2006 United States gubernatorial elections

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2006 United States gubernatorial elections

← 2005 November 7, 2006 2007 →

38 governorships
36 states; 2 territories
  Majority party Minority party
 
Party Democratic Republican
Seats before 22 28
Seats after 28 22
Seat change Increase6 Decrease6
Seats up 14 22
Seats won 20 16

2006 Alabama gubernatorial election2006 Alaska gubernatorial election2006 Arizona gubernatorial election2006 Arkansas gubernatorial election2006 California gubernatorial election2006 Colorado gubernatorial election2006 Connecticut gubernatorial election2006 Florida gubernatorial election2006 Georgia gubernatorial election2006 Hawaii gubernatorial election2006 Idaho gubernatorial election2006 Illinois gubernatorial election2006 Iowa gubernatorial election2006 Kansas gubernatorial election2006 Maine gubernatorial election2006 Maryland gubernatorial election2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial election2006 Michigan gubernatorial election2006 Minnesota gubernatorial election2006 Nebraska gubernatorial election2006 Nevada gubernatorial election2006 New Hampshire gubernatorial election2006 New Mexico gubernatorial election2006 New York gubernatorial election2006 Ohio gubernatorial election2006 Oklahoma gubernatorial election2006 Oregon gubernatorial election2006 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election2006 Rhode Island gubernatorial election2006 South Carolina gubernatorial election2006 South Dakota gubernatorial election2006 Tennessee gubernatorial election2006 Texas gubernatorial election2006 Vermont gubernatorial election2006 Wisconsin gubernatorial election2006 Wyoming gubernatorial election2006 Guam gubernatorial election2006 United States Virgin Islands gubernatorial election2006 United States gubernatorial elections results map.svg
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Map of the results
     Republican hold
     Democratic hold      Democratic gain
     No election

United States gubernatorial elections were held on November 7, 2006, in 36 states and two territories. The elections coincided with the midterm elections of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

Democrats won open Republican-held governorships in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio; and they defeated Republican incumbent Bob Ehrlich in Maryland while retaining all of their seats, including their lone open seat in Iowa. Meanwhile, Republicans held open seats in Florida, Idaho, and Nevada, as well as Alaska, where incumbent governor Frank Murkowski was defeated in the primary. Voters in the United States territories of Guam (then-Republican) and the United States Virgin Islands (then-Democratic, but term-limited) also chose their governors and voters elected a new mayor for the District of Columbia, the District's chief executive.

As part of the 2006 Democratic sweep, Democrats did not lose a single incumbent or open seat to the Republicans in any congressional or gubernatorial contest.

As of 2022, this election marked the last time that the Democratic Party won gubernatorial elections in Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, or Wyoming. This was also the most recent cycle in which the Republican Party won governorships in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Rhode Island.

Major parties[edit]

Governor John Lynch campaign in New Hampshire

The results of the 2006 elections gave Republicans 22 governors to the Democrats' 28, a reversal of the numbers held by the respective parties prior to the elections. There were 22 races in states that were previously held by Republicans, and 14 in states previously held by Democrats. Republicans held the majority of governorships from 1995 until 2007.

Election ratings[edit]

