United States gubernatorial elections, 2012

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United States gubernatorial elections, 2012
United States
2011 ←
June 5 and November 6, 2012
→ 2013

12 governorships
(including a recall election in Wisconsin)
  Majority party Minority party
  Bob McDonnell by Gage Skidmore.jpg Martin omalley 2008.jpg
Leader Bob McDonnell Martin O'Malley
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Virginia Maryland
Last election 29 governorships 20 governorships
Seats before 29 20
Seats after 30 19
Seat change Increase1 Decrease1
Popular vote 8,305,687 [1] 7,992,567
Percentage 49.7% 47.9%

2012 Gubernatorial election map.svg

  Democratic hold
  Republican pickups
  Republican hold
  Recall Against Republican (Republican Hold)

The United States gubernatorial elections of 2012 were held in eleven states and two territories concurrent with other elections during the United States General election of 2012. In addition, a recall election for Wisconsin was held on June 5. Of the eight Democratic and four Republican seats contested, only that of North Carolina changed party hands, giving the Republicans a net gain of one governorship.


The position of Lieutenant Governor, unless otherwise stated, is elected on the same ticket as the gubernatorial nominee.

Source Safe Democratic Likely Democratic Leans Democratic Tossup Leans Republican Likely Republican Safe Republican
Consensus among
all predictions
North Dakota
The Cook
Political Report

as of August 17, 2012
West Virginia
New Hampshire
North Carolina Indiana
as of November 1, 2012
Missouri West Virginia Montana
North Carolina Indiana
West Virginia Missouri
New Hampshire
North Carolina
The Rothenberg Political Report
as of November 2, 2012
Missouri West Virginia Montana
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Larry Sabato's
Crystal Ball
as of November 5, 2012
Missouri New Hampshire
West Virginia
Montana Indiana
North Carolina

Retiring and term-limited Democratic incumbents[edit]

Togiola Tulafono (American Samoa)[edit]

Governor Togiola Tulafono, who has served as Governor since 2003, is ineligible to run for re-election due to term-limits.

Six candidates are vying to succeed outgoing Governor Tulafono - former President of American Samoa Community College, Salu Hunkin-Finau; businessman Timothy Jones; former Attorney General Afoa Moega Lutu; former President of the Development Bank of American Samoa, Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga; Lieutenant Governor Faoa Aitofele Sunia; and former High Court of American Samoa justice Save Liuato Tuitele.[2][3][4]

Brian Schweitzer (Montana)[edit]

Governor Brian Schweitzer was term-limited in 2012.

The declared Democratic primary candidates were state Senator Larry Jent[5] and state Attorney General Steve Bullock.[6]

The declared Republican primary candidates included Chouteau County commissioner Jim O'Hara,[7] former state Senators Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller, terrorism and national security analyst Neil Livingstone,[8] former Congressman Rick Hill,[9] and Truck driver Keith Winkler.[10]

Steve Bullock and Rick Hill won their respective primaries. Bullock defeated Hill and Libertarian Ron Vandevender in the general election.[11]

John Lynch (New Hampshire)[edit]

Governor John Lynch will retire rather than run for re-election.[12]

Maggie Hassan, former Majority Leader of the New Hampshire State Senate, defeated former state senator Jackie Cilley and firefighter Bill Kennedy to become the Democratic nominee. Former Chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Education Ovide Lamontagne, who narrowly lost the Republican primary for Senate in 2010, defeated conservative activist and former state representative Kevin Smith and Bill Tarr to win the Republican nomination.[13][14] They will face Libertarian candidate John Babiarz in the general election.[15]

New Hampshire does not have a position of Lieutenant Governor.

Beverly Perdue (North Carolina)[edit]

Governor Beverly Perdue will retire rather than run for re-election.[16]

Potential Democratic candidates included Lt. Gov. Walter H. Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison.[17]

Potential Republican candidates included former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory (the 2008 Republican nominee for Governor);[18] Nido Qubein, President of High Point University;[19] Tom Fetzer, former Mayor of Raleigh; and former state Senator Fred Smith.[20]

Dalton and McCrory won their respective primaries, and will face Libertarian Barbara Howe in the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina will be elected separately.[citation needed]

Christine Gregoire (Washington)[edit]

Governor Christine Gregoire will retire rather than run for re-election.[21]

U.S. Representative Jay Inslee is the only declared Democratic candidate.[22] Other potential Democratic candidates including state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, King County Executive Dow Constantine, state Treasurer Jim McIntire, Auditor General Brian Sonntag, and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon have declined to run, or endorsed Inslee.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Pastor Shahram Hadian, are the announced Republicans in the race. Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant is considered a potential Republican candidate.[29][30] U.S. Representative Dave Reichert decided against a bid, and threw his support to McKenna.[31]

The Lieutenant Governor will be elected separately.

