Taggubernatorial

Nine candidates, including incumbent, running in Republican primary for governor of Alabama

Nine candidates are running in the Republican primary election for governor of Alabama on May 24, 2022. Three candidates—incumbent Kay Ivey (R), Lynda Blanchard (R), and Tim James (R)—have led the field in fundraising and media coverage.

Ivey was first elected governor in 2018, defeating Walt Maddox (D) 60% to 40%. Before becoming governor, she served as lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2017 and as state treasurer from 2003 to 2011. In a campaign ad, Ivey highlighted her record, saying, “There’s no critical race theory in our schools, I signed the strongest pro-life law in America, I stood with Trump to ensure no election here can ever be stolen, and we created thousands of new jobs.”

Blanchard worked in real estate and founded an international nonprofit that aimed to address poverty. In 2019, Blanchard President Donald Trump (R) appointed Blanchard as the ambassador to Slovenia. In a campaign ad, Blanchard said, “I will use my business experience to create jobs, end vaccine and mask mandates, improve our schools, and restore election security.”

James is a businessman working as the president of Tim James Inc., a company that uses private investments to build bridges, roads, and other types of infrastructure. He has worked in the construction, transportation, and finance industries. In a campaign ad, James said, “[The left] think America is racist. They think our founding fathers were wrong. They think there are 50 genders, and they want to teach this to our children. […] It is time to fight back.”

Gas prices have been a subject of debate among the candidates. Alabama approved a state gas tax increase of 10 cents per gallon in 2019, with the possibility of increases up to one cent every two years. Revenue from the tax was directed toward road and bridge construction. Blanchard said, “we have struggling families and business while our state sits on a surplus and spends enough money to make a drunken sailor blush,” and supported temporarily suspending state taxes on gas. James said, “every time I turn around, every day, I see an announcement about the governor handing out more money to these pet projects,” and said he supported repealing the 2019 increase. Ivey said there were other factors behind high gas prices, saying, “Let’s not lose sight of the main problem here, and that’s Joe Biden’s policies. He’s got inflation at a 40-year record high.”

Lew Burdette (R), Stacy George (R), Donald Jones (R), Dean Odle (R), Dave Thomas (R), and Dean Young (R) are also running in the primary.

A Republican has held the Alabama governorship since the 2002 elections, which was also the last time an incumbent governor lost election in the state. 



Fifteen candidates are running in the May 17 Democratic primary for Governor of Oregon

Fifteen candidates are running in the May 17 Democratic primary for Governor of Oregon. Incumbent Kate Brown (D) is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Tina Kotek and Tobias Read have led in fundraising and noteworthy endorsements.

Read is the Oregon treasurer, a position to which he was first elected in 2016. He has run on enacting policies to curb gun violence, investing in K-12 schools, and lowering childcare costs. Read said, “We need to stop lurching from one crisis to the next and lay out a vision for where to take Oregon. Not just for next year, but for the next generation. My approach is simple: I’ll measure Oregon’s progress by how well our kids are doing.” Read has also focused on boosting Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination numbers, saying “I think we need steady leadership in Oregon to get past this pandemic and get us on the trajectory that we want to be on. Of course, that requires getting as many people vaccinated as possible and removing that as a barrier.” AFT-Oregon, a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, and former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who served from 1991 to 1995, have endorsed Read.

Kotek served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2007 to 2022, when she resigned to run for governor. She also served as the state house speaker from 2013 to 2022. Kotek has run on reforming zoning laws to make housing more affordable, increasing the minimum wage, and funding schools. She said, “Oregonians are living through a devastating pandemic, the intensifying impacts of climate change, and the economic disruptions that leave too many behind. We must get past the politics of division and focus on making real, meaningful progress for families across our state.” Kotek has said her time in the legislature shows that she knows how government works: “With new legislative leadership in 2023, it will be helpful to have a governor who has been in the Legislature and has been in their positions. There is going to be change, but I hope there is continuity provided by a governor who understands what it means to be a legislative leader.” The Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, and EMILY’s List have endorsed Kotek.

David Beem, Julian Bell, Wilson Bright, George Carrillo, Michael Cross, Ifeanyichukwu Diru, Peter Hall, Keisha Merchant, Patrick Starnes, Dave Stauffer, John Sweeney, Michael Trimble, Genevieve Wilson are also running in this election.

Including Brown, Oregon’s last five governors have been Democrats. The state’s last Republican governor, Victor G. Atiyeh, served from 1979 to 1987.



Thirteen gubernatorial battleground elections to take place in 2022

Thirty-six states will hold elections for governor in 2022. Of those, Ballotpedia has identified 13 as general election battlegrounds: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

These battleground races were selected using the following criteria:

  • the results of the 2020 presidential election in each state,
  • whether the incumbent is seeking re-election,
  • whether the governor’s office changed partisan control the last time it was up for election, and
  • how the Cook Political ReportSabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rated the race.