State Incumbent Last
race
Sabato
November 6,
2006
[1]
Rothenberg
November 2,
2006
[2]
Cook
November 6,
2006
[3]
RCP
November 6,
2006
[4]
Result
Alabama Bob Riley 49.2% R Likely R Safe R Safe R Safe R Riley
(57.5%)
Alaska Frank Murkowski 55.9% R Leans R Leans R Tossup Leans R Palin
(48.3%)
Arizona Janet Napolitano 46.2% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Safe D Napolitano
(62.6%)
Arkansas Mike Huckabee
(Term-limited)
53.0% R Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Leans D (flip) Leans D (flip) Beebe
(55.6%)
California Arnold Schwarzenegger 48.6% R Likely R Safe R Leans R Likely R Schwarzenegger
(55.9%)
Colorado Bill Owens
(Term-limited)
62.6% R Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Ritter
(57.0%)
Connecticut Jodi Rell 56.1% R Safe R Safe R Safe R Safe R Rell
(63.2%)
Florida Jeb Bush
(Term-limited)
56.0% R Leans R Likely R Leans R Leans R Crist
(52.2%)
Georgia Sonny Perdue 51.4% R Likely R Safe R Leans R Likely R Perdue
(58.0%)
Hawaii Linda Lingle 51.6% R Safe R Safe R Safe R Safe R Lingle
(62.5%)
Idaho Jim Risch
(Retired)
56.3% R Tossup Leans R Tossup Tossup Otter
(52.7%)
Illinois Rod Blagojevich 52.2% D Leans D Likely D Leans D Leans D Blagojevich
(49.8%)
Iowa Tom Vilsack
(Retired)
52.7% D Leans D Leans D Tossup Leans D Culver
(54.0%)
Kansas Kathleen Sebelius 52.9% D Likely D Safe D Safe D Likely D Sebelius
(57.9%)
Maine John Baldacci 47.1% D Leans D Likely D Leans D Leans D Baldacci
(38.1%)
Maryland Bob Ehrlich 51.5% R Leans D (flip) Leans D (flip) Tossup Tossup O'Malley
(52.7%)
Massachusetts Mitt Romney
(Retired)
49.8% R Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Leans D (flip) Likely D (flip) Patrick
(55.6%)
Michigan Jennifer Granholm 51.4% D Leans D Likely D Tossup Leans D Granholm
(56.4%)
Minnesota Tim Pawlenty 44.4% R Tossup Tossup Tossup Tossup Pawlenty
(46.7%)
Nebraska Dave Heineman 68.7% R Safe R Safe R Safe R Safe R Heineman
(73.4%)
Nevada Kenny Guinn
(Term-limited)
68.2% R Leans R Tossup Tossup Leans R Gibbons
(47.9%)
New Hampshire John Lynch 50.4% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Safe D Lynch
(74.0%)
New Mexico Bill Richardson 55.5% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Safe D Richardson
(68.8%)
New York George Pataki
(Retired)
49.4% R Safe D (flip) Likely D (flip) Safe D (flip) Safe D (flip) Spitzer
(65.7%)
Ohio Bob Taft
(Term-limited)
57.8% R Likely D (flip) Likely D (flip) Safe D (flip) Likely D (flip) Strickland
(60.5%)
Oklahoma Brad Henry 43.3% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Safe D Henry
(66.5%)
Oregon Ted Kulongoski 49.0% D Tossup Leans D Tossup Leans D Kulongoski
(50.7%)
Pennsylvania Ed Rendell 53.4% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Likely D Rendell
(60.3%)
Rhode Island Donald Carcieri 54.8% R Leans R Leans R Tossup Likely R Carcieri
(51.0%)
South Carolina Mark Sanford 52.9% R Likely R Safe R Likely R Safe R Sanford
(55.1%)
South Dakota Mike Rounds 56.8% R Safe R Safe R Safe R Safe R Rounds
(61.7%)
Tennessee Phil Bredesen 50.6% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Likely D Bredesen
(68.6%)
Texas Rick Perry 57.8% R Safe R Likely R Likely R Likely R Perry
(39.0%)
Vermont Jim Douglas 58.7% R Safe R Safe R Likely R Safe R Douglas
(56.3%)
Wisconsin Jim Doyle 45.1% D Leans D Tossup Tossup Leans D Doyle
(52.8%)
Wyoming Dave Freudenthal 50.0% D Safe D Safe D Safe D Safe D Freudenthal
(70.0%)

Race summary[edit]

States[edit]

State Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Alabama Bob Riley Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Alaska Frank Murkowski Republican 2002 Incumbent lost renomination.
New governor elected.
Republican hold.
Arizona Janet Napolitano Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Arkansas Mike Huckabee Republican 1996[a] Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
California Arnold Schwarzenegger Republican 2003 (recall) Incumbent re-elected.
Colorado Bill Owens Republican 1998 Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
Connecticut Jodi Rell Republican 2004[b] Incumbent elected to full term.
Florida Jeb Bush Republican 1998 Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Republican hold.
Georgia Sonny Perdue Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Hawaii Linda Lingle Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Idaho Jim Risch Republican 2006[c] Incumbent retired.
New governor elected.
Republican hold.
Illinois Rod Blagojevich Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Iowa Tom Vilsack Democratic 1998 Incumbent retired.
New governor elected.
Democratic hold.
Kansas Kathleen Sebelius Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Maine John Baldacci Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Maryland Bob Ehrlich Republican 2002 Incumbent lost re-election.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
Massachusetts Mitt Romney Republican 2002 Incumbent retired.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
Michigan Jennifer Granholm Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Minnesota Tim Pawlenty Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Nebraska Dave Heineman Republican 2005[d] Incumbent elected to full term.
Nevada Kenny Guinn Republican 1998 Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Republican hold.
New Hampshire John Lynch Democratic 2004 Incumbent re-elected.
New Mexico Bill Richardson Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
New York George Pataki Republican 1994 Incumbent retired.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
Ohio Bob Taft Republican 1998 Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Democratic gain.
Oklahoma Brad Henry Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Oregon Ted Kulongoski Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Green tickY Ted Kulongoski (Democratic) 50.7%
  • Ron Saxton (Republican) 42.7%
  • Mary Starrett (Constitution) 3.6%
  • Joe Keating (Green) 1.5%
  • Richard Morley (Libertarian) 1.2%
Pennsylvania Ed Rendell Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Rhode Island Donald Carcieri Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
South Carolina Mark Sanford Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
South Dakota Mike Rounds Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Tennessee Phil Bredesen Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Texas Rick Perry Republican 2000[e] Incumbent re-elected.
Vermont Jim Douglas Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Wisconsin Jim Doyle Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
Wyoming Dave Freudenthal Democratic 2002 Incumbent re-elected.

