Gubernatorial Wrap-Up

Campaign 2006 | A look at the key governor's races in the 2006 election

Issue: "GOP downfall," Nov. 18, 2006


Despite pundits who indicated earlier this year that California incumbent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could be in trouble, the Governator proved as bullet-proof as the Terminator. Californians seem comfortable with his consensus-building governing style, and his easy victory sets him up for a possible race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010.


Despite an electorate apprehensive about incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongoski's leadership, Oregon voters haven't voted a Republican into the governor's office in 24 years and they didn't this year either. Republican challenger Ron Saxton spent nearly twice as much as Kulongoski in the race, but fell short anyway.


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Texas' gubernatorial race started with a lot of drama-four candidates in a conservative state that had apparently fallen out of love with its GOP incumbent, Rick Perry. But in the end, Texas reelected Perry with a plurality over an uninspiring Democrat, Chris Bell, a flippant musician, Kinky Friedman, and self-proclaimed one-tough-grandma, Carole Keeton-Strayhorn.


Iowa Republican Jim Nussle never gained enough traction in the race to replace Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, losing the race to Chet Culver, nearly by double digits. Culver held serve in the western part of the state where George W. Bush trounced John Kerry in 2004 and where Nussle had hoped to ride a wave of conservative voters.


Despite concerns about Michigan's flagging economy and her Republican opponent pouring $35 million of his own cash into the campaign, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won reelection fairly easily against businessman Dick DeVos. The Republican challenger's sophisticated marketing campaign wasn't enough to upset a blue-state incumbent.


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