Could Gary Herbert Lose in 2016?

It has been 100 years since the last elected governor from the Beehive State lost a renomination bid

garyherbert10.jpgHe has served just five-plus years in office, but Utah Governor Gary Herbert has a pathway to become his state’s second longest-serving governor…if all goes as planned in the 2016 election cycle.

Herbert, who announced he would seek a third term in 2016 last year, does not yet have a Democratic opponent, but his chief concern is whether or not a fellow Republican – namely Overstock.com executive Jonathan Johnson – will challenge him for the GOP nomination.

Herbert enjoys sky-high ratings in the Beehive State and would seemingly be considered a strong favorite against any Republican challenger – even with the state’s convention nomination format that requires the backing of 60 percent of delegates to avoid a primary runoff between the top two candidates.

In fact, it has been 100 years since the last elected governor of either party lost a renomination bid – Republican William Spry who sought a third term in 1916.

The big difference is that Herbert has not alienated his party on a lightning rod issue like Spry did when he opposed prohibition in his second term.

Overall, Utah governors have a 15-4 record in reelection bids.

In addition to Spry, Republican Charles Mabey lost the 1924 general election by six points to George Dern, Democrat Herbert Maw lost the 1948 general election by 10 points to Brack Lee, and Olene Walker, who succeeded Michael Leavitt after his resignation in 2003, placed a distant fourth at the 2004 GOP nominating convention (Jon Huntsman defeated Nolan Karras in the subsequent primary).

If victorious in 2016, Herbert would become the third governor in state history to win three terms joining Leavitt and Democrat Cal Rampton. Utah is one of 14 states that does not have any gubernatorial term limits on the books.

If Herbert wins the Republican nomination and is reelected, he will be on track to become Utah’s second longest-serving governor.

As of Thursday, Herbert currently ranks a distant #12 with 5 years, 10 months, 1 day of service, but would climb ten spots to #2 if he served out the entirety of his prospective third term.

Herbert would then have logged 11 years, 4 months, 25 days as governor – approximately seven months shy of the aforementioned Rampton, Utah’s all-time leader at 12 years from 1965 to 1977.

Leavitt (1993-2003) is currently second at 10 years, 10 months, two days with the state’s first governor, GOPer Heber Wells (1896-1905), in third at 8 years, 11 months, 28 days.

Utah Democrats are currently suffering through the party’s second-longest gubernatorial drought in the nation – losing the last nine contests since 1984 – behind only South Dakota where Democrats have lost 10 in a row since 1978.

Overall, Republicans have served as governor in Utah for 71 years, 5 months, 19 days while Democrats have served for 48 years, 11 days.

Longest-Serving Statehood Governors in Utah History

Rank
Governor
Party
Period
Years
Month
Days
# Days
1
Cal Rampton
Democrat
1965-1977
12
0
0
4,383
2
Michael Leavitt
Republican
1993-2003
10
10
2
3,958
3
Heber Wells
Republican
1896-1905
8
11
28
3,284
4
Henry Blood
Democrat
1933-1941
8
0
5
2,927
4
Brack Lee
Republican
1949-1957
8
0
5
2,927
4
Scott Matheson
Democrat
1977-1985
8
0
5
2,927
7
William Spry
Republican
1909-1917
7
11
29
2,920
7
George Dern
Democrat
1925-1933
7
11
29
2,920
7
Herbert Maw
Democrat
1941-1949
7
11
29
2,920
7
George Clyde
Republican
1957-1965
7
11
29
2,920
7
Norman Bangerter
Republican
1985-1993
7
11
29
2,920
12
Gary Herbert*
Republican
2009-present
5
10
1
2,131
13
Jon Huntsman
Republican
2005-2009
4
7
9
1,682
14
Charles Mabey
Republican
1921-1925
4
0
3
1,464
14
Simon Bamberger
Democrat
1917-1921
4
0
3
1,464
14
John Cutler
Republican
1905-1909
4
0
3
1,464
17
Olene Walker
Republican
2003-2005
1
2
1
428

* Through June 11, 2015. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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1 Comment on "Could Gary Herbert Lose in 2016?"

  1. Herbert is running for his 2ND FULL TERM in 2016.

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