Territories and federal district[edit]

Territory Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
District of Columbia Anthony A. Williams Democratic 1998 Incumbent retired.
New mayor elected.
Democratic hold.
  • Green tickY Adrian Fenty (Democratic) 89.7%
  • David Kranich (Republican) 6.1%
  • Chris Otten (Statehood Green) 4.1%
Guam Felix Camacho Republican 2002 Incumbent re-elected.
U.S. Virgin Islands Charles Turnbull Democratic 1998 Incumbent term-limited.
New governor elected.
Democratic hold.

Closest races[edit]

States where the margin of victory was under 5%:

  1. Minnesota, 1.0%
  2. Rhode Island, 2.0%
  3. Guam, 2.3%
  4. Nevada, 4.0%

States where the margin of victory was under 10%:

  1. Maryland, 6.5%
  2. Florida, 7.1%
  3. Alaska, 7.4%
  4. Wisconsin, 7.5%
  5. Maine, 7.7%
  6. Oregon, 8.1%
  7. Idaho, 8.6%
  8. Texas, 9.2%
  9. Iowa, 9.4%

Red denotes states won by Republicans. Blue denotes states won by Democrats.

Alabama[edit]

Alabama election[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Riley (incumbent) 718,327 57.45
Democratic Lucy Baxley 519,827 41.57
Write-in 12,247 0.98
Total votes 1,250,401 100.00
Republican hold

Alaska[edit]

Governor Frank Murkowski, suffering poor approval ratings, was not favored to win renomination. An August 8 poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that going into the primary election his approval rating was at 27%, while his disapproval rating stood at 72%. Former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and former state Railroad Commissioner John Binkley challenged Murkowski in the Republican primary. Former governor Tony Knowles was widely considered the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. In the primary held on August 22, Palin won the Republican nomination for governor with 51.1% of the vote, Binkley received 29.6%, and Murkowski received just 18.9% of the vote.[6] Knowles won the Democratic nomination with 68.6% of the vote; state representative Eric Croft, who received 23.1% of the vote, was his nearest competitor.[6]

Palin campaigned on a clean government platform in a state with a history of corruption. An October 15 CRG Research poll had the candidates tied at 43%.[7] An October 28 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Palin leading Knowles by a single percentage point.[7]

Republican nominee Sarah Palin was elected with about 48% of the vote, a plurality.

Alaska election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sarah Palin 114,697 48.33
Democratic Tony Knowles 97,238 40.97
Independent Andrew Halcro 22,443 9.46
Independence Don Wright 1,285 0.54
Libertarian Billy Toien 682 0.29
Green David Massie 593 0.25
Write-in 384 0.16
Total votes 238,307 100.00
Republican hold

Arizona[edit]

Arizona election[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Janet Napolitano (incumbent) 959,830 62.58
Republican Len Munsil 543,528 35.44
Libertarian Barry Hess 30,268 1.97
Write-in 19 0.00
Total votes 1,533,645 100.00
Democratic hold

Arkansas[edit]

Governor Mike Huckabee was term-limited. The Republican Party nominated Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman, U.S. Attorney, DEA head, and Undersecretary of Homeland Security. The Democratic nominee was Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe. Beebe's campaign centered on what his campaign called his "Believe in Arkansas Plan", which outlined his plans for improving access to affordable healthcare, improving education, and stimulating economic development and job growth. Beebe led in most statewide polls, although his margin of victory in those polls varied wildly. Just days before the election, a Rasmussen Reports poll showed Beebe winning by just 8%,[9] while a SurveyUSA poll showed him winning by 20%.[10]

Democratic nominee Mike Beebe was elected with about 55% of the vote.

Arkansas election[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Beebe 430,765 55.61
Republican Asa Hutchinson 315,040 40.67
Independent Rod Bryan 15,767 2.04
Green Jim Lendall 12,774 1.65
Write-in 334 0.04
Total votes 774,680 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

California[edit]

Arnold Schwarzenegger won the 2003 recall election and replaced Gray Davis. Despite his failed special election and budget cuts, Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to be ahead in the polls against Phil Angelides. Schwarzenegger's aggressive push for environment-friendly legislation, his support for stem cell research, gay rights and opposition to sending the National Guard to the border has made him very popular among the voters. Republican incumbent Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected.

California election[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger (incumbent) 4,850,157 55.88
Democratic Phil Angelides 3,376,732 38.91
Green Peter Camejo 205,995 2.37
Libertarian Art Olivier 114,329 1.32
Peace and Freedom Janice Jordan 69,934 0.81
American Independent Edward C. Noonan 61,901 0.71
Write-in 375 0.00
Total votes 8,679,423 100.00
Republican hold

Colorado[edit]

The retirement of term-limited Governor Bill Owens revealed divisions among the state's Republicans. Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez, widely regarded as a conservative, was attacked by his primary opponent, former University of Denver President Marc Holtzman for compromising with Democrats in Congress. Beauprez became the nominee when Holtzman failed to submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, but the negative attacks they exchanged damaged Beauprez's campaign. The Democratic nominee was former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, an anti-abortion Catholic and a political centrist who could not easily be portrayed as a liberal. Ritter did, however, support Referendum I and oppose Amendment 43; conversely, the public defeated the former and passed the latter. Ritter's campaign was boosted when he was endorsed by a group of Larimer County Republicans. During the period of January through August, Ritter raised almost twice as much as Beauprez.[13] According to an October 16 Zogby poll, Ritter led Beauprez 47% to 45%.[14] An October 22 SurveyUSA poll showed Ritter leading Beauprez by a larger margin, 56% to 38%.[15] Similarly, an October 22 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Ritter leading Beauprez, 51% to 39%.[16]

Democratic nominee Bill Ritter was elected with 57% of the vote.