Of the 13, seven are in states with Republican incumbents and six are in states with Democratic incumbents. Six states had a governor of a party different from the candidate who won the state in the 2020 presidential election. The list of battlegrounds may change over the course of 2022.

The following map displays all states holding gubernatorial elections in 2022 shaded by the incumbent’s or most recent incumbent’s political affiliation. Battleground races are highlighted in brighter colors.



Three candidates answer Ballotpedia’s survey in Virginia governor’s race

Virginia voters will elect a new governor this November. Incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is term-limited, leaving the seat open. Three candidates—Terry McAuliffe (D), Glenn Youngkin (R), and Princess Blanding (Liberation)—will appear on the general election ballot. A fourth, Paul Davis (I), is running as a write-in candidate.

Youngkin, Blanding, and Davis have all completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, which allows candidates to speak directly to Ballotpedia readers, describing who they are, why they are running, and what they would prioritize if elected.

One question asks candidates to list three key messages from their campaigns, the main points they want voters to remember about their goals. Here are a few responses:

  1. Youngkin: “Virginia’s economy has stalled while neighboring states thrive. Virginia’s businesses are drowning in high costs and redtape . [sic] We need a governor with real-world experience who can create jobs, keep businesses from leaving, put an open-for-business sign on Virginia, and create a rip-roaring economy that lifts all Virginians.”
  2. Blanding: “Empowering and supporting courageous leadership that will put people over profit and politics.”
  3. Davis: “Stop Criminal Corrupt politicians and hold legislative bi partisan accountability”

Ballotpedia is seeking 100% participation among candidates in this race. To ask McAuliffe to complete the survey, tweet at his campaign account or send him an email.

An average of the five most recent polls in the race shows 48% of respondents favoring McAuliffe and 42% supporting Youngkin. Blanding, included in three of those polls, received support from 3% of respondents, on average. Davis has not been listed in a poll to date.

Democrats have won four of the last five gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in the state for the first time since 1994. Most recently, Joe Biden (D) won the state in the 2020 presidential election, receiving 54% of the vote to Donald Trump’s (R) 44%.



Voter registration and write-in candidate deadlines approach in Newsom recall

August 30 is the deadline for California residents to register to vote in order to participate in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Voters must postmark or deliver their ballot to a county elections office by that date. Newly registered voters may either participate in in-person early voting in specific counties or request a mail ballot.

Additionally, August 31 is the filing deadline for write-in candidates to run in the recall election. While voters may write in any person on the ballot, only write-in votes for candidates who have filed this paperwork will count in the final results. The secretary of state’s office is expected to publish a list of these write-in candidates on September 3.

The recall election will take place on September 14. The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement.

Additional reading:



New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns, Hochul sworn in as successor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned on Aug. 24, effective at 12:00 a.m. Eastern. He first announced his plans to step down on Aug. 10.

Immediately after Cuomo’s resignation took effect, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) was sworn in as the 57th governor of New York. Hochul is the first female to serve as governor in the state. She will serve the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2023. New York’s next gubernatorial election will take place in November 2022.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report on Aug. 3 that said Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees. James began the investigation in February.

The New York State Assembly had initiated impeachment proceedings against Cuomo in March, examining the allegations of sexual misconduct among other accusations of impeachable conduct.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied these allegations. On August 23, in his final public address as governor, he said, “The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. There was a political and media stampede, but the truth will out in time.”

Lt. Gov. Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. He was New York’s attorney general from 2007 to 2010. Cuomo also served in President Bill Clinton’s (D) cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001.

Cuomo is the ninth governor of New York to resign. Six resigned to take another office, and three resigned following allegations of misconduct. New York’s last elected governor, Eliot Spitzer (D), resigned in 2008 amid allegations of misconduct. Spitzer’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson (D), served through 2010. Twelve governors of New Jersey have resigned, more than any other state. 

Since 1776, 218 state governors have resigned before the expiration of their term. Of those, 76% took place because the governor was elected or appointed to another office, 7% took place following allegations of misconduct, and 17% were for various personal reasons, such as illness or policy disputes with the state legislature.

Additional reading:



BPI Update: With less than a month until the California recall, 73% chance Newsom is retained

On Sept. 14, California voters will decide whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The Ballotpedia Power Index (BPI) estimates that, as of Aug. 20, there is a 73% chance Newsom is retained and a 27% chance that he is recalled. Should he be recalled, Newsom would be the second California governor in history to be recalled and voters would choose his replacement on the same ballot.

