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 TIME on politics TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Analysis - Stuart Rothenberg

Rothenberg One of the nation's top political analysts, Stuart Rothenberg, dissects politics at the congressional and statewide levels.

The races for governor in 1999

By Stuart Rothenberg

October 6, 1999
Web posted at: 12:33 p.m. EDT (1633 GMT)

A look at the 1999 governors' races:

Mississippi: Both parties avoided runoffs in their August primaries. That wasn't a surprise in the Democratic contest, where Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove defeated former state Supreme Court Justice James Roberts comfortably, 56 percent to 27 percent. But in the GOP race, former congressman Mike Parker, who was thought to be headed for a runoff, garnered 51 percent to 28 percent for former Lt. Gov. Eddie Briggs and 11 percent for state legislator Charlie Williams.

Musgrove became lieutenant governor when he defeated Republican Briggs four years ago. Parker is a former Democrat who switched to the GOP while he was a member of Congress. Parker chose not to seek reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998.

Musgrove and Parker are likely to talk a great deal about education, with the Democrat proposing an increase in teacher salaries, and the Republican talking about school vouchers and merit pay hikes for teachers.

Public polling before the primary showed Musgrove ahead of Parker by about 14 points, but GOP insiders point to more recent Republican polling showing that two candidates in a statistical dead heat. Both parties are expected to pour resources into the race since it is clearly the most competitive of 1999's three gubernatorial contests.

Outgoing governor Kirk Fordice (R) ordinarily might be an asset for Parker. But Republicans would just as soon forget about the governor, who has been having an affair and has proved to be an embarrassment to the state and to his party.

Louisiana: Gov. Mike Foster (R) is favored for reelection, but that hasn't stopped a number of candidates from getting in the race to challenge him. And continued reporting about Foster's political dealings with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in the 1995 gubernatorial race remains a question mark hanging over the governor.

Foster, a former Democrat who was elected four years ago as a populist outsider, continues to run well ahead in the polls. But some conservatives are less than enthusiastic about him now, complaining that he has changed his position on gambling and has governed as an establishment insider.

State Sen. Tom Greene (R), a conservative from Iberville Paris, has jumped into the race, giving disgruntled conservatives an alternative to Foster.

Also in the race is Rep. Bill Jefferson, an African-American Democrat who flirted with a run for governor four years ago but eventually dropped out of that contest. Jefferson, who served in the state legislature before being elected to Congress in 1990, portrays himself as a liberal populist, and he has already been endorsed by the state Democratic Party.

Another Democrat, attorney Phil Preis, is also a candidate. Preis ran for governor in 1995, finishing fifth (behind two Republicans and two Democrats) with 9 percent of the vote.

The state's open primary is scheduled for October 23. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the top two finishers, regardless of party, will meet in a November 20 runoff. Foster is a clear favorite to win another term.

Kentucky: Gov. Paul Patton (D) is coasting to reelection after the state's GOP was unable to recruit a top tier challenger to him.

Patton, who won a narrow 51 percent-49 percent victory four years ago over Republican opponent Larry Forgy, seems to be popular. That fact, plus the state's long-time Democratic bent, convinced credible Republicans to take a pass on this year's race.

The GOP nominee is Peppy Martin, a publicist who narrowly won a GOP primary. She is not regarded by Republican insiders as a credible nominee, and most of the state's visible Republican officeholders have all but ignored her campaign (though Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning recently suggested he would help her raise funds).

The most interesting thing about this race may well be the candidacy of Reform Party hopeful Gatewood Galbraith, an attorney who favors the legalization of marijuana. In 1995, Galbraith drew 9 percent in the Democratic primary for governor.

Patton is expected to be reelected easily.


Analysis: Lessons from Election 1999 (11-8-99)

The CNN/WMUR Town Hall Meetings at Dartmouth (10-29-99)

Spotlight on key races in 2000 (10-14-99)

The races for governor in 1999 (10-6-99)

The GOP presidential race after Ames (8-17-99)

Death of a congressman gives GOP chance to pick up House seat in California (8-6-99)

Democrats eye GOP House seats in North Carolina, Washington (7-21-99)

Best chance of unseating Democratic House incumbent may be in Connecticut (7-8-99)

Fierce Democratic Senate primaries expected in New Jersey and Rhode Island (6-22-99)

GOP has a chance to pick up Democratic Pennsylvania House seat (6-9-99)

Rep. Capps will have to fight for evenly split district (5-24-99)

Rep. Rogan undecided on re-electon bid, but GOP seat at risk either way (5-12-99)

Democrats look for candidate to beat Sen. Grams (4-29-99)

Hot race for Livingston's Louisiana House seat (4-13-99)

DeWine's re-election chances stronger with no declared Democratic challenger (3-29-99)

Mack's retirement means competitive race for Senate in Florida (3-16-99)

Mississippi's gov. race may determine bragging rights for Election '99 (2-25-99)

Impeachment votes could be a factor in some Senate races next year (2-12-99)

Open or closed? The politics of the final debate (2-8-99)

Challengers look to Chenoweth to honor term-limit pledge (1-26-99)

The state of Bill Clinton's State of the Union (1-20-99)

N.Y. Senate race could be a wild one (1-13-99)

More Rothenberg reports


What's at stake in Election 2000
Senate Overview
House Overview
Governors Overview


See how quickly the primary and caucus season will take off with this calendar.


If you need to know who's up in 1999 or 2000 and what seats are open launch this quick guide.


Check out the latest numbers or dig back into the poll archives.


Wednesday, October 6, 1999

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