Colorado election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Ritter 888,095 56.99
Republican Bob Beauprez 625,886 40.16
Libertarian Dawn Winkler 23,323 1.50
Independent Paul Fiorino 10,996 0.71
Constitution Clyde Harkins 9,716 0.62
Write-in 389 0.02
Total votes 1,558,405 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

Connecticut[edit]

Connecticut election[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jodi Rell (incumbent) 710,048 63.22
Democratic John DeStefano Jr. 398,220 35.45
Green Cliff Thornton 9,584 0.85
Concerned Citizens Joseph A. Zdonczyk 5,560 0.49
Write-in 54 0.00
Total votes 1,123,212 100.00
Republican hold

Florida[edit]

Governor Jeb Bush was term-limited. Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, a moderate, won the Republican primary with 64%, defeating the Chief Financial Officer of Florida, Tom Gallagher, who received only 34%. Congressman Jim Davis of Tampa won the Democratic primary with 47% of the vote, defeating State Senator Rod Smith of Alachua, who received 41% of the vote. In addition to Crist and Davis, Reform Party nominee Max Linn also appeared on the ballot in the general election.

Crist came out of the September 12 primary with momentum, but as the election drew closer, polls began to show a more competitive race. An October 23 Quinnipiac poll October 23 showed Crist's lead down to 2%.[18] However, an October 26 Rasmussen Reports poll had Crist leading Davis 52% to 41%.[19]

Republican nominee Charlie Crist was elected with 52% of the vote.

Florida election[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Charlie Crist 2,519,845 52.20
Democratic Jim Davis 2,178,289 45.10
Reform Max Linn 92,595 1.90
Independent John Wayne Smith 15,987 0.30
Independent Richard Paul Dembinsky 11,921 0.20
Independent Karl C.C. Behm 10,487 0.20
Write-in 147 0.00
Total votes 4,829,271 100.00
Republican hold

Georgia[edit]

Georgia election[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sonny Perdue (incumbent) 1,229,724 57.95
Democratic Mark Taylor 811,049 38.22
Libertarian Gary Hayes 81,412 3.84
Total votes 2,122,185 100.00
Republican hold

Hawaii[edit]

Hawaii election[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Linda Lingle (incumbent) 215,313 62.53
Democratic Randy Iwase 121,717 35.35
Green James Brewer Jr. 5,435 1.58
Libertarian Ozell Daniel 1,850 0.54
Total votes 344,315 100.00
Republican hold

Idaho[edit]

Governor Jim Risch was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2002; in May 2006, he succeeded to the governorship when his predecessor, Dirk Kempthorne, resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior. Before Kempthorne's appointment, Risch, a former Ada County District Attorney and state Senator, had committed to a reelection campaign for Lieutenant Governor, which meant the campaign for the governorship remained open.

Republican Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter, a former lieutenant governor himself, was heavily favored to succeed Risch. On May 23 he easily won a four-way Republican primary, receiving 70% of the vote. In the general election, he faced newspaper publisher Jerry Brady, who was the Democratic nominee for the second consecutive gubernatorial election. Although Brady won the state's most populous county (Ada County, the location of Boise) in 2002, he was decisively defeated by Kempthorne statewide. He was expected to fare similarly against Otter; however, the race became fairly competitive, possibly due to a national trend towards the Democratic party.

Republican nominee Butch Otter was elected with 53% of the vote. Brady received 44%, making this gubernatorial election the closest in Idaho since 1994.

Idaho election[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Butch Otter 237,437 52.67
Democratic Jerry Brady 198,845 44.11
Constitution Marvin Richardson 7,309 1.62
Libertarian Ted Dunlap 7,241 1.61
Total votes 450,832 100.00
Republican hold

Illinois[edit]

Incumbent Rod Blagojevich proven to be an incredible fundraiser, and governed a relatively strong blue state. But recent opinion polling showed that his approval rating at a rather dismal 44%.[24] Blagojevich initially had the advantage in the general election, leading his Republican challenger, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka by eight percentage points in polls, although not reaching the fifty percent "safe zone" for incumbents. In March, Topinka won the GOP primary by 38% to 32% over dairy magnate Jim Oberweis. Meanwhile, a former Chicago Alderman named Edwin Eisendrath won a surprising 30% in the Democratic primary. During the election United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was looking into the hiring practices of Governor Blagojevich.[25]

An October 15 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Blagojevich dropping 4 points, to end with 44% and Topinka staying at 36%.[26] An October 22 SurveyUSA poll had Blagojevich leading Topinka 44% to 34% with 8% undecided.[27] However, an October 31 Mason-Dixon poll showed Blagojevich leading Topinka only 44% to 40% with 9% undecided.

