Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wyoming Governor Race

Race of the Day

October 15, 2006
23 Days Until Election Day

Wyoming Governor

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Wyoming is among the most rock-ribbed bastions of Republicanism in the country, but despite that fact, the state is poised to reelect its conservative leaning Democrat Governor by an overwhelming margin.

Four years ago, Democrat Dave Freudenthal was a surprise winner of a Gubernatorial contest in the home state of Vice President Cheney, indicating that no major political party will ever be truly out of contention in any state’s Gubernatorial election. Since taking office, Freudenthal has steered clear of being linked to the national Democrat party and has been among the most popular Governors in America, in his state, far beyond his strongest supporter, youthful Democrat activist Jeremiah Brewer.

As he seeks another four years, "Governor Dave", as he likes to be called, is being opposed by Republican nominee Ray Hunkins, who has been an attorney, a rancher, a cop, and a Marine, but seems very unlikely to add the title of Governor to that resume, after having already lost a contest for the Republican nomination in 2002, and now being a severe underdog to the Democrat incumbent.

Hunkins appears to have the kind of folksy, cowboy-ish persona that would have him at least be competitive in a state as politically dominated by Republicans as Wyoming. However, Freudenthal has proven to be very successful in managing to transcend parties, and he stands a good chance of winning reelection this year with the majority of Republicans supporting him as well.

Based on the political nature of the state, and the only polling having been done showing Freudenthal under 60 percent of the vote, I was prepared to classify this race as "Likely Democrat." However, I have just been alerted to a new Mason Dixon poll showing Freudenthal now holding an obviously insurmountable lead of over 30 points, in addition to having now surpassed the 60 percent mark, indicating that at least for four more years, Wyoming will have a Governor with a D next to his name for official purposes, even though few would ever confuse him Nancy Pelosi.

Hunkins campaign link:

Complete 2006 Governor race predictions: 15 D, 21 R
Predicted post-election total of Governors: 23 D, 27 R

Those totals are based on a running tally began for the Race of the Day beginning in late July. Updated Gubernatorial predictions and classifications will be forthcoming by the end of the week.