With so much attention focused on the presidential election, it is easy to lose sight that there are many important Governor, state, county and municipal elections that will determine our future government leaders.
Because anti-labor organizations such as the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Right-To-Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council and the wealthy individuals such as the Koch brothers who fund them have not been successful at the federal level, these organizations have increasingly focused on state elections to advance their agenda.
Unfortunately, we have seen these anti-labor organizations achieve big victories to impose right-to-work in Indiana and Michigan in 2012, Wisconsin in 2015 and West Virginia earlier this year. These groups have also had success in repealing state prevailing wage laws.
On November 8, there are 12 states that will elect a new governor (Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia), and political analysts have reported that 6 out of the 12 state governor races are very competitive toss-up races.
Indiana - Governor Mike Pence narrowly defeated John Gregg in 2012, and Pence was facing a difficult re-election campaign as a result of his divisive and poor governance. John Gregg was in strong position to defeat Pence in a rematch before Pence resigned to become Donald Trump's Vice President candidate. With Pence's resignation, John Gregg now faces Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb, and this will be an extremely close election. Vice President Terry Lynch scheduled a meeting a meeting for John Gregg to meet with our Indiana Insulator leaders, and we are working very hard to make John Gregg Indiana's next governor.
Missouri - Democrat Governor Jay Nixon has been an outstanding governor and has vetoed Right-to-Work legislation in Missouri. Because of term limits, Governor Nixon is not able to run for re-election and the race is between Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Republican candidate Eric Greitens. Because the Missouri State Legislature is likely to remain in Republican control, it is imperative for Chris Koster to win; otherwise, it is almost certain that right-to-work legislation will be enacted in Missouri. Chris Koster will need the full support of each and every trades member to win this election.
New Hampshire - Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan has chosen to run for the U.S. Senate and the open race for governor features many Democrat and Republican candidates who are running to replace Governor Hassan. The NH primary for governor will take place on September 13 when we will know who the party candidates will be. Because New Hampshire is a battleground state in the presidential and senate campaigns, the race for governor will also be extremely competitive.
North Carolina - The Democratic candidate, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Copper has a very good opportunity to defeat Republican Governor Pat McCrory because of McCrory's support for an extreme social agenda. Similar to New Hampshire, North Carolina is a battleground state where the races for president, senate and governor will be competitive.
Vermont - Democrat Governor Peter Shumlin is not running for reelection, and the race will be between Vermont Department of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter who won the Democratic nomination, and Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott who won the Republican primary. While Vermont elected very progressive candidates including U.S. Bernie Sanders to the U.S. Senate, the last two open seat elections for governor in Vermont have been very close.
West Virginia - Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is not able to run for re-election because of term limits, and the race is between is between Democrat Jim Justice and Republican Bill Cole. While West Virginia has had a Democratic Governor since 2000, Republicans won control of the state legislature in 2014. So, it is important for Justice to win.
State legislative elections are also very important to ensure that strong labor protections are preserved, and destructive bills to undermine the trades are defeated. Control of state legislative chambers is also crucial as we approach the 2020 Census, and the state legislatures begin redistricting work to develop the new legislative maps.
At the Insulators lunch for the U.S. Building Trades Legislative Conference, General President McCourt invited Mark Schauer, the Director of the Advantage 2020 to make a presentation on the importance of winning state legislative seats, and the Insulators are supporting this important work.