From AAPL’s Legislative and Regulatory Corner -
The Results Are In: Legislative & Regulatory Recap of the November Elections
Election Day is behind us, and now legislators and industry leaders have turned their focus to the upcoming 2015 legislative session. With many major positions changing hands across the country, I’ve been traveling frequently to establish AAPL’s presence with new leaders and advocate for issues important to America’s landmen. Below is an in-depth, state-by-state recap of the November elections as well as AAPL’s top legislative priorities leading up to the new year.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS & SALES TAX ISSUES
Sales Tax Bill in Texas: The AAPL Tax Committee and Legislative and Regulatory Committee came together in October to finalize and approve the language for our bill. Phil King (R- Weatherford) pre-filed our bill last week. We sincerely appreciate his support of the oil and gas industry and landmen.
Independent Contractor Bill in Pennsylvania: We regret to inform you that Sen. Tim Solobay, who has been a strong supporter for landmen in Pennsylvania, was not re-elected. Therefore, we are currently working on finding another sponsor for our independent contractor legislation. However, momentum towards the passage of independent contractor legislation in Pennsylvania has not been lost. Our co-sponsorship memo has been completed and our bill language has been finalized. We will pre-file the bill in December. In the meantime, AAPL will be meeting with policy advisors for newly elected Gov. Tom Wolf to discuss oil and gas legislation for the upcoming session. We have submitted a white paper to his office as well on the importance of the independent contractor issue. I will also be attending the Pennsylvania Society’s Annual Dinner in December to get to know the new leadership and discuss the issues landmen currently face in Pennsylvania. Please on the lookout for email updates on the Landman Call-Up Day at the Capitol.
Independent Contractor Toolkit Update: AAPL is in its final stages of creating an online toolkit with videos, articles and important information on tax issues affecting independent landmen across the Country. The toolkit will be online before the end of the year. In the meantime, if you learn that you are being audited or facing and audit by the U.S. Department of Labor for the misclassification of independent contractors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so AAPL can help.
Comments on EPA’s Proposed ‘Clean Water Act’ Revisions: Last month, AAPL partnered with IPAA to submit comments on the EPA’s proposed revisions on the “Clean Water Act,” which seek to clarify which U.S. waters are protected under the “Clean Water Act” and speed up permit processing for water use. Specifically, the proposed rule would protect most seasonal and rain-dependent streams as well as wetlands near rivers and streams. As in years past, the Clean Water Act will not cover farmland, groundwater, ditches or ponds.
Comments on Various Endangered Species Issues: AAPL also joined IPAA in submitting formal comments on various endangered species issues across the U.S.
OUT AND ABOUT
Meetings with the Texas Railroad Commission: I traveled to Austin, Texas to participate in TXALA, the quarterly meeting of all local landman associations in Texas. We met with incoming Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton to discuss his goals and thoughts for his term of service. In addition, I also participated in an event with Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick and Representative Phil King (R- Weatherford). We came together to discuss oil and gas legislation for the 2015 Texas session.
Hydraulic Fracturing Debate: I also attended a debate on hydraulic fracturing in Brookhaven Community College with FrackNation filmmaker Phelim McAleer. It is more apparent to me than ever that we need to promote the facts about fracking. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read and download AAPL's Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet, so that you can share its contents with landowners, colleagues and members of your community.
Legislative & Regulatory Recap for ARKLATEX: This month, I traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana to present a U.S. legislative and regulatory update for ARKLATEX and its members. If your local association is interested in having me present this regulatory update for your membership, please email me email@example.com.
2014 ELECTION RECAP
With the election results counted and confirmed in most states, Republicans came out on top in a big way across the country, picking up four seats and retaining seats in states where they were expecting to face tough challenges. Prior to the elections, Republicans held a comfortable lead, edging out the Democrats 29-21. With vulnerable Republican incumbent governors across the country defending their seats, the Democrats were widely expected to slightly even these numbers out, if not pull ahead altogether. The Republican wave that stormed the nation on election day saw to the opposite of this, with Republicans bringing their total to 33 seats while Democrats saw their minority whittled down to 17. These numbers could have skewed even further to the right, had Colorado incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper not narrowly defeated his Republican challenger. Traditional Democratic strongholds in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts all saw Republicans turn the tables and claim the governor’s seat, while Democrats only managed to snatch away Pennsylvania from the Republicans. A unique independent coalition in Alaska is on pace to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell though not all of the votes have been tallied. A loss for Governor Parnell would make Alaska the only state with a party-unaffiliated governor. Rapidly reddening Arkansas, as predicted, switched its affiliation from Democratic to Republican upon the retirement of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.
