The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 30, 2013

RNC report points to governors, but who will lead?


Running counter to those relatively good numbers among Hispanics is evidence questioning whether Republican governors do that much better among the fast-growing Hispanic population in states where their numbers are significant. One example is Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who has taken a hard line on immigration issues. In 2010, she captured just 28 percent of the Hispanic vote in her state. Last fall, Mitt Romney won 25 percent of Arizona's Hispanics.

In 2010, voters in Nevada and New Mexico elected Republican governors who are Hispanic. There were no exit polls from New Mexico that year, so it's unclear how well Susana Martinez did in the Latino community. In Nevada, Brian Sandoval won just 33 percent of the Latino vote, according to the exits. That's only four percentage points better than Romney did last fall and was six points lower than George W. Bush did in the state in 2004.

Republican governors who were elected in 2009 and 2010 attracted minimal support from African-Americans. Wisconsin's Scott Walker captured 13 percent of the African-American vote, aided perhaps by the fact that he had been the Milwaukee County executive. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got 9 percent of the black vote. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett got just 8 percent. Scott in Florida got 6 percent. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley got only 4 percent.

Here is another statement from the RNC report: "We need to aggressively work to put more states in play where we have infrastructure advantages over the Democrats based on our foothold in the governorships."

That is a good idea but there is not much evidence that holding the governorship makes that state more competitive in presidential elections. In last year's campaign, Obama won all of the most competitive states that were in the hands of Republican governors: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa and Wisconsin. The battleground state where he lost — North Carolina — was then in the hands of a Democratic governor (but now is held by the GOP). Over the years, the success of governors transferring their popularity to presidential candidates has been mixed to minimal.

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