2012 United States gubernatorial elections

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2012 United States gubernatorial elections

← 2011 June 5 and November 6, 2012 2013 →

14 governorships
12 states
(including a recall election in Wisconsin)
2 territories
  Majority party Minority party
  Bob McDonnell (4379673749) (cropped).jpg Governor O'Malley Portrait.jpg
Leader Bob McDonnell Martin O'Malley
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Virginia Maryland
Last election 32 governorships (29 states) 24 governorships (20 states)
Seats before 32 (29 states) 24 (20 states)
Seats after 33 (30 states) 23 (19 states)
Seat change Increase1 Decrease1
Popular vote 8,305,687[1] 7,992,567
Percentage 49.7% 47.9%

2012 Delaware gubernatorial election2012 Indiana gubernatorial election2012 Missouri gubernatorial election2012 Montana gubernatorial election2012 New Hampshire gubernatorial election2012 North Carolina gubernatorial election2012 North Dakota gubernatorial election2012 Utah gubernatorial election2012 Vermont gubernatorial election2012 Washington gubernatorial election2012 West Virginia gubernatorial electionWisconsin gubernatorial recall election2012 Gubernatorial election map.svg
About this image
Map of the Results
     Democratic hold      Democratic gain
     Republican gain      Republican hold (including recall)
     No election

The 2012 United States gubernatorial elections were held in 12 states (including a recall election in Wisconsin on June 5) and two territories. Of the eight Democratic and four Republican seats contested, only that of North Carolina changed party hands, giving the Republicans a net gain of one governorship. These elections (except for Wisconsin) coincided with the presidential election on November 6, 2012.

Results by state[edit]

State/territory Incumbent Party Status Opposing candidates
American Samoa Togiola Tulafono Democratic Retired, Independent gain Lolo Matalasi Moliga (I) General: 33.5%; Runoff: 52.9%
Faoa Aitofele Sunia (D) General: 33.1%; Runoff: 47.1%
Afoa Moega Lutu (R) General: 19.3% (eliminated)
Delaware Jack Markell Democratic Re-elected, 69.3% Jeff Cragg (R) 28.6%
Mark Perri (G) 1.15%
Jesse McVay (L) 0.92%
Indiana Mitch Daniels Republican Term-limited, Republican hold Mike Pence (R) 49.49%
John Gregg (D) 46.56%
Rupert Boneham (L) 3.95%
Missouri Jay Nixon Democratic Re-elected, 54.68% Dave Spence (R) 42.62%
Jim Higgins (L) 2.7%
Montana Brian Schweitzer Democratic Term-limited, Democrat hold Steve Bullock (D) 48.9%
Rick Hill (R) 47.34%
Ron Vandevender (L) 3.76%
New Hampshire John Lynch Democratic Retired, Democrat hold Maggie Hassan (D) 54.61%
Ovide Lamontagne (R) 42.42%
John Babiarz (L) 2.77%
North Carolina Beverly Perdue Democratic Retired, Republican gain Pat McCrory (R) 54.7%
Walter Dalton (D) 43.17%
Barbara Howe (I) 2.13%
North Dakota Jack Dalrymple Republican Elected to a full term, 63.1% Ryan Taylor (D) 34.31%
Paul Sorum (I) 1.69%
Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño New Progressive/Republican Defeated, 47.13% Alejandro García Padilla (PDP/D) 47.73%
Juan Dalmau Ramírez (PIP) 2.52%
Utah Gary Herbert Republican Re-elected, 68.37% Peter Cooke (D) 27.75%
Ken Larsen (L) 2.18%
Vermont Peter Shumlin Democratic Re-elected, 57.8% Randy Brock (R) 37.6%
Emily Peyton (I) 2%
Washington Christine Gregoire Democratic Retired, Democratic hold Jay Inslee (D) 51.54%
Rob McKenna (R) 48.46%
West Virginia Earl Ray Tomblin Democratic Re-elected, 50.47% Bill Maloney (R) 45.68%
Jesse Johnson (M) 2.51%
Wisconsin Scott Walker Republican Survived recall, 53.1% Tom Barrett (D) 46.3%

Close Races[edit]

States where the margin of victory was under 1%:

  1. Puerto Rico, 0.6%

States where the margin of victory was under 5%:

  1. Montana, 1.6%
  2. Indiana, 2.9%
  3. Washington, 3.0%
  4. West Virginia, 4.8%

States where the margin of victory was under 10%:

  1. American Samoa, 5.8%
  2. Wisconsin, 6.8%

Red denotes states won by Republicans. Blue denotes states won by Democrats. Grey denotes states won by Independents.

