One of our favorite facts about American politics is that it’s extremely difficult to beat a sitting governor — and it’s getting even harder. In the last decade, 89% of governors who have sought re-election have won, compared with a 79% win rate between 1980-2013.
That bodes well for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R), the two incumbents seeking re-election this year. Polls show both are leading their rivals — and in both states, the incumbent party is outspending their rivals.
In Kentucky, Beshear and his Democratic allies have dropped $32 million on television advertising. Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) and his Republican backers have spent $14 million. Beshear’s campaign alone has spent more than 10 times what Cameron’s campaign has, which is even more important because candidates get cheaper rates on TV ads than outside groups.
In Mississippi, the gap is closer: Neither Reeves nor Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) have turned on the spigots full blast, but Republicans had outspent Democrats $2 million to $1.4 million as of the end of August, according to our friends at AdImpact.
Airtime spending isn’t completely indicative of what’s going to happen in November’s elections; Beshear got outspent by then-Gov. Matt Bevin (R) four years ago and still won. But it’s a troubling sign for Cameron, who needs to make up ground in the race’s closing weeks.
Here are eight other things you might have missed in the states this week:
REDISTRICTING: Democrats are challenging voting district lines in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee in a handful of cases that could impact the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives. It can be hard to keep track of all those cases, so our colleague Humberto Sanchez has an up-to-the-minute look at where they all stand. Read it for free here.
LABOR: The United Auto Workers and the big three automakers have less than a week to reach a deal on a new contract, and little public progress has been made. UAW members have voted to authorize a strike if no deal is reached. Some estimates suggest a 10-day strike could cost the U.S. economy $5.6 billion. (Bridge MI)
BUSINESS: Officials in seven states are asking the Federal Trade Commission to oppose a merger between the grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons. Delaware Treasurer Colleen Davis (D), one of those officials seeking to block the merger, says the merger would threaten access to groceries, especially in low-income communities. (Delaware Public Media)
PRIVACY: California lawmakers are set to give final approval to legislation allowing consumers to require data brokers to delete their personal information, the data equivalent of a do-not-call list. The Delete Act passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee ahead of a key deadline, after winning broad support in the Senate earlier this year. Data brokers would be prohibited from selling or sharing a consumer’s data without permission. (Pluribus News)
GUN POLITICS: California lawmakers gave final approval to a new excise tax on guns and ammunition Thursday, requiring manufacturers, vendors and dealers to fork over an extra 11% tax. The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) for a signature or a veto. (Sacramento Bee)
HOUSING: California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation allowing religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to turn their parking lots and other property into low-income housing. Projects would be allowed to circumvent local permitting and environmental review rules. (Associated Press)
EDUCATION: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) wants lawmakers to revise a state law allowing high school sports transfers, after 10 high school football teams scored at least 60 points in their first games of the season. Lawmakers approved a bill this year, without Justice’s signature, to allow transferring students to be immediately eligible to play at their new schools. (Associated Press)
POLITICS: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) chose Secretary of State Tahesha Way as his new lieutenant governor, after the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D) passed away in August. Way, 51, has served in Murphy’s cabinet since he took office in 2018. (NJ Advance Media)
Mississippi Democrats tapped attorney Ty Pinkins (D) as their nominee for Secretary of State, after the previous nominee withdrew for health reasons. Pinkins, who is already challenging Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in next year’s election, will face incumbent Michael Watson (R) in November. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
Wisconsin Democrats are launching a $4 million effort to pressure Republicans over their threats to impeach Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Republicans have contemplated impeaching Protasiewicz if she does not recuse herself from litigation challenging the state’s district lines. (Associated Press)