Term-limited Republican incumbent[edit]

Mitch Daniels (Indiana)[edit]

Governor Mitch Daniels was term-limited in 2012.

Mike Pence, a six-term Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced his candidacy for his party's nomination. Pence, whose announcement was anticipated by his resignation of a leading position in the GOP caucus in the House, was regarded as the favorite for election.[32] Indianapolis businessman and former Hamilton County Councilman Jim Wallace had announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination prior to Pence's entrance but failed to collect enough signatures to become an official candidate by the deadline in February 2012.[33][34][35]

Former state House Speaker John R. Gregg was unopposed for the Democratic Party's nomination.[36]

Former Survivor contestant and founder of the Rupert's Kids charity Rupert Boneham ran as the Libertarian Party candidate.[37]

Pence narrowly defeated Gregg with 49.9% of the vote to Gregg's 46.56%. Boneham received 3.95% of the vote.[38]

Democratic incumbents running for re-election[edit]

Jack Markell (Delaware)[edit]

Governor Jack Markell is running for re-election. His Republican challenger will be Jeff Cragg.[39]

The Lieutenant Governor will be elected separately.

Jay Nixon (Missouri)[edit]

Governor Jay Nixon will be eligible to run for re-election, and will do so.[40]

Dave Spence, a businessman from St. Louis, won the Republican nomination over attorney Bill Randles in the August 7, 2012 primary.[41]

Jim Higgins is the Libertarian candidate.

The Lieutenant Governor is elected separately.

Peter Shumlin (Vermont)[edit]

Governor Peter Shumlin, the victor of the Vermont gubernatorial election of 2010, is running for re-election in 2012.[42] His Republican challenger will be state Senator Randy Brock.[43]

The Lieutenant Governor will be elected separately.

Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia)[edit]

see also: West Virginia gubernatorial special election, 2011

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled on January 18, 2011 that the state must hold a special gubernatorial election in 2011[44] to fill the vacancy resulting from Joe Manchin's election to the United States Senate. The special election occurred October 4, 2011 with state Senate President and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin winning the election. Tomblin will be eligible to run for a full term in 2012 and has indicated he will do so. Mike Stuart, the chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party has announced he is not running for Governor.[45]

Tomblin's 2011 Republican opponent, businessman Bill Maloney, has filed paperwork for a rematch.[46]

David Moran is the Libertarian candidate.

The Lieutenant Governor will be elected by the State Senate.

Republican incumbents running for re-election[edit]

Jack Dalrymple (North Dakota)[edit]

Governor Jack Dalrymple succeeded John Hoeven after the latter was elected Senator and will run for a full term in 2012.[47] Drew Wrigley will be his running mate. Dalrymple defeated architect Paul Sorum for the nomination.

State Senate Minority leader Ryan Taylor is the Democratic nominee. Ellen Chaffee will be his running mate.[48]

Luis Fortuño (Puerto Rico)[edit]

Governor Luis Fortuño (PNP/R) will be eligible to run for re-election, and will do so.

Fortuño had been mentioned as a long-shot potential Republican nominee for President or Vice President in 2012.[49] However, he announced on June 26, 2011 that he would run for re-election instead of seeking the Presidency.

Senator Alejandro García Padilla (PPD) is of six challengers.

Puerto Rico does not have a position of Lieutenant Governor.

Gary Herbert (Utah)[edit]

Governor Gary Herbert, who won the 2010 gubernatorial special election to finish his predecessor's unfinished term, will run for a full four-year term in 2012.[50]

He is opposed by Democrat Peter Cooke, a businessman and retired major general. The Libertarian candidate is medical researcher Ken Larson, and the Constitution party candidate is Kirk D. Pearson.

Republican incumbent facing recall election[edit]

Scott Walker (Wisconsin)[edit]