Retired and term-limited Democratic incumbents[edit]

Togiola Tulafono (American Samoa)[edit]

Governor Togiola Tulafono, who had served as Governor since 2003, was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.

Six candidates vied to succeed outgoing Governor Tulafono – former President of American Samoa Community College, Salu Hunkin-Finau; businessman Timothy Jones; former Attorney General Afoa Moega Lutu; former President of the Development Bank of American Samoa, Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga; Lieutenant Governor Faoa Aitofele Sunia; and former High Court of American Samoa justice Save Liuato Tuitele.[2][3][4] Moliga eventually won the general election.

Brian Schweitzer (Montana)[edit]

Governor Brian Schweitzer was term-limited in 2012.

The declared Democratic primary candidates were state Senator Larry Jent[5] and state Attorney General Steve Bullock.[6]

The declared Republican primary candidates included Chouteau County commissioner Jim O'Hara,[7] former state Senators Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller, terrorism and national security analyst Neil Livingstone,[8] former Congressman Rick Hill,[9] and Truck driver Keith Winkler.[10]

Steve Bullock and Rick Hill won their respective primaries. Bullock defeated Hill and Libertarian Ron Vandevender in the general election.[11]

John Lynch (New Hampshire)[edit]

Governor John Lynch retired rather than running for re-election.[12]

Maggie Hassan, former Majority Leader of the New Hampshire State Senate, defeated former state senator Jackie Cilley and firefighter Bill Kennedy to become the Democratic nominee. Former Chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Education Ovide Lamontagne, who narrowly lost the Republican primary for Senate in 2010, defeated conservative activist and former state representative Kevin Smith and Bill Tarr to win the Republican nomination.[13][14] Hassan eventually won the general election.

New Hampshire does not have a position of Lieutenant Governor.

Beverly Perdue (North Carolina)[edit]

Governor Beverly Perdue retired rather than run for re-election.[15]

Potential Democratic candidates included Lt. Gov. Walter H. Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison.[16]

Potential Republican candidates included former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory (the 2008 Republican nominee for Governor);[17] Nido Qubein, President of High Point University;[18] Tom Fetzer, former Mayor of Raleigh; and former state Senator Fred Smith.[19]

Dalton and McCrory won their respective primaries, and McCrory eventually won the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina was elected separately.[citation needed]

Christine Gregoire (Washington)[edit]

Governor Christine Gregoire retired rather than run for re-election.[20]

U.S. Representative Jay Inslee is the only declared Democratic candidate.[21] Other potential Democratic candidates including state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, King County Executive Dow Constantine, state Treasurer Jim McIntire, Auditor General Brian Sonntag, and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon have declined to run, or endorsed Inslee.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Pastor Shahram Hadian, are the announced Republicans in the race. Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant is considered a potential Republican candidate.[28][29] U.S. Representative Dave Reichert decided against a bid, and threw his support to McKenna.[30] Inslee eventually won the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor will be elected separately.

Term-limited Republican incumbent[edit]

Mitch Daniels (Indiana)[edit]

Governor Mitch Daniels was term-limited in 2012.