These results are especially surprising because Republicans were polling down or even in many of the states that they managed to hold onto, including Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin. Overall, elections were held in 36 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Below, we take a look at the outcome of each individual race including the policymaking implications that the results carry for each state.
Alabama Republican incumbent Gov. Robert Bentley won reelection against Democratic challenger and former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith with nearly two-thirds of the vote, according to WHNT.com. Governor Bentley held a strong edge throughout the race which centered on education, Medicaid expansion and job creation. Bentley will likely keep Alabama as one of the many states to not expand Medicaid and continue pursuing new incentives to attract businesses, such as lowering corporate tax rates. Several of these policies were outlined in his campaign. Former Representative Griffith switched parties from Democrat to Republican while serving in Congress and later switched back to the Democratic Party, following a brief period as an Independent. Griffith said his campaign was “hurt” by his late entry into the race, reports The State.
Alaska’s unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker holds a thin lead over incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, though with thousands of early and absentee ballots still uncounted, the results will not be completely finalized for at least a week, the Bradenton Herald reports. At the time of reporting, Walker had pulled in 48 percent to Parnell’s 46.6 percent. Republicans have held the state’s top office since 2002; a win by Walker could change the policy direction for the state and would mark the first time in the state’s history that a nonpartisan candidate was elected governor. Walker’s likely win comes after a campaign run on economic issues, including plans to ensure completion of a large volume gas line for shipment to Asia. He also promoted incentives for value-added industries, including resource processing, manufacturing and services, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Parnell’s reputation was bruised following a barrage of bad press over his handling of a National Guard scandal and the poor economic landscape the state faces with its deficit of over $2 billion, the Alaska Dispatch News also reports.
Arizona’s term limits have shooed out incumbent Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Her place will be taken by Republican Doug Ducey, who prevailed with 53.9 percent of the vote over his Democratic challenger, Fred DuVal, who picked up only 41.4 percent. Third party candidates captured just under five percent of the vote, The New York Times reports. Despite Ducey’s wide margin of victory, he fought a bitter campaign against DuVal that broke the record as the state’s most expensive gubernatorial race. Incumbent state treasurer and former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, Ducey ran on a platform of kick starting the economy with start-up businesses, recruiting entrepreneurs and investors and by limiting government spending. He also vowed to overhaul education funding and cut taxes, The Arizona Republic reports. In his concession speech, DuVal took a shot at Ducey’s well-funded campaign. “I would like to call and congratulate the other big winners of tonight’s races,” DuVal said, “but frankly a lot of the big winners are undisclosed, unknown and out-of-state.”
In Arkansas, Republican Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson defeated Democratic challenger Mike Ross by a nearly 14-point margin, securing the state’s top office after eight years of Democratic control. The Secretary of State officially puts the tally at 56 percent for Hutchinson, 41 percent for Ross and three percent for third party candidates. Democratic incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe was term limited. Arkansas Matters reports that Ross has conceded defeat to Hutchinson, who will be sworn into office in January. Republicans now control both chambers of the state’s legislature in addition to the governor’s office, giving the GOP complete control over the policy direction of the state, whereas Democrat Beebe had previously served as a check on the state’s newly conservative legislature.
California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown won handily over Republican challenger Neel Kashkari, 58-41, according to the Secretary of State’s office. While this outcome is not surprising, it did elect Governor Brown to a historic fourth term in the office, bolstered by a recovering state economy. In the Los Angeles Times, Stanford political scientist Bruce Cain was wary about giving Brown sole credit for this recovery, and noted that his third term began just as the economic recovery was beginning: “Mayors and governors get more credit than they deserve when things get better. They get more blame than they deserve when things get worse.” Brown used the occasion to comment on the Republican Party’s national success with an agenda of fiscal restraint, arguing, “The rest of the country, they’re going in a slightly different direction. In California, we are going in, I think, a very progressive but fiscally responsible direction.”
