From the Chair’s Desk: How Democrats Won Governors’ Races

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November 23, 2012

With 8 out of 11 governorships up for election in 2012 held by Democrats, Republicans entered the 2012 election cycle with legitimate hopes of picking up as many as four governorships.

States holding governor’s races this year skewed Republican, and by large margins. Indeed, on Election Day Mitt Romney lost the Presidency by a wide margin but actually netted 31 more electoral votes than President Obama in states with governors’ races. Yet Democratic candidates were able to hold the line in 5 out of 6 competitive contests.

How did Democrats manage this? They focused above all on the top issues for voters: creating jobs and expanding opportunity.

 

Montana:

Steve Bullock ran on his outstanding record of helping small businesses create jobs, protecting public education, and keeping children and families safe from predators.

Result: Bullock 49, Hill 47

 

Washington:

 Jay Inslee ran on building a working Washington, helping create the innovative jobs of the future, and moving the state forward.

Result: Inslee 51, McKenna 49

 

Missouri:

Governor Jay Nixon’s fiscally responsible budgeting helped Missouri maintain its sterling AAA bond rating, and earned him the trust of Missourians in a state that Romney won by double digits.

Result: Nixon 55, Spence 43

 

West Virginia:

The governor’s race in West Virginia represents another missed pickup for Republicans. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin won the 2011 Special Election by 3 points, then won the rematch with opponent Bill Maloney in 2012 by highlighting his successful effort to bring jobs to West Virginia.

Result: Tomblin 51, Maloney 46

 

New Hampshire:

 Maggie Hassan focused on workforce development and support for education, presenting a stark contrast with her tea party opponent.

 Result: Hassan 55, Lamontagne 43

 

North Carolina:

Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton ran a spirited campaign highlighting North Carolina’s capacity for job creation through innovation, but was ultimately unable to overcome the growing Republican tilt of the state. This was the DGA’s only loss of a governorship this year.

 Result: McCrory 55, Dalton 43

 

Jobs. Opportunity. Now,

Martin O’Malley