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1996 Governors’ Elections: Predictions And Results

The predictions shown in the table below were made during October 1996.

Since 1996 was a presidential election year, only 11 states held gubernatorial elections. Around a third of all states will hold elections for governors in 1998.

US Gubernatorial Elections 1996
Republican=4 (1 open), Democrat=7 (3 open)
State Incumbent Party Opponent Prognosis Result
Delaware Thomas R. Carper Democrat Janet Rzewnicki (Rep) Safe Democrat. Carper won in 1992 with 65% of the vote. His opponent is GOP state treasurer and is campaigning on cutting state taxes. Carper
Indiana Evan Bayh
(cannot run, term limited);
Frank O’Bannon, currently Lt.Gov., is new candidate
Democrat Stephen Goldsmith (Rep), Mayor of Indianapolis Indiana tends to be a GOP state (both senators and 6 of 10 House members are Republican), but Bayh is popular. This is a rough and costly race. O’Bannon
Missouri Mel Carnahan Democrat Margaret Kelley (Rep), state auditor Safe Democrat. Polls show Kelley well behind. The campaign is turning on tax and allegations by Carnahan that Kelley favoured her political allies as auditor. Carnahan
Montana Marc Racicot Republican Chet Blaylock (Dem), ex-state senator Safe Republican. Racicot considered running against Democratic Senator Baucus this year, but decided to run for re-election as governor instead. Several unions, including teachers, are backing the GOP incumbent.Blaylock died in October and was replaced by Judy Jacobson. Racicot
New Hampshire Stephen Merrill
Ovid Lamontagne, New Hampshire Education Board chair, is the new Republican candidate.
Republican Jeanne Shaheen (Dem), state senator New Hampshire has 2-year terms for Governor. Democrats are apparently confident about their chances. Lamontagne, a conservative favourite, fought a tough battle with Bill Zeliff, a moderate, for the GOP nomination. Shaheen
North Carolina James B. Hunt Jr. Democrat Robin Hayes (Rep),
State House
Majority Whip
Safe Democrat, although this state hasn’t supported a Democrat for President since 1976. Hunt is campaigning on education and reducing taxation, whilst Hayes has the support of the NRA and Christian Coalition. Hunt
North Dakota Edward T. Schafer Republican Lee Kaldor (Dem),
State Representative
Safe Republican. Education is a big issue in this race, whilst Schafer has had to deal with questions about his links to a fishing company. Schafer
Utah Michael O. Leavitt Republican Jim Bradley (Dem), ex-Salt Lake Co. commissioner Safe Republican. Leavitt has the highest approval rating of any governor in the country. Bradley was a late entry into the race to prevent the Democrats simply conceding the seat. Leavitt
Vermont Howard Dean M.D. Democrat John Gropper (Rep), 1994 candidate Vermont has 2-year terms for Governor; Dean is one of the most liberal governors and should be comfortably re-elected, recent polls showing he could top 70% of the vote. Dean
Washington Michael Lowry
(retiring), Gary Locke is new candidate
Democrat Ellen Craswell (Rep) Lowry quit amid sexual harrassment charges; this should be a Democratic seat. Locke would become the first mainland Asian-American governor. Locke
West Virginia Gaston Caperton
(cannot run,
term limited)
Charlotte Pritt, ex-state senator, is new candidate
Democrat Cecil Underwood (Rep),
A close race. Pritt, a former teacher, lacks the support of Caperton, whilst Underwood has 50 years of government experience and is campaigning on jobs and economic development. Underwood

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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