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Gubernatorial Primaries Could Hold Surprises

INDIANAPOLIS (March 1, 2006)—The 36 gubernatorial primaries taking place across the country this year could produce some surprising results, according to a preliminary analysis conducted by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).

NAMIC Senior Director of State Advocacy Neil Alldredge said the analysis of the 36 races found that primary upsets are possible, where Republican incumbents in Alabama, Alaska and Nebraska will all face difficult competition this year from some very credible candidates.

“Sometimes an incumbent will come up against a perennial candidate in a primary,” said Alldredge. “In Alabama this year, for example, Gov. Bob Riley faces a stiff challenge from Ray Moore, a former Supreme Court justice who was dismissed last year when he refused to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Supreme Court building.”

The first primary will take place on Tuesday in Texas, where Gov. Rick Parry will face three opponents in the Republican primary, none of whom is seen as a serious challenger. Two of the three Democratic candidates, Chris Bell and Bob Gammage, are former Congressmen. Voters will also have the opportunity to select from among seven independent candidates, including country music singer and author, Kinky Friedman.

Alldredge said the NAMIC analysis showed Democrats, who now control 14 of the 36 governor’s seats, are heavy favorites in Massachusetts and New York, while Republicans are looking to pick up Iowa, and mount competitive races in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This year, voters will see fewer “open” races than they did in 2004, when 20 of the 36 states chose new leaders. Only nine states—Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York and Ohio—have “open” contests brought about by retirements or governors being term-limited.

According to Alldredge, Arkansas and Iowa will likely prove to be very close elections. The Democrats have the best opportunity in years to pick up Ohio, even though it will be a very close race.

“NAMIC believes it’s important for its members to take an active role in state political elections, not only to be aware of legislative agendas proposed by candidates, but also because in 31 of those 36 states, the governor appoints the insurance commissioner,” said Alldredge. “Those choices can have a tremendous impact on the regulatory environment as well.”

The current NAMIC analysis has been compiled into an Issue Brief and can be accessed from NAMIC’s website, NAMIC Online.

A second Issue Brief covering the gubernatorial elections will be published this fall.


For further information, contact
Rick Nelson, APR, CAE
(317) 875-5250 Tel
(317) 879-8408 Fax
rnelson@namic.org

Posted: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 1:43:06 PM.

317.875.5250 - Indianapolis  |  202.628.1558 - Washington, D.C.

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