition of the Pension Hotspots report covers the submission of over 40,500 signatures by petitioners seeking to qualify a pension reform initiative for the November ballot in Ventura County. It also features stories about the efforts of four high profile cities in California, Indiana and Illinois attempting to reign in rising pension costs and hold off pension fund insolvency.

Ventura County, CA

The Committee for Pension Fairness turns in roughly 41,000 signatures for pension reform initiative, petitioners confident it will make the ballot:

On April 23, 2014, the committee behind the Ventura County pension reform initiative turned in over 40,500 signatures to the county clerk, needing about 26,000 of them to be valid in order to qualify its initiative for the November ballot. Now petitioners, who are very confident in the sufficiency of their petitions, wait while the county elections office certifies the signatures and decides whether the measure will appear before voters in November.[1][2]

Petitioners gathered signatures from tens of thousands of Ventura County residents in less than 70 days, turning in the petitions well before the deadline. Read More

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The Tuesday Count: Alaska initiatives moved from August to November ballot

Apr 22 2014

Edited by Ryan Byrne

1 certification 79 measures for 2014

AK and HI ballots (News) Marijuana (Quick hits) GMOs (Spotlight)

According to Section 4 of Article XI of the Alaska Constitution, the lieutenant governor shall place citizen’s initiatives on the ballot for the first statewide election held more than one hundred twenty days after adjournment of the legislative session following the initiatives’ filing.[1] Previously, Alaska’s certified initiatives were to be voted upon on primary election day, August 19, 2014, but the Alaska Legislature failed to adjourn on Sunday, April 20 and continued to work into Monday, April 21. Thus, the legislature worked on the 120th day before August 19, which, as the constitution states, means that the initiatives cannot appear on the primary ballot.[2] Gail Fenumiai, the state’s election director, said the three measures are now set for the general election ballot on November 4, 2014.[3] The moved initiatives are the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which would legalize marijuana with restrictions, the Minimum Wage Increase Initiative, which would increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9.75, and the Bristol Bay Mining Ban, which would require the proposed “large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation” near Bristol Bay to seek final legislative approval. Read More

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Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive South Carolina elections in 2014

Apr 18 2014

By Ballotpedia’s State legislative team

March 30 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for South Carolina House of Representatives. Elections in all 124 House districts will consist of a primary election on June 10, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The South Carolina State Senate will not hold elections this year.

Looking at the current partisan breakdown in the South Carolina House, because there will be very few actual general elections, the election should be unremarkable. Two races in particular should be interesting to watch, as the seats were won by a margin of victory of less than 5 percent in 2012. The primaries may prove more eventful, featuring seven challengers from 2012 seeking office again, one challenger from 2010 and Curtis Brantley (D), the former District 122 incumbent who was defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary.

See also: 2014’s state legislative elections and South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2014

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds the majority in both state legislative chambers. South Carolina’s office of Governor is held by Nikki Haley (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 32 seats, or 25.8 percent of the chamber. Read More

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