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2024 Governor

Sabato's Crystal Ball

Notes on the State of Politics: May 22, 2024

Incumbents strong at halfway point of House calendar; Democrats get their candidate in key Oregon House race; updates on Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Vermont

Kyle Kondik

The Dwindling Crossover Governorships

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — Despite an increasing correlation between presidential and down-ballot results, there are still nine governors who govern states that their party did not win for president. That means there is a higher percentage of crossover governors than crossover members of the Senate and House. — Still, the number of crossover governors was higher in the recent past. — While there are lots of moving pieces, including what happens in the 2024 presidential election, we could see even more of a decline in the number of crossover governors in this cycle’s gubernatorial elections. Assessing the crossover governorships New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) announcement last week that he will not seek a fifth two-year term as the Granite State’s governor gives Democrats a key takeover target next year. But his departure might also help reduce the dwindling number of “crossover” state governors. We often note the number of House and Senate seats where the winner of the district or state is of a different party than the party that won the district or state for president in the most recent election. There is a greater share of crossover governors than crossover House and Senate members, but the

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: July 13, 2023

Dear Readers: This is the latest edition of Notes on the State of Politics, which features short updates on elections and politics. Today, we’re taking a quick look at gubernatorial races in Washington and New Hampshire, as well as a flood of losing 2022 House candidates seeking redemption in 2024. — The Editors Table 1: Crystal Ball gubernatorial rating change Governor Old Rating New Rating WA Open (Inslee, D) Safe Democratic Likely Democratic Governors: Washington state and (possibly) New Hampshire getting more competitive? Last week, former Rep. Dave Reichert (R, WA-8) entered Washington state’s open-seat gubernatorial contest. Reichert, who represented the suburban Seattle 8th District for several terms, gives Republicans a strong name in a state that Joe Biden carried by a 58%-39% margin in 2020 and is expected to easily carry again. Under Washington state’s open primary system, all candidates run on the same primary ballot and the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to a general election. With three-term Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee stepping aside, the two strongest candidates vying to replace him have been a pair of sitting statewide Democrats: state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state Land Commissioner Hilary Franz. With Reichert in the race,

J. Miles Coleman and Kyle Kondik

Notes on the State of Politics: June 7, 2023

Dear Readers: This is the latest edition of Notes on the State of Politics, which features short updates on elections and politics. — The Editors New Hampshire and Democrats’ search for a gubernatorial target Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) did something a little unusual for a Republican these days — he decided against launching a presidential campaign. This comes amidst a flood of other Republicans jumping into the presidential race over the past couple of weeks, including Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Vice President Mike Pence, and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND). Sununu, a critic of former President Donald Trump, said that he will instead devote his presidential campaigning toward seeing that Trump loses the primary. The four-term governor has not indicated whether he plans to seek reelection to what would be a fifth, two-year term. Only Sununu and John Lynch, a Democrat who served from 2005 to 2013, have been elected to the governorship four times in modern history. Sununu’s decision looms large over the 2023-2024 gubernatorial battlefield. If Sununu, who posted clear victories in 2018, 2020, and 2022 after an initial 2-point win in 2016, runs again, he would start as a favorite, owing to his

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

How the Rookie Governors are Performing So Far

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE — Governors seem to be strikingly popular these days, especially compared to national political figures and institutions such as Congress and the Supreme Court. — This tendency appears to be holding for the nine rookie governors who took office for the first time after last November’s elections. — While the nine rookie governors’ approval ratings run along a spectrum from passable to great, none is in dire straits politically. A few have leveraged unified party control in their state to enact aggressive agendas, while others are building up their policy records more slowly, often because they have to work with opposition-party control of one or both legislative chambers. Assessing the new governors In a pattern we first wrote about a year ago, governors appear to be strikingly popular these days, especially compared to national political figures and institutions such as Congress and the Supreme Court. This perception was bolstered by the findings of the most recent 50-state survey by Morning Consult, the only polling undertaken nationally on gubernatorial approval ratings. The Morning Consult findings, which were released April 19, found that every single governor in the country was above water — that is, with the

Louis Jacobson

Notes on the State of Politics: May 2, 2023

Biden may pass on New Hampshire test While it would not rank that high on the all-time list of ways in which the Donald Trump experience did not correspond with history, Trump’s electoral performance in 2020 was unusual in that he lost reelection despite a very strong showing in his own party’s presidential primary process. Despite challenges from former Gov. William Weld (R-MA) and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R, IL-8), a pair of decently-credentialed although hardly big-name rivals, Trump dominated the primary season, winning in aggregate 94% of the votes cast. That included getting 84.4% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, the traditional first-in-the-nation primary. As Table 1 makes clear, Trump’s Granite State showing looked a lot more like the performances turned in by incumbents who would be reelected later that election year than the showings of those who either declined to seek or lost reelection. Table 1: Incumbent presidential performance in New Hampshire primary, 1952-2020 Sources: CQ Press for results prior to 1972; New Hampshire Public Radio for results from 1972-present. Note that both Harry Truman in 1952 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 turned in weak performances in New Hampshire prior to their eventual decisions to retire, and that Gerald

Kyle Kondik