12 States Choose Governors in 2012:
Key Dates, Facts and State Summaries
(Zacks is a contributor to the Center on the American Governor)
(Updated September 13, 2012; original posted on May 22, 2012)
Gubernatorial elections are being held in 12 states this year. Here are basic facts, key dates and state-by-state summaries.
• 4 are Republicans
• 8 are Democrats
• 6 are seeking re-election:
- 2 Republicans
- 4 Democrats
• 2 have reached term limits and will be retiring
- 1 Republican
- 1 Democrat
• 3 have chosen to not seek another term
- 3 Democrats
• 1 won a recall election on June 5th
– Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin
Key Dates For The Governors Races in 2012
• August 28th
- Vermont Republican Primary
• September 11th
- Delaware Republican Primary
- New Hampshire Democratic and Republican Primaries
• November 6th
- General Election
State-by-State Summaries of the 2012 Gubernatorial Contests
Incumbent Governor Jack Markell (D) is seeking re-election after completing his first four-year term. If he wins again, Markell will not be able to run again since Delaware law limits governors to two four-year terms for life. The Republican challenger, chosen in a September 11th primary, is Jeff Cragg, a businessman from Wilmington.
Incumbent Governor Mitch Daniels (R) is completing his second four-year term and is prohibited by the Indiana constitution from running again this year. Indiana limits its governors to serving 8 out of any 12 years, so Daniels could choose to run again in 2016 or later.
The major party nominees to succeed Daniels are Mike Pence (R), a six-term Congressman, and John Gregg (D), a former state House Speaker. The Libertarian candidate, Rupert Boneham, is a three-time contestant on the reality-TV show Survivor and founder of the nonprofit organization Rupert's Kids
MISSOURIIncumbent Governor Jay Nixon (D) is seeking re-election after completing his first four-year term. Since Missouri law limits its governors to two four-year terms for life, this would be Nixon's final term if he were re-elected. The August 7th primary determined that Nixon's Republican opponent will be Dave Spence, a businessman from suburban St. Louis.
MONTANAIncumbent Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) is completing his second four-year term and will be stepping down. Montana law limits its governors to serving 8 out of any 16 years.
The major party candidates on the November 6th ballot to succeed him will be Rick Hill (R), a former Congressman who defeated six other candidates in the June 5th primary and Steve Bullock (D), the state's current Attorney General.
Incumbent Governor John Lynch (D) is completing his fourth two-year term. Although New Hampshire governors can serve an unlimited number of terms, Lynch has chosen to retire, citing the need to bring in new political leadership with new ideas.The major party nominees selected by voters in September 11th primaries are former state Board of Education Chair Ovide Lamontagne (R) and former State Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan (D).
NORTH CAROLINAIncumbent Governor Bev Perdue (D) is stepping down after completing her first four-year term. Under North Carolina law, Perdue could have run for a second consecutive term and, after serving two terms, would have been eligible to run again after four years out of office. Perdue cites the negativity in politics as a significant factor in not seeking another term this year and claims she can be more effective in the private sector.
The major party nominees are Pat McCrory (R), former Charlotte Mayor and Perdue's rival in the 2008 gubernatorial election, and Walter Dalton (D), Lieutenant Governor.
Incumbent Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) is running for a full term after replacing John Hoeven, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. North Dakota governors can serve an unlimited number of four-year terms. Dalrymple's opponent is Ryan Taylor (D), State Senate Minority Leader.
UTAHIncumbent Governor Gary Herbert (R) is running for a full term after assuming the governorship in 2009 and winning a 2010 gubernatorial special election to complete his predecessor's unfinished term. His predecessor was Jon Huntsman, Jr., recent Republican candidate for President, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China. Utah governors can serve an unlimited number of four-year terms.
On June 26th Peter Cooke, a businessman and retired major general in the United States Army Reserve, won the Democratic nomination and will face Governor Herbert in the November election.
Incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin (D) is seeking re-election after completing his first two-year term. Vermont governors can serve an unlimited number of terms. His opponent is State Senator and former State Auditor Randy Brock (R) who won the August 28th Republican primary.
Incumbent Governor Christine Gregoire (D) is stepping down after two four-year terms, although Washington state law permits its governors to serve an unlimited number of terms. The candidates to succeed her, selected in primaries on August 7th, are Rob McKenna (R) the current state Attorney General now in his second term and Jay Inslee (D) who has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999 and also served one term from 1993-1995.
WEST VIRGINIAIncumbent Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) is running for a full term after serving as Acting Governor in 2010 and winning a special gubernatorial election in 2011, following predecessor Joe Manchin's election to the U.S. Senate. West Virginia governors can serve two four-year terms.
Tomblin's opponent is Congressman Bill Maloney (R).
Incumbent Governor Scott Walker (R) was elected in 2010 and will run for reelection, if he so chooses, in 2014. Facing a recall election on June 5, 2012 while still in his first term, Walker defeated the same opponent he had faced in his 2010 victory. Wisconsin governors can serve an unlimited number of four-year terms.