Election 2006: The 2006 Gubernatorial Elections in the American Northeast
The 2006 gubernatorial elections in the American Northeast promise to be incredibly competitive, with three open seats (Massachusetts, New York, Ohio) and several incumbents with tenuous holds on their positions, especially Jodi Rell of Connecticut and Jim Douglas of Vermont. The Democratic Party is going to make some inroads, especially with wins in at least two of the three open seats and upsets in a few of the contested states in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
Connecticut- Incumbent Jodi Rell (Republican)- Interim governor Jodi Rell has done well to put the John Rowland governorship behind Connecticut, including an aggressive policy towards prosecuting corruption and turning over the executive staff. For a state that is typically very liberal, Jodi Rell stands a great chance at reelection this year, and the two Senators are conservative Democrat Joe Lieberman and moderate Democrat Christopher Dodd. Rell will probably face off against John DeStefano, the mayor of New Haven, but no Democrats currently running in the 2006 gubernatorial election stands a chance against the popular Rell.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Rell defeats DeStefano 60-40%.
Massachusetts- Open Seat- Following Mitt Romney’s conservative wake, the Republicans and Democrats will most likely be fighting for the middle ground in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Romney’s lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, may have a tough time in a liberal state that may be seeking new representation in the state executive office. The Democrat’s likely 2006 gubernatorial candidate will be state Attorney General Thomas Reilly, whose prosecutorial background makes him a valuable candidate for the party in a moderate’s election. While liberal Democrats (whose numbers are huge in Massachusetts) may want someone more like Ted Kennedy in the governor’s chair, they must settle for a surer shot in Reilly for the 2006 gubernatorial election. This will be a close election, but Democrats are going to be ready by the time fall comes around and Reilly may be able to steal some independents in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Reilly defeats Healey 52-48%.
Maryland- Incumbent Bob Ehrlich (Republican)- Bob Ehrlich has made some enemies while governor of Maryland and the liberal tendencies of the state and the national move against Republicans may leave Ehrlich as one of the most significant victims in the 2006 gubernatorial elections. Martin O’Malley, the popular Democratic governor of Baltimore, will challenge Ehrlich in the 2006 gubernatorial general election and his ties to a Democratic haven, as well as his strong presence in the party, will leave little doubt as to who wins this election.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- O’Malley defeats Ehrlich 56-44%.
Maine- Incumbent John Baldacci (Democrat)- Baldacci, in a state that is increasingly Democratic, seems to get the benefit of the doubt from a liberal constituency. While Baldacci has not been overwhelmingly popular leading up to the 2006 gubernatorial election, the diluted Democratic, Republican, and independent fields heading into the fall means that Baldacci won’t face any sustained opposition. Former state senator and policy analyst David Emery is the likely Republican nominee and Green Party candidate and radio host Pat LaMarche could put a dent in Baldacci’s numbers in the 2006 gubernatorial election. However, neither of these candidates are strong enough to take down an incumbent governor in a liberal Democratic state.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Baldacci defeats Emery 54-42% with LaMarche getting 2-3% of the vote in Maine.
New Hampshire- Incumbent John Lynch (Democrat)- Lynch is not facing any major Republican opposition in the 2006 gubernatorial election, with only former state representative Jim Coburn running so far as a Republican candidate. Lynch has been a solid executive in a state important to the 2008 presidential election (or, at least the nominating process) and unless the Republicans can find a solid moderate Republican to put on the ballot, John Lynch should cruise in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Lynch defeats Coburn 65-35%.
New York- Open Seat- The presumptive Democratic nominee (and, to many, the next governor of New York) is Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose tough on big business approach has endeared many moderates and independents to his fold in the 2006 gubernatorial election. While New York is an overwhelmingly Democratic state, they have had prominent Republicans like George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani in major positions within state government. However, they have had trouble finding a popular enough candidate to go up against Spitzer’s appealing candidacy. The nominee will be former Massachusetts governor and New York City lawyer William Weld, whose experience as an executive (even in another state) makes him an experienced figure for Republicans who don’t feel they have much of a chance.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Spitzer defeats Weld 58-42%.
Ohio- Open Seat- In the seat that will be vacated by scandal plagued Robert Taft, Ohio will see a full court press from the national parties in the 2006 gubernatorial election. The Republicans need to look away from the sexy candidate and towards a steady, reliable leader who can promise a cleanup of Ohio’s state government. Some conservatives want to reward Secretary of State Ken Blackwell for his role in swinging Ohio to President Bush in 2004, but the safer bet is state Attorney General Jim Petro. Petro, however, will face a tough race from popular Representative Ted Strickland, who should win the party’s nomination for the 2006 gubernatorial election. Strickland will be able to use the Taft controversy and Republican failures in the state against Petro and the Democratic sweep over the United States will be felt strongly in Ohio.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Strickland defeats Petro 52-48%.
Pennsylvania- Incumbent Ed Rendell (Democrat)- Ed Rendell is an extremely popular politician in Pennsylvania, given his mayorship of Philadelphia, his gig as a post game analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles, and his ability to lead the state in a positive direction economically. However, while the cities are Democratic, the vast rural areas are largely Republican and Rendell may have been in trouble if he would have had a stronger challenger. However compelling Hall of Fame NFL receiver Lynn Swann’s financial and public relations strengths may be, Rendell has done little to put doubts in the minds of Pennsylvanians for the 2006 gubernatorial election.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Rendell defeats Swann 58-42%.
Rhode Island- Incumbent Donald Carcieri (Republican)- As liberal as Rhode Island is traditionally, the voters of the smallest state in the Union are also unpredictable when it comes to their representation. Carcieri will face little real opposition from the Democrats, who will nominate his lieutenant governor, Charles Fogarty, as the 2006 gubernatorial nominee. His ability to appeal across the board in Rhode Island will stifle any competition from Fogarty, however.
2006 Gubernatorial Projection- Carcieri defeats Fogarty 59-41%.
Vermont- Incumbent Jim Douglas (Republican)- Much like his colleague in New Hampshire, Jim Douglas has little serious opposition in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Former state Democratic Party chairman Scudder Parker may be able to get some interest from the liberal set in Vermont, but Douglas has a surprising amount of support for a Republican in one of the most liberal states in the Union. If no other Democrats come forward to challenge Douglas (and it seems that most are concentrating on winning the Senate seat), then Douglas should win easily in the 2006 gubernatorial election.