The BPI is an election forecasting tool that factors in polling averages from RealClearPolitics and share prices on PredictIt to project the overall chances of an outcome occurring in an election. The chart below shows the BPI for the first recall question in this election. In other words, a 60% score for no and a 40% score for yes would mean that, according to the combination of polling averages and PredictIt prices, there would be a 60% chance of voters not recalling Newsom and a 40% chance of voters recalling Newsom. We update this figure weekly.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement. In that election, 135 candidates ran and Schwarzenegger received 48.6% of the vote.



CA GOP votes “No endorsement” for recall election; SoS releases campaign finance summaries

On August 7, the Republican Party of California voted not to endorse a candidate in the September 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). About 90% of the delegates attending the virtual party meeting voted to skip the endorsement vote and not endorse a candidate. The vote came amid concerns from delegates and party leaders that an endorsement of one candidate would decrease turnout among voters who support other candidates.

Last week, the California Secretary of State’s office also released summary campaign finance data for reports filed through July 31. On the recall question, committees supporting a “Yes” vote have raised $8.7 million and spent $8.5 million. Committees supporting a “No” vote have raised $49.7 million and spent $21.5 million.

As of August 9, summary data was available for 16 candidate campaign committees. The five candidates that raised the most money so far were all Republicans: John Cox ($6.9 million), Larry Elder ($4.5 million), Kevin Faulconer ($1.9 million), Kevin Kiley ($834k), and Caitlyn Jenner ($747k). The Democrat to raise the most money was Kevin Paffrath ($388k). The top five spenders were Cox ($6.4 million), Elder ($2.2 million), Faulconer ($1.0 million), Jenner ($910k), and Paffrath ($398k).



A closer look at major-party expenditures in the Virginia gubernatorial election

In the race for Governor of Virginia, investment executive Glenn Youngkin (R) has outspent former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) according to the most recent campaign finance reports covering spending through June 30, 2021. Youngkin, who launched his campaign three months after McAuliffe, has spent $16.9 million dollars to McAuliffe’s $11.3 million.

McAuliffe recorded his first expenditure on Sept. 6, 2020. Youngkin recorded his first on Jan. 14, 2021, and passed McAuliffe’s total expenditures on Feb. 8, 2021. Since then, Youngkin has exceeded McAuliffe in total expenditures throughout the campaign.

The chart below shows the progression of campaign expenditures since Jan. 1, 2021. McAuliffe’s largest single-day expenditure was $995,982 on April 29 and Youngkin’s largest was $1.2 million on June 18. For both campaigns, these expenditures primarily consisted of media buys, where campaigns spend money to reserve digital, television, and radio ad space.

Producing and placing media ads make up the majority of both campaigns’ total expenditures.

Roughly 41% of all of McAuliffe’s expenditures have gone to a single vendor: Grassroots Media LLC, which offers strategic media planning services and carries out media buys. Similarly, 42% of all of Youngkin’s expenditures have gone to Smart Media Group LLC, an advertising agency and media buy company.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate, will also appear on the general election ballot. She spent $11,043 as of June 30 and has $7,739 on hand according to the most recent campaign finance reports. Her expenditures primarily have been for campaign supplies and canvassing costs, with her largest expenditure—$1,193 on March 4, 2021—going towards yard signs.

Virginians will elect their new governor on Nov. 2, 2021. Democrats have won four of the five most recent gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in Virginia for the first time since 1994.



Judge rules California Gov. Newsom will not have party designation on recall ballot

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled on July 12 that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) party affiliation will not appear on the September 14 recall ballot. Newsom sued Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) on June 28 seeking to have his party affiliation added to the ballot. Weber cited Newsom’s February 2020 response to the recall petition, in which he did not file a party preference form, as the reason for leaving the party affiliation off the recall ballot.

In the ruling, Arguelles wrote: “First, Governor Newsom’s failure to designate a party preference will not result in a ballot identifying him as ‘Party Preference: None.’ Rather, there will be no reference to party preference next to his name one way or the other. Instead, the recall ballot will simply ask whether he should be recalled.”

A recall election seeking to remove Newsom will take place on September 14. Organizers of the recall campaign submitted 2.1 million signatures by the March 17 filing deadline. Weber’s office found 1,719,943 signatures to be valid – more than the 1,495,970 necessary to trigger a recall election. Voters who signed the petition had until June 8 to request removal from the petition. Forty-three signatures were removed during the removal period, leaving 1,719,900 valid signatures on the petitions.

The filing deadline for candidates to run in this election is July 16. As of July 12, 70 individuals had filed to run, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R), and Caitlyn Jenner (R).

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall an incumbent California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Davis, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.58 percent of the vote.