Democratic incumbent Rod Blagojevich was re-elected. Green Party candidate Rich Whitney showed one of the best showings of a third party candidate in the 2006 election. Whitney received 361,336 votes, or 10% of the ballot share. This made the Green party an official major party in the state of Illinois.

Illinois election[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Rod Blagojevich (incumbent) 1,736,731 49.79
Republican Judy Baar Topinka 1,369,315 39.26
Green Rich Whitney 361,336 10.36
Write-in 20,607 0.59
Total votes 3,487,989 100.00
Democratic hold

Iowa[edit]

Congressman Jim Nussle was the Republican nominee, while the Democratic Party nominated Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, a progressive whose father was a U.S. Senator. An October 11 poll by Rasmussen Reports showed the candidates tied at 42% each.[29] An October 19 Rasmussen Reports poll had Culver leading Nussle 47% to 44%.[30]

The Democratic nominee, Chet Culver, was elected with 54% of the vote.

Iowa election[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chet Culver 569,021 54.02
Republican Jim Nussle 467,425 44.38
Green Wendy Barth 7,850 0.75
Libertarian Kevin Litten 5,735 0.54
Socialist Workers Mary Martin 1,974 0.19
Write-in 1,250 0.12
Total votes 1,053,255 100.00
Democratic hold

Kansas[edit]

Kansas election[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Sebelius (incumbent) 491,993 57.90
Republican Jim Barnett 343,586 40.44
Libertarian Carl Kramer 8,896 1.05
Reform Richard Lee Ranzau 5,221 0.61
Write-in 4 0.00
Total votes 849,700 100.00
Democratic hold

Maine[edit]

In February 2006, Baldacci was given a mere 41% approval rating by the voters of Maine in one poll.[33] But when the GOP unexpectedly nominated conservative state Senator Chandler Woodcock over the more moderate state Senator Peter Mills and former Congressman Dave Emery, Baldacci was handed a huge boost.

Polls consistently showed Baldacci with a small lead. An October 17 Rasmussen Reports poll had Baldacci with 44% and Woodcock at 34%.[34] Meanwhile, a Voice of the Voter poll[permanent dead link] announced by WCSH on November 6, one day before the election, gave John Baldacci his smallest lead yet with only 36%, with Senator Chandler Woodcock 30% and the now leading independent Barbara Merrill 22%, more than doubling her share. Green Independent candidate Pat LaMarche polled at 11%.

Baldacci was reelected with 38% of the vote compared to Woodcock's 30%, with 21.55% going to independent Barbara Merrill.

Maine election[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Baldacci (incumbent) 209,927 38.11
Republican Chandler Woodcock 166,425 30.21
Independent Barbara Merrill 118,715 21.55
Green Pat LaMarche 52,690 9.56
Independent Phillip Morris Napier 3,108 0.56
Total votes 550,865 100.00
Democratic hold

Maryland[edit]

Bob Ehrlich's approval rating was 48%, which suggested a close election. Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore City, who was expected to run for governor almost as soon as the 2002 election was over, was initially expected to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, but he was challenged by Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, who then unexpectedly dropped out of the race, citing a recent diagnosis of clinical depression, saving Democrats from a costly and potentially divisive primary.

A November 2 SurveyUSA poll had O'Malley leading Ehrlich 48% to 47% with 2% undecided.[36] A November 3 Mason-Dixon poll has O'Malley and Ehrlich tied at 45% with 9% undecided.[37] Democratic nominee Martin O'Malley was elected.

When Ehrlich unexpectedly beat his Democratic challenger, Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy in 2002, and became first Republican Governor of Maryland since Spiro T. Agnew, he was regarded by many as potential presidential candidate for 2008.

O'Malley defeated Ehrlich in the general election, 53% to 46%.

Maryland election[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Martin O'Malley 942,279 52.69
Republican Bob Ehrlich (incumbent) 825,464 46.16
Green Ed Boyd 15,551 0.87
Populist Christopher Driscoll 3,481 0.19
Write-in 1,541 0.09
Total votes 1,788,316 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

Massachusetts[edit]

With his approval ratings down, Governor Mitt Romney opted not to seek a second term. Romney endorsed his lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, in her bid to succeed him. Healey was unopposed in the Republican primary. Deval Patrick, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General who headed the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, won the Democratic primary with 50% of the vote[39] against Thomas Reilly and Chris Gabrieli. Third party candidates included Grace Ross of the Green-Rainbow Party and independent Christy Mihos, a former Republican and board member on the state Turnpike Authority. Over the course of the campaign, Patrick was the victim of several smears by the Healey campaign, including reports of his brother-in-law's criminal history that were leaked to the press.

