DemDaily: The First Victory? Update on the Governors!

October 22, 2018

Alaska Governor Bill Walker dropped re-election bid Friday (pic: ADN)

In a surprise announcement Friday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker dropped his bid for re-election, and threw his support to Democrat Mark Begich over Republican Mike Dunleavy.

Walker, who is an Independent and the only US Governor not associated with a major political party, first won office in 2014 with Democratic support. But recent polls showed Walker by as much as 17 points in a head-to-head match up with Dunleavy, a former State Senator.

By comparison, Begich, a former US Senator, trailed Dunleavy by just 7 points in an October 12-14 Alaska Research Survey poll.

 "This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy. The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds ... Alaskans deserve a competitive race. Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy" -- Governor Bill Walker

Mike Dunleavy (R) and Mark Begich (D) are now in a head-to-head contest

The announcement also came just three days after Walker's running mate, Democratic Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, stepped down from both his office and his re-election campaign following undisclosed "inappropriate comments" he made to a woman.

With now two weeks left until the election, and with more than 23,000 absentee ballots already mailed to voters, it is too late to remove both Walker and Mallott's name from the November 6 general election ballot.

How the complications will play out in the minds of voters is unclear, but Walker's support for Begich boost the race into the true "toss up" column and Democratic hopes for another in the win column.

Top Governors Contests
Of the 26 Republican seats up, 11 are considered Toss Ups or leaning toward Democratic victories. By comparision, in the nine Democratic seats up, two, including Alaska, are in the Toss Up category, and one leaning Democrat.

Polling Highlights
The most recent polling in the tightest races ((Red=Currently held by Republican, Blue=Currently held by Democrat, MOE= Margin of Error):

Connecticut : Ned Lamont (D) 47% v. Bob Stefanowski (R) 39% (Quinnipiac, Oct 3-8, MOE ±5.0%)
Florida: Andrew Gillum (D) 54% v. Ron DeSantis (R) 42% (CNN/SSRS Poll, Oct 16-20, MOE ±4.2%)
Georgia: Stacey Abrams (D) 45% v. Brian Kemp 47% (WXIA-TV/SurveyUSA, Oct 3-8, MOE ±4.9%)
Kansas: Laura Kelly (D) 36% v. Kris Koback (R) 37% (Emerson, Sept 26-28, MOE ±3.5%)
Iowa: Fred Hubbell (D) 43% v. Kim Reynolds (R) 41% (Des Moines Register, Sept 17-20, MOE ±4.2%)
Maine: Janet Mills (D) 44% v Shawn Moody (R) 36% (Pan Atlantic Research,Oct 1-7, MOE ± 4.4%)
Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D) 46% v. Bill Schuette (R) 38% (Mitchell, Sept 30-Oct 7, MOE ± 3.8%)
Nevada: Adam Laxalt (R) 46% v. Steve Sisolak 45% (NYT/Siena, Sept 30-Oct 3, MOE ± 4.8%)
Ohio: Richard Cordray (D) 46% v. Mike DeWine (R) 40% (Suffolk, Oct 4-8, MOE ± 4.4%)
Oregon: Kate Brown (D) leads Knute Buehler 40% to 35% (DHM Research, Oct 4-11, MOE ± 4.4%)
New Mexico:  Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) 50% v. Steve Pearce 43% (Albuquerque Journal, ± 3.1%)
South Dakota: Billie Sutton (D) 45% v. Kristi Noem (R) 42% (Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, MOE ± 4.4%)
Wisconsin: Tony Evers 53% (D) v. Scott Walker (R) 43% (NBC/Siena Oct 3-7, MOE ± 3.7%

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Anchorage Daily News, RealClearPolitics, FiveThirtyEight, CNN

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