With the recent announcement that Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell, a
Republican, will not run for re-election, there is a realistic, if
slim, possibility that Democrats could hold all six New England
governorships come January 2011. According to my extensive research --
OK, scrolling through Wikipedia, mostly -- I believe this would be the
first time that has happened ever, in the 200+ years of the
party (including when it was called the Democratic-Republican Party). I
welcome anyone to confirm or refute this conclusion for me.
[Pop Quiz! Who was the governor of Massachusetts the last time all six New England Governors were Republicans? Answer below!]
there are three Democrats and three Republicans. All six are up for
election next November. Democrats John Lynch of New Hampshire and Deval
Patrick of Massachusetts are running for re-election; Democrat John
Baldacci of Maine and Republican Don Carcieri of Rhode Island are
term-liimited out; and Republicans Rell and Jim Douglas of Vermont have
chosen not to run.
Is a Democratic sweep possible? Let's look at them one-by-one.
Lynch is pretty much a sure thing for re-election. He's not as
overwhelmingly popular as he once was -- what governor is these days?
-- but he's still popular, and the Republicans don't have a serious
candidate to put up against him.
Massachusetts Patrick is
about as unpopular as a governor can get without being indicted or
getting caught "hiking the Adirondacks." Nevertheless, he has to be
considered the favorite to win a three-way race, with independent Tim
Cahill and likely Republican nominee Charlie Baker spilitting the vote.
I am hopeless at discerning the actions of the Maine electorate. I know
the seat is now held by a Democrat; I know the Republicans are
optimistic of a good 2010 cycle up there; I know that both parties have
a fairly solid group of candidates, though no obvious world-beaters; I
know most of the national punditry has this as "likely" or "lean"
Democratic, and I know early polling suggests a close race. Perhaps my
Portland colleagues can weigh in?
Vermont It's a
super-duper liberal state, but they've elected Republican Douglas
repeatedly and may treat his LG Brian Dubie as a stand-in despite his
silly name. Most of the national pundits have this as a toss-up.
With Rell having just declared herself out, everyone's rating this a
toss-up until the GOP field takes shape -- there's speculation that Rob
Simmons could drop his run for Senate against Chris Dodd to do it, but
he doesn't sound disposed toward that idea. The Democrats have at least
one good candidate (SoS Susan Bysiewicz) and Lieberman-slayer Ned
Lamont apparently gearing up to run. The state has been trending heavily blue of late, but a good Republican candidate will make this an even fight.
Rhode Island Barring something bizarre, the Republicans are clearly not going to win this one -- but that doesn't mean the Democrats will. They have two legit candidates -- treasurer Frank Caprio and AG Patrick Lynch
-- but the whole Democratic six-state sweep could be undone by former
Senator -- and former Republican -- Lincoln Chafee, who is running as
an independent. He looks good in early polls, but is reportedly having
a tough time raising money. Again, I will defer to my wiser Providence
colleagues if they wish to chime in.
[Quiz answer: Leverett
Saltonstall. It was January 1939-January 1941. The others (assuming I'm
correct) were Raymond Baldwin, Conn.; Lewis Barrows, Maine; Francis
Murphy, New Hampshire; William Henry Vanderbilt III, Rhode Island; and
George Aiken, Vermont.]