On November 7, Deval Patrick was elected with 56% of the vote. He became the first African American governor ever elected in the history of the state, and just the second in the nation's history (the first was Douglas Wilder, a Democrat from Virginia, who served as Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994). Patrick was also the first Democratic governor of Massachusetts since Michael Dukakis left office in 1991.

Massachusetts election[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Deval Patrick 1,234,984 55.64
Republican Kerry Healey 784,342 35.33
Independent Christy Mihos 154,628 6.97
Green-Rainbow Grace Ross 43,193 1.95
Write-in 2,632 0.12
Total votes 2,219,779 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

Michigan[edit]

Michigan, like many other Midwestern states, had been unable to take advantage of reported national economic and job growth. A string of plant and factory closings by big name companies such as General Motors in Granholm's state led to growing disapproval of her among voters. Opposing her was wealthy Republican businessman Dick DeVos. Throughout the race polls showed the election to be close, but in the last days Granholm pulled ahead. According to a November 1 EPIC-MRA poll, Granholm led DeVos 52% to 43% with 5% undecided. A November 4 SurveyUSA poll had Granholm leading DeVos 51% to 45%.[41] Ultimately, Democratic incumbent Jennifer Granholm was re-elected with 56 percent of the vote.

Michigan election[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jennifer Granholm (incumbent) 2,142,513 56.36
Republican Dick DeVos 1,608,086 42.30
Libertarian Greg Creswell 23,524 0.62
Green Douglas Campbell 20,009 0.53
Constitution Bhagwan Dashairya 7,087 0.19
Write-in 37 0.00
Total votes 3,801,256 100.00
Democratic hold

Minnesota[edit]

Pawlenty's approval rating was measured at 56%[33] on September 21, 2006. In 2002, Pawlenty won the governor's mansion with only 44% of the vote, facing a strong challenge from DFL Party candidate Roger Moe and Independence Party candidate Tim Penny, a former DFLer himself. Pawlenty has been criticized by some Minnesotans for budget cuts to programs such as MinnesotaCare to balance the budget (and controversial moves such as deferring required payments to the state's education and health care funds to later budget biennia to make the budget appear balanced when it was actually not). Pawlenty faces another strong DFL challenge this year in state Attorney General Mike Hatch, who fended off a liberal primary challenge from State Senator Becky Lourey. Pawlenty and Hatch were virtually neck and neck, with between 40-45% support for both candidates as recently as September, until the Mark Foley scandal hit the papers late that month, and 5-6% for Independence Party candidate Peter Hutchinson.

An October 23 SurveyUSA poll has Hatch leading Pawlenty 45% to 44% and Hutchinson with 7% . A November 1 Saint Cloud Times poll has Hatch at 46% and Pawlenty at 36%.[43] Republican incumbent Tim Pawlenty was re-elected.

Minnesota election[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tim Pawlenty (incumbent) 1,028,568 46.69
Democratic (DFL) Mike Hatch 1,007,460 45.73
Independence Peter Hutchinson 141,735 6.43
Green Ken Pentel 10,800 0.49
Independent Walt E. Brown 9,649 0.44
American Leslie Davis 3,776 0.17
Write-in 949 0.04
Total votes 2,202,937 100.00
Republican hold

Nebraska[edit]

Nebraska election[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dave Heineman (incumbent) 435,507 73.40
Democratic David Hahn 145,115 24.46
Nebraska Barry Richards 8,953 1.51
Independent Mort Sullivan 3,782 0.64
Total votes 593,357 100.00
Republican hold

Nevada[edit]

Governor Kenny Guinn, a moderate Republican, was term-limited. His retirement resulted in competitive primaries in both parties. The Democratic nominee was State Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, who won the primary with 54% of the vote over Henderson mayor Jim Gibson. The Republican nominee was Congressman Jim Gibbons, who won the primary with 48% of the vote, defeating state senator Bob Beers and Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt. Gibbons, who then represented Nevada's 2nd congressional district, had a strong base in northern Nevada. Titus had a strong base in the Las Vegas Valley due to her legislative and education careers. An October 17 Rasmussen Reports poll put Gibbons ahead of Titus with a 51% to 43% lead.[46] Polls in late October conducted by Mason-Dixon and Research 2000 indicated that Gibbons was on track to win the election.

Republican nominee Jim Gibbons was elected with 48% of the vote, a plurality. Titus received 44% of the vote and Christopher H. Hansen, the nominee of the Independent American Party of Nevada, received about 3%.