Mike Pence, a six-term Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced his candidacy for his party's nomination. Pence, whose announcement was anticipated by his resignation of a leading position in the GOP caucus in the House, was regarded as the favorite for election.[31] Indianapolis businessman and former Hamilton County Councilman Jim Wallace had announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination prior to Pence's entrance but failed to collect enough signatures to become an official candidate by the deadline in February 2012.[32][33][34]

Former state House Speaker John R. Gregg was unopposed for the Democratic Party's nomination.[35]

Former Survivor contestant and founder of the Rupert's Kids charity Rupert Boneham ran as the Libertarian Party candidate.[36]

Pence narrowly defeated Gregg with 49.9% of the vote to Gregg's 46.56%. Boneham received 3.95% of the vote.[37]

Democratic incumbents who sought re-election[edit]

Jack Markell (Delaware)[edit]

Governor Jack Markell ran for re-election. His Republican challenger was Jeff Cragg.[38]

Markell eventually won the election.

Jay Nixon (Missouri)[edit]

Governor Jay Nixon sought re-election.[39]

Dave Spence, a businessman from St. Louis, won the Republican nomination over attorney Bill Randles in the August 7, 2012 primary.[40]

Jim Higgins is the Libertarian candidate.

Nixon eventually won the general election over Spence and Higgins.

The Lieutenant Governor is elected separately.

Peter Shumlin (Vermont)[edit]

Governor Peter Shumlin, the victor of the Vermont gubernatorial election of 2010, ran for re-election in 2012.[41] His Republican challenger was state Senator Randy Brock.[42] Shumlin later won the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor was elected separately.

Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia)[edit]

see also: West Virginia gubernatorial special election, 2011

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled on January 18, 2011 that the state must hold a special gubernatorial election in 2011[43] to fill the vacancy resulting from Joe Manchin's election to the United States Senate. The special election occurred October 4, 2011 with state Senate President and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin won the election. Tomblin was eligible to run for a full term in 2012.

Tomblin's 2011 Republican opponent, businessman Bill Maloney, eventually became the Republican nominee.[44] Tomblin later won the election.

David Moran was the Libertarian candidate.

The Lieutenant Governor is elected by the State Senate.

Republican incumbents who sought re-election[edit]

Jack Dalrymple (North Dakota)[edit]

Governor Jack Dalrymple succeeded John Hoeven after the latter was elected Senator and ran for a full term in 2012.[45] Drew Wrigley was his running mate. Dalrymple defeated architect Paul Sorum for the nomination.

State Senate Minority leader Ryan Taylor was the Democratic nominee. Ellen Chaffee was his running mate.[46] Dalrymple eventually won the general election.

Luis Fortuño (Puerto Rico)[edit]

Governor Luis Fortuño (PNP/R) ran for re-election.

Fortuño had been mentioned as a long-shot potential Republican nominee for President or Vice President in 2012.[47] However, he announced on June 26, 2011 that he would run for re-election instead of seeking the Presidency.

Senator Alejandro García Padilla (PPD) was the net biggest challenger out of six challengers, and eventually won the general election.

Puerto Rico does not have a position of Lieutenant Governor.

Gary Herbert (Utah)[edit]

Governor Gary Herbert, who won the 2010 gubernatorial special election to finish his predecessor's unfinished term, ran for a full four-year term in 2012.[48]

He was opposed by Democrat Peter Cooke, a businessman and retired major general. The Libertarian candidate was medical researcher Ken Larson, and the Constitution party candidate was Kirk D. Pearson. Herbert eventually won the general election.

Republican incumbent who faced recall election[edit]

Scott Walker (Wisconsin)[edit]

