2012 WA Senate and Governor Races

University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato says that in 2012, Sen. Maria Cantwell is safe for re-election but that the Governor’s race will be a toss-up if Christine Gregoire does not run for a third term.  He also thinks Obama should carry our state next year.

Senate:

“Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) is an automatic favorite for reelection to a third term. She doesn’t have a particularly high profile, nor does she have an intense popular following. But she’s a Democrat and an incumbent in a state that isn’t inclined to support Republicans in most circumstances. President Obama should win handily in Washington, as he did in 2008, and that ought to be enough for Cantwell.”

Governor:

“This is likely to be one of the most competitive gubernatorial elections in the country in 2012. While she has made no formal announcement and has been careful not to disclose her intentions, Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to retire after serving two terms. She has never achieved deep popularity—in part because she was unable to overcome the controversial way she became chief executive in the extremely close, disputed election of 2004. Normally, one would think the Republican nominee, likely to be state Attorney General Rob McKenna, would have an edge. It may work out that way. But Congressman Jay Inslee, the probable Democratic candidate, will be a fierce competitor in a state that has become a Democratic stronghold. President Obama is the favorite to win Washington again in 2012, creating coattails for Inslee. The last Republican to serve as governor in this state was John Spellman, a one-termer elected in 1980. This is the longest gubernatorial dry spell for the GOP in the nation—but sooner or later, dry spells end. Will 2012 be the year?”

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