In a race that few originally expected to be close, Colorado Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper narrowly defeated Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Beauprez made a previous unsuccessful run for governor in 2006, where he lost by 17 points, according to Summit Daily.
Connecticut Democratic incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy won reelection to a second term, narrowly defeating Republican challenger Tom Foley with 50 percent to Foley’s 48 percent, Politico reports. Leading up to the election, the two were in a dead heat. Governor Malloy beat Foley in a 2010 bid for the governor’s office by a mere .07 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. Though Malloy was Connecticut’s first Democratic governor since 1986, a Republican win would have been a blow to the heavily Democratic state.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott won a second term over former governor, Democrat Charlie Crist. As expected, the race was a close one, with Governor Scott winning 48.2 percent of the vote and Crist 47.1 percent. The Wall Street Journal reports that despite Scott receiving low approval ratings, voters supported Scott over Crist, who had switched political parties and reversed his stance on many issues since holding the governorship from 2007-2011. The race was notable in the amount of money spent on television advertisements, $61 million by Scott and $34 million by Crist, according to The Center for Public Integrity. As part of his campaign, Scott promised to spend the next two years reducing taxes through his “Let’s Keep Working” tax cuts, which would lead to one billion in tax reductions over the next two years through tax holidays and cuts, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
After a highly competitive race in Georgia, Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal was able to hold onto the governor’s seat for a second term. Governor Deal beat Democratic challenger Jason Carter by eight percentage points, as reported by CNN. Thus securing Georgia’s executive branch for the Republicans and squashing the Democrats’ hope of shifting partisan balance in the deeply red state.
In Hawaii, Democrat David Ige won the Aloha State’s gubernatorial seat as expected, defeating Republican opponent Duke Aiona with 49.5 percent of the vote. Aiona pulled in 36.9 percent of the vote while Independents Mufi Hannemann and Jeff Davis earned 11.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, The New York Times reports. Ige will replace current Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who became the state’s first incumbent governor to lose in the primary. Ige, the current chairman of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee, earned support from labor, business and environmental interests and from Japanese-Americans, seniors and union households, the Honolulu Star Advisor reports. Bixby Ho, the vice chair of the Oahu County Democratic Party, said that despite the broad gains made by the Republicans nationwide, Hawaii did “very awesome,” according to the Honolulu Civil Beat. “As long as Hawaii pulled through,” Ho said, “that’s what matters.”
Idaho Republican incumbent Gov. Butch Otter won his bid for a third term. The Associated Press announced almost immediately after the polls closed that Governor Otter won 54 percent of the vote compared to Democratic challenger A.J. Balukoff, who won 39 percent of the vote and was unwilling to concede defeat when the race was called after only 34 percent of the votes had been counted. At his victory speech Otter focused on his opposition to same-sex marriage, “You know there’s an old cowboy code called the code of the West, and it’s, you know, cowboys understand the difference between rules and principles. Rules can change but principles can’t.” Otter is free to run again in the next election, as the state has no term limits. He is only the second governor in the state’s history to be elected for a third consecutive four year term, according to The Kansas City Star.
Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn reluctantly conceded defeat on November 5, the Chicago Tribune reports. Republican Bruce Rauner won 51 percent of the vote to Governor Quinn’s 46 percent. Quinn had initially refused to admit defeat while the votes were still being counted on Tuesday evening, stating, “I don’t believe in throwing in the towel,” the Chicago Tribune also reported. Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm won three percent of the vote. Politico called this “one of the most competitive gubernatorial races of the 2014 cycle,” and noted that Rauner effectively focused on Quinn’s vulnerabilities on the state’s unemployment rate, tax code and education funding, in addition to his ties to corrupt former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Iowa’s longtime incumbent governor, Republican Terry Branstad, faced an election challenge from Democrat Jack Hatch, a state Senator and former Representative. Governor Branstad’s popularity in the Hawkeye state remained strong and he won reelection with about 59 percent of the vote. Branstad is now on pace to become the longest serving governor in U.S. history, according to The Des Moines Register.