Governor Scott Walker (R) survived a recall election on June 5. Walker's disapproval ratings varied between 50–51% while his approval ratings varied between 47–49% in 2011.[49] Walker led against challenger Tom Barrett (D) in polls since March, including two post-primary polls which showed Walker with a five to twelve point lead.[50][51] Walker defeated Barrett by seven percentage points,[52] becoming the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/2012.php
  2. ^ "6 candidates vie to be American Samoa's governor". Real Clear Politics. Associated Press. September 4, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Territorial elections will be the main event of 2012". Talanei. January 3, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "American Samoa's Lt Governor vies top job in next year's election". Radio New Zealand International. October 22, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (June 12, 2011). "Bohlinger, Essmann eye governor's race". Billings Gazette. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  6. ^ Catanese, David (September 7, 2011). "Bullock joins Montana governor's race". Politico. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Keegan, Charlie (January 14, 2011). "Jim O'Hara Announces Candidacy for Governor". KFBB-TV. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  8. ^ "Candidates for governor already begin to surface". www.billingsnews.com. November 5, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  9. ^ "Former GOP U.S. Rep. Rick Hill to run for Montana governor". Missoulian. November 6, 2010.
  10. ^ Politics1 – Online Guide to Montana Elections, Candidates & Politics
  11. ^ Sullivan, Sean (November 7, 2012). "Democrat Steve Bullock wins Montana governor's race". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ Love, Norma. "New Hampshire Gov. Lynch won't seek 5th term". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "2012 Election Information". New Hampshire Secretary of State. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "Lamontagne, Hassan will face off in governor's race". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  15. ^ Bev Perdue will not seek reelection – David Catanese – POLITICO.com
  16. ^ Gov. Bev Perdue will not run for re-election – Politics – NewsObserver.com Archived January 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ News & Observer: Perdue vs. McCrory II? Archived October 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Our Campaigns – NC Governor – R Primary Race – May 08, 2012
  20. ^ Garber, Andrew (June 13, 2011). "2 terms and out for Gov. Chris Gregoire". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  21. ^ Brunner, Jim (June 23, 2011). "Inslee to jump into governor's race next week". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  22. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/2011/06/28/1704768/lisa-brown-endorses-inslee-for.html[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Inslee Running for Gov; Constantine Cheers Him on Facebook | PubliCola
  24. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/2011/06/12/1684212/2012-races-take-shape.html[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Haglund, Noah (July 17, 2011). "Race for Snohomish County executive is a battle between two moderates". The Herald (Everett). Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  26. ^ Garber, Andrew (July 5, 2011). "Brian Sonntag will not run for governor". The Seattle Times.
  27. ^ State auditor Brian Sonntag makes decision on governor's race | KING5.com Seattle Archived July 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ D.C.'s Political Report: Washington Congressional and Statewide Races. Dcpoliticalreport.com (2010-11-15). Retrieved on November 20, 2010.
  29. ^ Politics1 – Online Guide to Washington State Elections, Candidates & Politics
  30. ^ Connelly, Joel (June 8, 2011). "Reichert: I'll support McKenna for governor". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  31. ^ Muskal, Michael (May 5, 2011). "Mike Pence to run for Indiana governor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  32. ^ Schneider, Mary Beth (April 16, 2012). "Pence leads rivals in fundraising for governor's race". Indianapolis Star.
  33. ^ Geraghty, Jim (February 2, 2011). "The Campaign Spot". National Review.
  34. ^ Schneider, Mary Beth (February 2, 2011). "Businessman Exploring Run For GOP Gubernatorial Nomination". The Indianapolis Star.
  35. ^ Politics1 – Online Guide to Indiana Elections, Candidates & Politics
  36. ^ Matthew Tully | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
  37. ^ "Election Results". in.gov/apps/sos. November 28, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  38. ^ Goble, Keith (August 22, 2012). "Election 2012: Know your Delaware governor". Land Line. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  39. ^ Gov. Nixon confirms he will seek re-election – Columbia Missourian
  40. ^ [2]
  41. ^ "Shumlin Announces His Re-election Bid". Vermont Public Radio. June 12, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  42. ^ Gram, Dave (September 6, 2012). "Vt. election panel certifies new vote tally". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  43. ^ Court Orders West Virginia Special Election This Year – Hotline On Call Archived January 31, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ Maloney files for Round 2 – David Catanese – POLITICO.com
  45. ^ Dalrymple to Seek Re-election in 2012 on KFYR-TV North Dakota's NBC News Leader
  46. ^ http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=55802[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ Romano, Andrew (November 26, 2009). "The Governor of Puerto Rico ... for President?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on November 27, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
  48. ^ Utah Gov. Gary Herbert officially announces re-election bid | Deseret News
  49. ^ Marley, Patrick (September 20, 2011). "New poll reflects divide on bargaining limits". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  50. ^ Post-primary poll: Walker leads Barrett by 5 points
  51. ^ Turnout | weaskamerica.com Archived May 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)