Weak Gubernatorial Candidates Hurting Others Nationwide

As “The Fix” reports yesterday, Democrats across the country are suffering the fallout from a weak top-of-the-ticket showing:

Rick Snyder may be House Democrats’ biggest nightmare.

The Michigan Republican, a former head of the Gateway computer company, is running way ahead of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Wolverine State’s gubernatorial race. (A poll released Sunday gave him a 20-point advantage.) Such a wide margin for Snyder creates the potential for a down-ballot sweep that could wash out Democrats’ chances in two hotly contested House districts…

…With Snyder leading Bernero by such a wide margin, there is considerable concern among Democratic strategists that a poor performance at the top of the ticket could make just enough difference to sway the 1st District and 7th District races against them.

The situation in Michigan is the most extreme – but far from the only – example of how Democratic struggles at the top of the ticket could well cost the party a handful of congressional contests on Nov. 2.

“Getting tied to an unpopular ticket hurts with swing voters, but it also makes it even harder to rally your base and get them to turn out,” said one Democratic consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the problem candidly…

…In close races – and there will be lots of them at the House level in 22 days’ time – a few hundred votes can make all the difference. And that’s where a stronger-than-expected (or weaker-than-expected) than expected showing at the top of the ticket will matter – in a major way.

There’s no mention of Colorado in this article, but Republicans stand to face the same problems with the, uh, less-than-venerable Dan Maes as the GOP candidate for governor. We’ve been saying this since even before Maes’s primary victory in August, when it became clear that the Republican Governor’s Association would not be playing in Colorado.

As we’ve also said, this is why ballot-chasing and GOTV efforts will be so critical to many other top races. For example, Cory Gardner’s campaign in CD-4 needs to find those Republican voters — who might have lost interest in casting their ballot after watching Maes flounder around for months — and make sure they still decide to vote for him. But without RGA money in Colorado, there are fewer resources available for exactly those ballot-chase and GOTV efforts that many Republicans candidates rely upon. That’s the dangerous doubly-doozy you get with a disaster of a gubernatorial candidate like Dan Maes.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    rot from the head down.

  2. davebarnes says:

    I would say that John absolutely brings that kind of moderate business acumen  and business experience that Republicans in Denver proper really like…I would absolutely trust the Mayor when it comes to the economic health of our state and the business community…


    This is priceless.

  3. 20th Maine says:

    those Republicans in CO-4 are probably aware of a highly contested US Senate race going on and have an opinion on it.  

    And though the RGA is out of Colorado, the NRSCNDSCNRCCDCCC is not.

    And aren’t federal races listed before state races?  Isn’t CO-4 listed on the ballot before CO-Gov?

    Top of the ticket is certainly important but not the whole game.  A good example of top of the ticket blowing a considerable hole in a party’s boat:  Bob Beauprez.  However, polls showed Dems doing well across the board anyway.  And there was no US Senate race that year to fill in the void.

    So – this post is correct that Dan Maes isn’t likely to win.  Bravo!  But – it’s embarassingly transparent and completely wrong everywhere else.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Nevermind then.

      Look, 20th Maine, just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean it’s “transparent and wrong” (whatever that means). This isn’t a Colorado-specific problem. If you’ll notice the post we referenced above, it was about how weak gubernatorial candidates were really hurting DEMOCRATS in other states. And many of these other states also have Senate races. But voters think of the Governor as their top statewide official, which is why a weak performing gubernatorial candidate is so harmful.

      The “Top of the Ticket” phrase isn’t to be taken literally. If someone takes the time to actually look at their ballot, they’re probably going to go ahead and vote. The problem is that voters who think the governor’s race is already decided might not even bother to make the effort to vote.

      None of this is new (well, maybe to you), and has happened before many times.

      • 20th Maine says:

        Dems are doing poorly across the country and up and down the ticket.  The top of the ticket is suffering from the same affliction as the down ballot Dems.  One isn’t causing the other.

        But if Dems lose a majority of races in MI but win a majority of races in CO – I would have to give your analysis more credit.  Call me skeptical.


        Republican voters — who might have lost interest in casting their ballot after watching Maes flounder

        Despite your trepidation about GOP turnout, I’m sure Colorado Republicans will find a way to muster interest in this year’s election.

  4. DaftPunk says:

    New York’s homophobe Carl Paladino

    “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t,”

  5. caroman says:

    Can (or has) money from 527’s, like Karl Rove’s, be used for GOTV?

  6. Jambalaya says:

    ..the reference to Michigan as the “Wolverine State.”  Does this cast doubt on everything else?  I have good friends from State who may say so.  I will consult.  Meanwhile is it significant that this article doesn’t mention CO?  I don’t know the answer, but, as long as we’re posting out-of-state opinions, I guess the answer might be useful.

    • Ralphie says:

      Michigan is no longer the “Wolverine State.”

      It’s now the “Spartan State.”

      • DaftPunk says:

        I’m a legacy Wolverine (both parents, sister, father’s wife) and proud alum, and the two worst years in Michigan football were the years my son and wife were born.  Just looking at this year’s schedule you could see 7-5 written all over it.  Could easily go 6-6 or worse if we don’t beat Illinois or Purdue.

        • Ralphie says:

          I’m a Penn State fan.  They’re not even going to win six and go to a minor bowl.  Only 11 seniors on the team.

          But wait until next year.

          Illinois is going to be tough.  They completely took the run away from Penn State last week.  If they do that to Michigan, it’s going to be a long day.

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