Hope in One Hand: Governorships 2014

Election DayI will try not to write about the election all day long. It really isn’t all that interesting regardless. But I wrote about the Senate races yesterday, so I figured I should write about the governorships today. They have the advantage of looking a lot better for the Democrats. But it is important to remember why this is so. It isn’t because the voters are schizophrenic. The Senate is horrible because it is six years after the 2008 Democratic wave election. The governorships are good because it is four years after the 2010 Republican wave. In the end, fundamentals trump everything.

It isn’t great for the Democrats, regardless. In fact, Daily Kos sees the governorships as standing pat. But FiveThirtyEight sees us as gaining three seats. Well, two Democrats and one independent. And the independent, Bill Walker of Alaska, is not exactly a liberal, even if he is running with a Democrat.

Maine

The most interesting thing is what is happening in Maine. In the footnote to my discussion of the Senate yesterday, I gave Eliot Cutler some grief for being a spoiler in Maine who was giving Paul LePage the governorship for another four years. But it looks like Cutler is trying to minimize the damage. He has told his supporters that it is okay to vote for someone else and he canceled some of his advertising campaign — weak tea, but helpful. Also, Angus King is now backing the Democratic candidate, Mike Michaud.

Currently, Daily Kos gives Michaud a 52% chance of winning the race. FiveThirtyEight gives him a 57% chance. So clearly, it isn’t a done deal. If Cutler had just dropped out of the race, things would be different. So if Maine is cursed with LePage for another four years, I think we all know who to blame.

Florida

It seems that Florida voters are very unhappy with both Charlie Crist and Rick Scott. Both have negative approval ratings. But as Donald Rumsfeld would say, you vote for the candidates you have, not the candidates you wish you had. I’ve always wondered about Crist. I understand leaving the Republican Party for the Democratic Party. It just makes sense as the Republican Party gets crazier minute by minute. Just the same, couldn’t the Florida Democratic Party come up with a better candidate?

Daily Kos actually sees Crist losing. He is very slightly down in the polls, so they give him a 47% chance of winning. But FiveThirtyEight gives Crist a 60% chance of winning. Unfortunately, they don’t give any reason for thinking this.

Kansas

Sam Brownback is likely to lose, but not as likely as his performance as governor would indicate. Davis is up in the polls by a single percentage point. Daily Kos gives him a 60% chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight puts the chance at 82%. It says something very bad about our political system that people like Brownback can actively hurt their states and large majorities of their people and yet still reliably get roughly half the vote. Thomas Frank is right: there really is something the matter with Kansas.

Bad News

The Democrats are also losing some races that ought to be slam dunks. In particular, Martha Coakley is going down in flames. It would seem that Massachusetts is just not willing to elect her to a statewide post. I hope the Democrats don’t nominate her again. It’s getting to be like the Swamp King. She is currently down by 4.2 percentage points. Daily Kos gives her a 15% chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight gives her a 14% chance. It’s pathetic. I want to bang my head against the wall.

In Connecticut, Dan Malloy is up by 1.2 percentage points. Daily Kos gives him a 61% chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight gives him a 56% chance of winning. Anything could happen. And that goes for Rhode Island and Colorado as well. In the latter case, the people are angry that John Hickenlooper is against the death penalty. Never was there a more pernicious issue than the death penalty. It is such an easy way to get people to vote against their interests, all in the name of a strange kind of blood lust.

Where We Are

If the polls are even a little skewed toward the Democrats, the Republicans could easily pick up governorships. Too many states have Democrats winning by razor thin margins. On the other hand, if the polls are skewed toward the Republicans, maybe we can get rid of some people like Scott Walker who currently look quite safe. To be honest, I’m really not looking forward to this evening.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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