Thursday, October 07, 2010

Utah Governor Race

Race of the Day

Utah Governor

October 7, 2010
26 Days Until Election Day

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

Outlook: Safe Republican

This year's Gubernatorial contest in Utah was an unscheduled event, brought about as a result of a political decision by President Obama, but considering the Republican Party's dominance of the state's politics, it probably ought to feel like somewhat of a waste of an effort on the part of Democrats.

In 2008, Republican Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., was easily elected to a second term. He had been the subject of talk as a Republican rising star and perhaps future Presidential candidate. Not long after taking the oath of office for a second time, Obama nominated Huntsman to be the U.S. Ambassador to China. Some speculated that the President was interested in removing a potential 2012 threat, though to others, it seemed pretty unlikely that Huntsman, if interested, could have mounted a financially or politically viable campaign for the GOP nomination, as long as fellow Mormon Mitt Romney was interested in another try himself.

With Huntsman headed to Beijing, his Lt. Governor Gary Herbert took the top spot in Salt Lake City. American Idol junkies may know that Herbert's daughter in law is singer Carmen Rasmusen (not to be confused with Rasmussen Reports) from Season Two. Under Utah state law, he was required to stand before the state at the next general election in order to fill the remaining two years of Huntsman's term. He would have to run again for Governor in the regularly scheduled election of 2012. This year though, he was easily renominated at the State Republican Convention. One of his state's U.S. Senators was not as lucky.

Opposing Herbert next month is Peter Corroon, the Mayor of Salt Lake County, the only area in the state where Democrats are politically viable. While he seems to be a credible candidate, the most GOP friendly of any state is not about to elect him Governor, even as he runs with a female Republican State Representative as his Lt. Governor partner on the Democrat ticket. One family connection Corroon may not talk about much is that he is apparently a first cousin of noted left-winger Howard Dean.

Herbert may not have the personal wealth or perhaps political charisma of his GOP predecessor, who has since joined the Obama Administration, but he has very strong approval ratings and is headed for an easy win.

Herbert campaign link:

2010 Governor races predicted thus far: 7 D, 26 R, 1 I
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 14 D, 32 R, 1 I