Nevada election[47]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Gibbons 279,003 47.93
Democratic Dina Titus 255,684 43.92
None of These Candidates 20,699 3.56
Independent American Christopher H. Hansen 20,019 3.44
Green Craig Bergland 6,753 1.16
Total votes 582,158 100.00
Republican hold

New Hampshire[edit]

New Hampshire election[48]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Lynch 298,760 74.01
Republican Jim Coburn 104,288 25.83
Write-in 631 0.16
Total votes 403,679 100.00
Democratic hold

New Mexico[edit]

New Mexico election[49]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Richardson (incumbent) 384,806 68.82
Republican John Dendahl 174,364 31.18
Total votes 559,170 100.00
Democratic hold

New York[edit]

Governor George Pataki, a moderate Republican, opted not to seek a fourth term in office. Without an incumbent in the race, the Democratic nominee was heavily favored to win the election. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer won the Democratic primary with 81% of the vote, defeating Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. As attorney general, Spitzer became well known for prosecuting cases relating to corporate white collar crime, securities fraud, internet fraud and environmental protection. The Republican nominee was attorney John Faso, a former New York State Assembly minority leader. Throughout the race, polls showed Spitzer defeating Faso by a large margin.

Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer was elected in a landslide, winning 58 out of the state's 62 counties and taking 65.3% of the vote.

New York election[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Eliot Spitzer 2,740,864 61.77
Independence Eliot Spitzer 190,661 4.30
Working Families Eliot Spitzer 155,184 3.50
Total Eliot Spitzer 3,086,709 69.56
Republican John Faso 1,105,681 24.92
Conservative John Faso 168,854 3.80
Total John Faso 1,274,335 28.72
Green Malachy McCourt 42,166 0.95
Libertarian John Clifton 14,736 0.33
Rent Is Too Damn High Jimmy McMillan 13,355 0.30
Socialist Workers Maura DeLuca 5,919 0.13
Total votes 4,437,220 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

Ohio[edit]

Term-limited incumbent Governor Bob Taft was viewed as one of the most unpopular Governors in the history of Ohio. Polls showed his approval rating in the vicinity of 10% to 25%. Congressman Ted Strickland won the Democratic primary with 79% of the vote, defeating state representative Bryan Flannery. The Republican primary, between Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, was more competitive by far. Petro came under fire for switching positions on same-sex marriage and abortion, as well as allegedly taking business from lawyers who refused to give him campaign contributions.[51] Blackwell and Petro also split over proposals to reduce state spending. Blackwell ultimately won the primary with 56% of the vote.

Blackwell was not a close ally of disgraced Governor Taft, but Taft's unpopularity still damaged his campaign. The negativity of the Republican primary also damaged Blackwell's general election campaign. In addition, in 2006 there was a nationwide trend towards the Democratic Party. An October 6 poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that Strickland led by 52% to 40%, a decline from September.[52] By contrast, an October 12 SurveyUSA poll had Strickland leading Blackwell 60% to 32%.[53]

Democratic nominee Ted Strickland was elected with 60% of the vote. He became the first Democratic Governor of Ohio since Dick Celeste.

Ohio election[54]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ted Strickland 2,435,384 60.54
Republican Ken Blackwell 1,474,285 36.65
Libertarian Bill Peirce 71,468 1.78
Green Bob Fitrakis 40,965 1.02
Write-in 652 0.02
Total votes 4,022,754 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican

Oklahoma[edit]

Oklahoma election[55]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brad Henry (incumbent) 616,135 66.50
Republican Ernest Istook 310,327 33.50
Total votes 926,462 100.00
Democratic hold

Oregon[edit]

Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski was elected in 2002 barely defeating former State Representative Kevin Mannix. Kulongoski leads his challenger, former Portland Public School Board member Ron Saxton 51% to 44%.[56] Oregon has not elected a Republican as governor since 1982, when Kulongoski lost to then-Governor Victor Atiyeh. Democratic incumbent Ted Kulongoski was re-elected.

Oregon election[57]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ted Kulongoski (incumbent) 699,786 50.73
Republican Ron Saxton 589,748 42.75
Constitution Mary Starrett 50,229 3.64
Pacific Green Joe Keating 20,030 1.45
Libertarian Richard Morley 16,798 1.22
Write-in 2,884 0.21
Total votes 1,379,475 100.00
Democratic hold

Pennsylvania[edit]

Pennsylvania election[58]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed Rendell (incumbent) 2,470,517 60.33
Republican Lynn Swann 1,622,135 39.61
Write-in 2,670 0.06
Total votes 4,095,322 100.00
Democratic hold

Rhode Island[edit]

Polling in the race showed Donald Carcieri, Republican governor in one of the most liberal states in the country, running even with his Democratic challenger, Lieutenant Governor Charles J. Fogarty.[59] Carcieri was re-elected with 51% of the vote.