The governor’s race in Kansas was considered to be one of the most hotly contested prior to the election. Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback faced Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Davis in a race that The New York Times described as a referendum on the governor’s policies. Several sitting and former Republican officials had endorsed Davis during the campaign. Governor Brownback’s defeat of Davis was slim, with his opponent managing to take 46 percent of the vote. The win will now allow Brownback the time needed to see if his controversial economic and tax policies will “bear fruit”, according to Politico.
Maine’s Republican incumbent Gov. Paul LePage won reelection with just over 48 percent of the vote, Bangor Daily News reports. Democratic challenger Michael Michaud received 43 percent of the vote and liberal leaning Independent candidate Elliot Cutler received over eight percent of the vote. If elected Michaud would have been the first openly gay man or woman to be elected governor in the nation’s history. Governor LePage was seen as one of the most vulnerable gubernatorial incumbents facing reelection. This was the most expensive gubernatorial contest in Maine’s history, with outside groups spending nearly $14 million trying to influence the race according to Bangor Daily News. LePage will not be eligible for reelection in 2018 due to term limits.
In Maryland, Republican businessman Larry Hogan defeated Democratic Lt. Governor Anthony Brown 54 percent to 45 percent, representing a significant upset in the traditionally blue state, NBC Washington reports. Hogan, who served as a cabinet secretary in the administration of former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, focused his campaign on the economy and promising to cut taxes while Brown pledged to close the wealth gap and offer free pre-kindergarten statewide. According to The Baltimore Sun, Brown held a significant fundraising advantage, spending nearly four times that of Hogan, who became the first state candidate in two decades to utilize the state’s public financing system. In the closing weeks of the campaign Brown received support from a number of high-profile Democrats including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but he was unable to distance himself from the declining popularity of current Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, Politico reports.
Republicans retook the Massachusetts governorship after Republican Charles Baker narrowly won election over Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, reports The Boston Globe. Democrats had held the seat since 2007, but Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision not to run for reelection left a vacancy in a state known for electing Republican governors despite having a historically Democratic legislature. Baker received 48.4 percent of the vote to Coakley’s 46.6 percent, marking the second high profile loss for Coakley, who previously lost the special election for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to Republican Scott Brown. According to The Wall Street Journal, Baker’s win is an indication that voters felt he would do a better job with the state’s economy. Baker also campaigned on welfare reform, expanding the number of charter schools and reducing college education costs.
Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder defeated Democratic challenger Mark Schauer 51 percent to 47 percent, securing another four-year term in another of the nation’s most watched races. During the campaign Governor Snyder touted his record of reduced regulations, $1.8 billion in business tax cuts and his handling of Detroit’s chapter nine bankruptcy proceedings. Schauer, a former Congressman and state legislator, promised to repeal the pension tax and increase funding for K-12 education. The race was forecasted to be a much closer contest with polls showing Snyder and Schauer running within a few percentage points of each other, the Detroit Free Press reports. This election will be Snyder’s last for the state’s highest office, as he will be term limited in 2018.
According to Minnesota’s election results, as reported by The Minnesota Post, incumbent Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Tina Smith, his Lieutenant Governor running mate and former chief of staff, have squeaked a victory over Republican opponents Jeff Johnson and Bill Kuisle by a mere 5.5 percentage points, receiving 50.1 percent of the vote versus Johnson and Kuisle’s 44.5 percent. Governor Dayton may face a tougher crowd during his next term, however, as the balance of power in the state House has shifted in the Republicans’ favor, weakening Democrats’ overall legislative control.
Nebraska Republican Pete Ricketts won the gubernatorial race beating his Democratic challenger Chuck Hassenbrook by a nearly 20-point margin, according to The Associated Press. During his campaign, he focused on cutting taxes, limiting benefits to undocumented individuals and career and vocational training to help expand jobs in manufacturing. In his acceptance speech, Governor-elect Ricketts said, “It’s not a lot of rocket science, folks. We know that we have to have tax relief – especially property taxes. That we have to grow the economy, especially manufacturing and agriculture. And that we have to improve educational outcomes for all of our kids here in the state,” according to netnebraska.org. Governor-elect Ricketts, a multimillionaire former executive at TD Ameritrade, will replace Republican Gov. Dave Heineman who was unable to run for reelection due to term limits.
Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval was easily reelected with 70 percent of the vote compared to the 23 percent garnered by his closest challenger Democrat Robert Goodman, the Las Vegas Sun reports. According to KTVN, Governor Sandoval held a significant fundraising edge with a campaign fund of more than $3.7 million while Goodman failed to raise $10,000 for the general election.
New Hampshire media outlet WMUR.com reports that Democratic incumbent Gov. Maggie Hassan has won reelection with 53 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Walt Havenstein by six percentage points. Governor Hassan will face a divided government as Republicans maintained their hold on the Senate and took decisive control of the House in this election.
New Mexico’s incumbent Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has won a second term, The New York Times reports. Governor Martinez earned 57.3 percent of the votes above Democratic opponent Gary King, who earned 42.7 percent. Previously serving as the district attorney in Las Cruces, Martinez became the first woman to govern the state and the first female Hispanic governor. Martinez has stated that even if she is offered the vice presidential spot on the Republican ticket in 2016, as some have speculated, she will serve the full four years of her second term, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. Her first term was marked by contentious battles with the Democratic controlled legislature, who refused to confirm Martinez’s choice for education secretary, Hanna Skandara. The legislature also refused to pass a requirement that third-graders who fail reading tests be held back. The repeal of a law allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses has been a significant topic of her tenure as well; Martinez has vowed to continue her push to repeal the law in her second term. This term will be Martinez’s last, as the state’s constitution limits governors to two consecutive terms.
New York’s Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo won reelection with 54 percent to Republican challenger Rob Astorino’s 41 percent, according to The New York Times. With little-known Democratic challenger Zephyr Teachout taking a third of the vote in the Democratic primary and federal prosecutors investigating Governor Cuomo for shutting down his own ethics panel, the race did not go as smoothly as projected and alienated many Democrats from their own nominee. Despite these setbacks, Governor Cuomo was widely expected to win in the solidly blue state in the months leading up to the election.
Ohio’s incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich won reelection with a commanding 64 percent of the vote to Democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald’s 33 percent, according to Politico. In a state that held a Republican trifecta before the 2014 election cycle, Governor Kasich was widely expected to win the race.
Oklahoma’s incumbent Republican Gov. Mary Fallin won reelection against Democratic Rep. Joe Dorman. According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, Governor Fallin received 56 percent of the vote to Dorman’s 41 percent. News OK reports that Fallin’s win was expected after her role in the state’s recovery from recession in an election where Republicans swept all statewide offices.
Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber overcame late-breaking scandals to win an unprecedented fourth term in office against Republican Rep. Dennis Richardson. Politico reports that Governor Kitzhaber has won 49.5 percent of the vote with 93 percent of precincts reporting, with Richardson falling behind at 45.1 percent. This race was the most controversial Kitzhaber has ever faced, according to the Oregonian, with the timely disclosure of his fiancée’s green card marriage as a young woman and questions surrounding the dismissal of a top aide. In his speech on Tuesday night, Kitzhaber thanked the state for trusting him through trying times: “I stand here tonight because Oregonians stuck with me under difficult circumstances. I do not take that for granted, and I will not let you down.”
Pennsylvania is the only state that will switch party affiliations from Republican to Democrat in 2014. Democrat Tom Wolf beat out widely unpopular Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett with 54.9 percent of the vote. This makes Corbett the first sitting governor to lose reelection in Pennsylvania since the state first allowed two-term administrations in 1968, as reported by Governing. This shift in partisan control over the executive seat divides state control, as the legislature remains decidedly red, NCSL reports. This poses a difficult challenge for Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s effectiveness going forward with a high potential for gridlock.
