Saturday, July 31, 2010

Arkansas Governor Race

Race of the Day

Arkansas Governor

July 31, 2010
94 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2008 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

Despite it's southern conservatism, Arkansas has been the most friendly state in the South for Democrats. While Republicans have increasingly gone on to larger victories for the state's electoral votes, Democrats have dominated just about the entire rest of the political scene. This year, Republicans look poised for a big comeback year in the state, but the contest for Governor is still one the Democrats should manage to hold on to.

Seeking a second term, conservative leaning Democrat Governor Mike Beebe, has remained popular among voters, with Rasmussen Reports giving him a whopping 74 percent job approval rating in a recent poll. A sitting Governor has not been defeated in the state for quite some time, which bodes even better for Beebe's prospects for a second term.

His Republican opponent is a businessman and former State Senator named Jim Keet, who was the only member of the GOP to step forward to challenge Beebe and is still not very well known. Most polls have been showing the incumbent with a solid lead over his opponent. However, the aforementioned Rasmussen poll raised some eyebrows with Beebe only ahead by 10 points, despite his high job approval. The Keet campaign is also pointing to another local poll showing the race at a 50-41 single digit spread. Political junkies might look for a comparable example and consider the surprise 2002 result, in a strong GOP year, that saw the Democrat Governor of Georgia lose reelection, in a race he had led throughout the year.

Keet will need to run a great campaign, hope for mistakes by his opponent, or otherwise catch a break in order to actually win the race. However, it is gearing up for a big GOP year, especially in states like Arkansas which John McCain handily carried two years ago, and is this year seeing the incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator headed for a potential landslide defeat, and a couple of Democrat Congressional seats at risk of changing hands as well. Beebe should hang on by the low double or high single digits, but if the pro-Republican wave does turn out to be a tsunami, this will be one of the barometer races.

Keet campaign link:

2010 Governor races predicted thus far: 1 D, 3 R
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 8 D, 9 R