Rhode Island election[60]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Donald Carcieri (incumbent) 197,306 51.01
Democratic Charles J. Fogarty 189,503 48.99
Total votes 386,809 100.00
Republican hold

South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mark Sanford (incumbent) 601,868 55.12
Democratic Tommy Moore 489,076 44.79
Write-in 1,008 0.09
Total votes 1,091,952 100.00
Republican hold

South Dakota[edit]

South Dakota election[61]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Rounds (incumbent) 206,990 61.69
Democratic Jack Billion 121,226 36.13
Constitution Steven J. Willis 4,010 1.20
Libertarian Tom Gerber 3,282 0.98
Total votes 335,508 100.00
Republican hold

Tennessee[edit]

Tennessee election[62]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Phil Bredesen (incumbent) 1,247,491 68.60
Republican Jim Bryson 540,853 29.74
Independent Carl Two Feathers Whitaker 11,374 0.63
Independent George Banks 7,531 0.41
Independent Charles E. Smith 4,083 0.22
Independent Howard W. Switzer 2,711 0.15
Independent David Gatchell 2,385 0.13
Independent Marivuana Stout Leinoff 2,114 0.12
Write-in 7 0.00
Total votes 1,818,549 100.00
Democratic hold

Texas[edit]

Challenges from two popular independents, coupled with Perry's mediocre approval ratings, made the race interesting. Populist state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn decided to defect from the GOP and run against Perry, her bitter political foe, as an independent. Six weeks after the announcement of her candidacy, she moved to within single digits of Perry in polls. In addition to Perry and Strayhorn, former Congressman Chris Bell ran as the Democratic candidate, with country singer and Texas icon Kinky Friedman as another independent. This resulted in a peculiar four-way race (technically, a six-way race including the Libertarian candidate and a write-in candidate) in which no run-off would take place. Perry was elected to a second full term with just 39% of the vote.

Texas election[63]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rick Perry (incumbent) 1,716,803 39.03
Democratic Chris Bell 1,310,353 29.79
Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn 797,577 18.13
Independent Kinky Friedman 546,869 12.43
Libertarian James Werner 26,748 0.61
Write-in 718 0.02
Total votes 4,399,068 100.00
Republican hold

Vermont[edit]

Vermont election[64]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Douglas (incumbent) 148,014 56.38
Democratic Scudder Parker 108,090 41.17
Independent Cris Ericson 2,477 0.94
Green Jim Hogue 1,936 0.74
Independent Benjamin Clarke 1,216 0.46
Liberty Union Robert Skold 638 0.24
Write-in 153 0.06
Total votes 262,524 100.00
Republican hold

Wisconsin[edit]

In 2002, Doyle was elected with only 45 percent of the vote because of an unusually strong challenge from the Libertarian party. Although his early 2006 approval rating was a mildly unfavorable 45 percent, he led both Republican challengers, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Congressman Mark Green by six to nine points in polls; he has not been able to poll greater than fifty percent. Green got a big break when Walker dropped out of the race. And more recent polls show that Green has pulled even. Wisconsin is a swing state in the strongest sense, with George W. Bush losing the state by some 5,700 votes in 2000 and around 12,400 votes in 2004, although they hadn't voted for a Republican for president since 1984, and they hadn't had a Republican senator since 1993. An October 18 Rasmussen Reports poll has Doyle leading Green 48% to 44%[65] and an October 31 Research 2000 poll has Doyle leading Green 50% to 44%.[66] Democratic incumbent Jim Doyle was re-elected.

Wisconsin election[67]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Doyle (incumbent) 1,139,115 52.76
Republican Mark A. Green 979,427 45.36
Green Nelson Eisman 40,709 1.89
Total votes 2,159,251 100.00
Democratic hold

Wyoming[edit]

Wyoming election[68]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Dave Freudenthal (incumbent) 135,516 69.99
Republican Ray Hunkins 58,100 30.01
Total votes 193,616 100.00
Democratic hold

Territories and federal district[edit]

District of Columbia[edit]

Washington, D.C. election[69]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Adrian Fenty 98,740 89.73
Republican David Kranich 6,744 6.13
D.C. Statehood Green Chris Otten 4,554 4.14
Total votes 110,038 100.00
Democratic hold

Guam[edit]

In the U.S. territory of Guam, in the western Pacific Ocean, Republican Governor Felix P. Camacho was challenged by Democrat Robert Underwood. A former Guam Delegate-at-Large in the U.S. House of Representatives, Underwood had previously represented Guam from 1993 to 2003. The race was a rematch of the 2002 gubernatorial election in which Camacho handily defeated Underwood and won his first term in office by 10 points (see Politics of Guam). However, the race was significantly more close and competitive in 2006, with Camacho narrowly winning reelection by a 2-point margin over Underwood.

Guam election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Felix Perez Camacho (incumbent) 19,560 50.25
Democratic Robert A. Underwood 18,700 48.04
Write-in 668 1.72
Total votes 38,928 100.00
Republican hold

U.S. Virgin Islands[edit]

U.S. Virgin Islands election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John de Jongh Jr. 16,644 57.30
Independent Kenneth Mapp 12,402 42.70
Total votes 29,046 100.00
Democratic hold

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Huckabee took office after his predecessor (Jim Guy Tucker) resigned. He was subsequently elected in the 1998 Arkansas gubernatorial election.
  2. ^ Rell took office after her predecessor (John G. Rowland) resigned.
  3. ^ Risch took office after his predecessor (Dirk Kempthorne) resigned.
  4. ^ Heineman took office after his predecessor (Mike Johanns) resigned.
  5. ^ Perry took office after his predecessor (George W. Bush) resigned. He was subsequently elected in the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election.

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External links[edit]