Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

A Tale of Two Governor’s Races

In Governor on April 15, 2013 at 10:25 am
Rep. Charles. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D) | Gov. Chris Christie (R)

Rep. Charles. A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D)                       Gov. Chris Christie (R)                    

Maryland

Late last week, Rep. Charles. A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD-2) confirmed that he is considering a race for governor next year. Incumbent Martin O’Malley (D) is term-limited, and the open race already is attracting a great deal of attention, particularly from Democrats. Virtually all of the strong candidates hail from the Washington, DC suburbs, while Ruppersberger would, at this point, be the only contender from the Baltimore metropolitan area. The geographic split would give him a clear advantage if the DC-area vote becomes split.

Ruppersberger won election to his sixth US House term last November. He represents the largest portion of Baltimore County of any Maryland congressman, in addition to having more than 83,000 residents from Baltimore city. His district also covers significant portions of Anne Arundel and Hartford Counties, with a sliver of Howard County.

The congressman defeated state Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R) 65.6-31.1 percent in November, but the Republican spent less than $300,000 on her challenge.

Other Democratic likely candidates are Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who already has scheduled his formal announcement for early May, Attorney General Doug Gansler, state Del. Heather Mizeur and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. The Democratic primary will almost assuredly determine the winner of the general election.

New Jersey

Rutgers University just released the results of their new statewide Garden State poll (April 3-7; 819 registered New Jersey voters; 672 landline respondents, 147 via cell phone) and the data again shows Gov. Chris Christie (R) to be in solid shape for re-election against state Sen. Barbara Buono (D). Though the analysis suggests that Christie has lost some support — his unrealistically high 42-point lead has somewhat dissipated — he is still uncharacteristically strong for a Republican in a heavily Democratic state.

According to the data, Christie’s personal favorability rating is 64:26 percent favorable to unfavorable. In contrast, the largely unknown Buono sports only an 18:12 percent index. On the ballot test question, Christie leads Buono by a full 30 points, 57-27 percent. The fact that the governor is well over 50 percent preference is also very significant. Christie’s job approval rating is even a bit better, at 68:26 percent positive to negative.

Now, just under seven months from Election Day, Gov. Christie is becoming a prohibitive favorite to win a second term.

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