Rhode Island’s Democratic State Treasurer and Governor-elect Gina Raimondo pulled out a win over Republican and Mayor of Cranston Allan Fung, and Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey. According to the state’s Board of Elections, Raimondo captured 40 percent of the vote to Fung’s 36 and Healey’s 22. This win makes Raimondo the first woman to be elected governor of the state, and marks the first time since 1991 that a Democratic candidate has won the governor’s election, according to the Providence Journal. Democratic incumbent Gov. Lincoln Chafee won in 2011 as an Independent and switched his affiliation to Democrat in 2013. Governor Chafee opted not to run for reelection following this conversion. This victory gives Democrats full control of state governance, as they have long dominated both chambers of the state’s legislature.
In South Carolina, Republican incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley easily defeated Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen to capture her second four-year term in the state’s highest executive office. The South Carolina Elections Board reports that Governor Haley won over Sheheen by a 56-41 margin, with three percent of votes going to third party candidates. According to The Post and Courier, the Associated Press called the election for Haley just a minute after the official polls closed, based on exit polling data. Three hours later, Sheheen conceded defeat to the popular incumbent. As a result, the GOP will retain its tight grip over governance in the Palmetto State. Due to the state’s two-term limit, Governor Haley will not be eligible for reelection in 2018.
South Dakota’s gubernatorial election was one of the least competitive this cycle, with Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard easily winning reelection over Democratic challenger Susan Wismer by a 46-point margin. The incumbent had long been considered a shoo-in, according to the Associated Press. Officially, Governor Daugaard captured 71 percent of the vote to Wismer’s 25, with third party candidate Michael Myers garnering only four percent according to the Secretary of State. This will be Daugaard’s second consecutive four-year term; he is term limited in 2018.
Tennessee’s Republican incumbent Gov. Bill Haslam was reelected to a second term in Tennessee with 70 percent of the votes. This was the expected outcome, as Democratic challenger Charlie Brown did not raise money in his bid for office, essentially making the race uncontested for Governor Haslam, according to Channel 3 News.
Texas Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott beat Democratic opponent former Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth as predicted, according to The Dallas Morning News. Governor-elect Abbott ran his campaign promising lower taxes, smaller government, stricter border security and investment in roads and public education. According to Real Clear Politics, Abbott earned a comfortable majority of the vote with 59.3 percent to Davis’ 38.9 percent.
Vermont’s Democratic incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin has declared victory over Republican challenger Scott Milne, capturing 46 percent of the vote to Milne’s 45 percent. However, Milne has yet to concede the race, according to the Associated Press. This is due to a quirk in Vermont’s election law which sends the race to the General Assembly for decision if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote, an occurrence that has happened 23 times in Vermont history. As a result, an official winner will not be chosen until January when the legislature convenes, though lawmakers are likely to affirm the voters’ choice and crown Governor Shumlin as the winner. Such a narrow mandate could spell trouble for Shumlin, who has stated he will step down as Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. The narrow margin of victory is rooted in the political turmoil the second-term incumbent has faced over the troubled roll out of Vermont Health Connect, the state’s healthcare exchange, and the financing for the state’s single payer health insurance plan.
Wisconsin’s Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker won his third election in four years after gaining 52 percent of the vote and defeating Democratic challenger Mary Burke in a race that was widely expected to be much more competitive, according to The New York Times. Governor Walker previously won a 2012 recall election against Democratic opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, making him the only governor in state history to survive a recall election. Walker’s effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions was again one of the election’s main issues. There is no limit to the number of terms a governor may serve in Wisconsin, though it is widely believed that Walker has ambitions of pursuing the national stage Bloomberg reports.
Wyoming’s Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Mead handily defeated Democratic challenger Pete Gosar with 62 percent of the vote to Gosar’s 29 percent, according to k2radio.com. In a statement about his reelection, Governor Mead said he plans to use his next term to work on energy and water strategies, expanding technology and broadband, and how to distribute the state’s $2 billion surplus. With an election summary from NCSL showing that the state legislature maintains a Republican supermajority in both chambers, the governor will be in a good position to work toward these goals.
As always, we welcome your input as we continue to work on behalf of landmen, and we will update you as new developments occur. Are there any other regulatory developments or landman issues AAPL should be focusing on? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Association of Professional Landmen
Governmental Affairs Liaison