Governor Scott Walker (R) survived a recall election on June 5. Walker's disapproval ratings varied between 50–51% while his approval ratings varied between 47–49% in 2011.[51] Walker led against challenger Tom Barrett (D) in polls since March, including two post-primary polls which showed Walker with a five to twelve point lead.[52][53] Walker defeated Barrett by seven percentage points[54] becoming the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/2012.php
  2. ^ "6 candidates vie to be American Samoa's governor". Associated Press (Real Clear Politics). 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  3. ^ "Territorial elections will be the main event of 2012". Talanei. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  4. ^ "American Samoa’s Lt Governor vies top job in next year’s election". Radio New Zealand International. 2011-10-22. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (June 12, 2011). "Bohlinger, Essmann eye governor's race". Billings Gazette. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ Catanese, David (September 7, 2011). "Bullock joins Montana governor's race". Politico. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ Keegan, Charlie (January 14, 2011). "Jim O'Hara Announces Candidacy for Governor". KFBB-TV. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Candidates for governor already begin to surface". http://www.billingsnews.com/. November 5, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Former GOP U.S. Rep. Rick Hill to run for Montana governor". Missoulian. November 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ Politics1 - Online Guide to Montana Elections, Candidates & Politics
  11. ^ Sullivan, Sean (November 7, 2012). "Democrat Steve Bullock wins Montana governor’s race". The Washington Post. 
  12. ^ Love, Norma. "New Hampshire Gov. Lynch won't seek 5th term". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ "2012 Election Information". New Hampshire Secretary of State. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Lamontagne, Hassan will face off in governor's race". Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ Schinella, Tony (June 12, 2012). "VIDEO: Babiarz Running for Governor". Amherst, NH Patch. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ Bev Perdue will not seek reelection - David Catanese - POLITICO.com
  17. ^ Gov. Bev Perdue will not run for re-election - Politics - NewsObserver.com
  18. ^ News & Observer: Perdue vs. McCrory II?
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ Our Campaigns - NC Governor - R Primary Race - May 08, 2012
  21. ^ Garber, Andrew (June 13, 2011). "2 terms and out for Gov. Chris Gregoire". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  22. ^ Brunner, Jim (June 23, 2011). "Inslee to jump into governor's race next week". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  23. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/2011/06/28/1704768/lisa-brown-endorses-inslee-for.html
  24. ^ Inslee Running for Gov; Constantine Cheers Him on Facebook | PubliCola
  25. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/2011/06/12/1684212/2012-races-take-shape.html
  26. ^ Haglund, Noah (July 17, 2011). "Race for Snohomish County executive is a battle between two moderates". The Herald (Everett). Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  27. ^ Garber, Andrew (July 5, 2011). "Brian Sonntag will not run for governor". The Seattle Times. 
  28. ^ State auditor Brian Sonntag makes decision on governor’s race | KING5.com Seattle
  29. ^ D.C.'s Political Report: Washington Congressional and Statewide Races. Dcpoliticalreport.com (2010-11-15). Retrieved on November 20, 2010.
  30. ^ Politics1 - Online Guide to Washington State Elections, Candidates & Politics
  31. ^ Connelly, Joel (June 8, 2011). "Reichert: I'll support McKenna for governor". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  32. ^ Muskal, Michael (May 5, 2011). "Mike Pence to run for Indiana governor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  33. ^ Schneider, Mary Beth (April 16, 2012). "Pence leads rivals in fundraising for governor's race". Indianapolis Star. 
  34. ^ Geraghty, Jim (February 2, 2011). "The Campaign Spot". National Review. 
  35. ^ Schneider, Mary Beth (February 2, 2011). "Businessman Exploring Run For GOP Gubernatorial Nomination". The Indianapolis Star. 
  36. ^ Politics1 - Online Guide to Indiana Elections, Candidates & Politics
  37. ^ Matthew Tully | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
  38. ^ "Election Results". in.gov/apps/sos. November 28, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  39. ^ Goble, Keith (August 22, 2012). "Election 2012: Know your Delaware governor". Land Line. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  40. ^ Gov. Nixon confirms he will seek re-election - Columbia Missourian
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ "Shumlin Announces His Re-election Bid". Vermont Public Radio. June 12, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  43. ^ Gram, Dave (September 6, 2012). "Vt. election panel certifies new vote tally". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  44. ^ Court Orders West Virginia Special Election This Year - Hotline On Call
  45. ^ Rivard, Ry (October 25, 2011). "GOP Chairman: Not running for public office in ’12". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  46. ^ Maloney files for Round 2 - David Catanese - POLITICO.com
  47. ^ Dalrymple to Seek Re-election in 2012 on KFYR-TV North Dakota's NBC News Leader
  48. ^ http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=55802
  49. ^ Romano, Andrew (November 26, 2009). "The Governor of Puerto Rico ... for President?". Newsweek. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  50. ^ Utah Gov. Gary Herbert officially announces re-election bid | Deseret News
  51. ^ Marley, Patrick (September 20, 2011). "New poll reflects divide on bargaining limits". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  52. ^ Post-primary poll: Walker leads Barrett by 5 points
  53. ^ Turnout | weaskamerica.com
  54. ^ http://www.c-span.org/Events/Gov-Walker-Survives-Recall-Election-Defeats-Milwaukee-Mayor-Tom-Barrett/10737431254-1/