From the Chair's Desk: Where We Stand

With just over six months to go until the November elections and 37 days until the recall election in Wisconsin, I wanted to update you on where we stand.

The DGA is defending eight Democratic governorships this year, while the RGA only has four governorships to defend. It’s a challenging map, but we are confident about our chances thanks to strong candidates. In 2011, the DGA was able to hold governorships in Kentucky and West Virginia despite being outspent 3-to-1 in the latter state. That’s the same successful playbook we’ll bring to 2012.

Here’s a rundown of our races:

Wisconsin (June recall election): Embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker is in a fight for his life in the Badger State. Walker won election in 2010 by promising to focus on jobs, but while Walker launched a politically-motivated attack against workers, Wisconsin slipped to last in the country in job creation. The latest poll has the race as a dead heat, with Walker losing to the leading Democratic challenger 47-46 among likely voters.

Delaware: Former DGA Chair Governor Jack Markell is one of the most popular governors in the country. Markell will face Republican Jeff Cragg in the general election. Democrats have held the governor’s office in Delaware since 1993.

Indiana: Tea Party favorite Rep. Mike Pence is running to replace Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Pence’s far-right extremism provides a pickup opportunity for Democrats, who landed former House Speaker John Gregg as their candidate. Gregg’s plainspoken manner and moderate profile may be just what the DGA needs to score an upset in the Hoosier State.

Missouri: Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has earned a job approval rating of 60% in a state that is not always friendly to Democrats. Nixon’s popularity stems from his record of creating jobs in the Show Me State. Republicans have cycled through several candidates but will settle on one after the August 7th primary.

Montana: Montana is another conservative-leaning state that has benefitted recently from strong Democratic leadership. Popular Democratic incumbent Brian Schweitzer is term-limited, but Attorney General Steve Bullock has stepped up to fill those large shoes. The Republican frontrunner is Rep. Rick Hill.

New Hampshire: The perennial battleground state of New Hampshire will have a competitive governor’s race in 2012. Governor John Lynch will leave the governor’s mansion with sky-high approval ratings and give way to one of several strong Democratic candidates. The latest WMUR poll had the leading Democrat Maggie Hassan beating the leading Republican Ovide Lamontagne 34-29.

North Carolina: The North Carolina governor’s race promises to be one of the most competitive in the country, with would-be successors to Governor Bev Perdue competing in a primary on May 8. On the Republican side, former Charlotte Mayor and failed candidate for governor Pat McCrory has tied himself to the Republican legislature’s unpopular agenda of deep cuts to public education. We’ll be watching this one closely.

North Dakota: Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor has an uphill battle against incumbent Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple in dark-red North Dakota, but Taylor—a fourth-generation rancher and businessman—wears his underdog status well. Keep an eye on this one.

Utah: Retired Two-Star General Peter Cooke will face off against Republican Governor Gary Herbert in the Beehive State. Cooke has an impressive resume that includes 39 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and 29 years in business and as a real estate developer.

Vermont: Governor Peter Shumlin has earned a reputation as one of the most effective governors in the country, passing landmark universal health care legislation among other accomplishments. Shumlin will face the winner of the August 23rd Republican primary.

Washington: The State of Washington will have one of the most competitive governor’s races in the country in 2012. Rep. Jay Inslee literally wrote the book on green energy jobs, a message that is likely to play well in the Evergreen State. Inslee will face Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has lately come under fire for supporting a Republican budget that slashes education funding. The latest polling has this race as a toss-up.

West Virginia: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is set to faceoff in a rematch against Bill Maloney. Since defeating Maloney in a special election in 2011, Tomblin has shown leadership in the governor’s mansion, keeping his promise to cut the food tax and passing environmentally-safe drilling regulations for Marcellus Shale that will create thousands of jobs in West Virginia.

Thanks for your support of Democratic governors.

Jobs. Opportunity. Now.,

Martin O’Malley