Here’s an early take on the 2012 Gubernatorial races:
Unknown Incumbents: NH, UT, and VT.
Montana: Incumbent Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer is term limited. Potential candidates for the Democrats include Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger, Secretary of State Linda McCullough, Attorney General Steve Bullock, State Auditor Monica Lindeen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, Senator Jon Tester, and State Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald. Potential candidates for the GOP are Congressman Dennis Rehberg, former State Senator Roy Brown, former Secretary of State Brad Johnson, and former State Representative Duane Grimes. Considering the quality of the potential candidates, I rate this LEANS DEMOCRAT.
West Virginia: Incumbent Democratic Governor Joe Manchin is term limited. Candidates for the Democrats include state Senators Jeffrey V. Kessler and Walt Helmick. Other potential candidates include State Treasurer John Perdue, Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, State Senator Robert Plymale, State House Speaker Richard Thompson, State Auditor Glen Gainer, State Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass, Attorney General Darrell McGraw, Congressman Nick Rahall, and state Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Potential candidates for the Republicans include former State Secretary of State Betty Ireland, State Senate Minority Leader Dan Caruth, State Senate Minority Whip Clark S. Barnes, State House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, State House Minority Whip Larry Border, Assistant Minority Whips Troy Andes, Ray Canterbury, and Lynwood “Woody” Ireland, and Representative Shelley Moore Capito. Considering the quality of the potential candidates, I rate this LEANS DEMOCRAT.
Indiana: Incumbent GOP Governor Mitch Daniels is term-limited. Potential candidates for the Republicans include Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, Secretary of State Todd Rokita, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, former Attorney General Steve Carter, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, State Treasurer Richard Murdock, State Auditor Tim Berry, Congressmen Mark Souder and Mike Pence, former Congressman and Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, and Conservative Activist Eric Miller. Potential candidates for the Democrats are Businessman Jim Schellinger, former Representative Jill Long Thompson, Mayor of Evansville Jonathan Weinzapfel, Mayor of Hammond Thomas McDermott Jr., Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez, and Congressmen Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth, Andre Carson, Peter Visclosky, and Joe Donnelly. Considering the quality of the potential candidates, I rate this LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
Delaware: Incumbent Democratic Governor Jack Markell is probably running for re-election. Potential candidates for the Republicans are former Deputy Attorney General Ferris Wharton, State Auditor Tom Wagner, former US Attorney Colm Connolly, former State Senator Charlie Copeland, Drugstore Chain CEO Alan Levin, Wilmington Trust President Robert Harra, State Representatives Debbie Hudson and Tom Kovach. SAFE DEMOCRAT.
Missouri: Incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon is probably running for re-election. Potential candidates for the Republicans are Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Congressmen Todd Akin, Sam Graves, and Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson. LIKELY DEMOCRAT.
North Carolina: Incumbent Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue is probably running for re-election. Potential Democratic opponents to Perdue’s renomination are Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, State Auditor Beth Wood, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, and Congressmen GK Butterfield, Bob Etheridge, David Price, Mike McIntyre, Larry Kissell, Heath Schuler, Mel Watt, and Brad Miller. Potential candidates for the Republicans include former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, former Raleigh Mayor Paul Colbe, President of High Point University Nido Qubein, State Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, Congressmen Walter Jones Jr. and Patrick McHenry, and Congresswoman Sue Myrick. LEAN REPUBLICAN.
Washington: Incumbent Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire is probably running for re-election. Potential Democratic opponents include Congressmen Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, and Adam Smith, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, State Treasurer Jim McIntire, State Auditor Brian Sonntag, State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. Potential candidates for the Republicans include Secretary of State Sam Reed, Attorney General Rob McKenna, former State Senator Dino Rossi, Congressmen Doc Hastings and Dave Reichert, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rogers. TOSSUP.
North Dakota: Incumbent Republican Governor John Hoeven is poised to succeed Byron Dorgan as US Senator from North Dakota, meaning Lieutenant Governor Jack Darymphle will be the Governor in 2012. Potential candidates for the Democrats are Congressman Earl Pomeroy, former Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, State School Superintendent Wayne G. Sanstead, former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, former State Senator Joel Heitkamp, and State Senator Tim Mathern. LIKELY REPUBLICAN.