Monday, September 06, 2010

New Hampshire Governor Race

Race of the Day

New Hampshire Governor

September 6, 2010
57 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2008 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

Granite State politics is often focused around it's First in the Nation Presidential Primary. The state also often has hotly contested battles for Congress, and this year will see Republicans in both of it's Congressional districts attempt to win seats back from Democrats. Additionally, there will be an open U.S. Senate seat which could be competitive. The race for Governor though appears to be a far lower profile event.

For one thing, New Hampshire remains one of just two states to elect a Governor every two years. While Republicans once dominated those contests, Democrats have won most of them recently, and incumbent John Lynch is running this year for his fourth two year term in office. The primary is next Tuesday and Lynch, who maintains higher than average approval ratings, should have no trouble advancing.

The Republican side of the equation is a bit more uncertain. Four candidates will be on the ballot. They include Frank Emiro, one of the state's massive number of State Representatives, businessman Jack Kimball, and conservative activist Karen Testerman. The most formidable of the GOP candidates though is John Stephen, a former State Health and Human Services Commissioner who made a couple of unsuccessful bids for the Republican nomination in one of the Congressional districts. The man who defeated Stephen in both of those races is involved in his Gubernatorial campaign. Based on his resume, the candidate may not seem to be an overwhelming political force, but he does seem to have the most general election potential an in uphill race and polls the strongest against Lynch.

One interesting aspect to New Hampshire politics is that national waves can hit the state hard. That was the case in 2006, as Democrats made massive gains statewide, and picked up scores of seats in it's House of Representatives. Many expect Republicans to make similar gains in all of those legislative districts this year, regardless of the outcome of the Gubernatorial race. Presently, Lynch is ahead of Stephen by about 11 points with the incumbent just about at the 50 percent mark. The other GOP candidates run about ten points further behind in support at this point, as compared to Stephen.

Lynch is clearly the favorite to be reelected this year, but with a national wave likely in favor of Republicans and the GOP also favored to do well in the state's other races, this still has the potential to be one of the ultimate political sleeper races this cycle. Winning the primary next Tuesday though would obviously be a necessary first step for the one Republican who might be able to stay in the game.

Stephen campaign link:


2010 Governor races predicted thus far: 6 D, 16 R
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 13 D, 22 R