Three sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent (or a governor not elected to the position): Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010), outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006), and Republican Gary Herbert of Utah  (64.1 percent). [Heineman and Herbert had not previously won  gubernatorial contests but were incumbents at the time after ascending to the position via succession. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


  1. Nikoli Orr on April 9, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Unlike Mead, Heineman WAS an incumbent state governor when he posted the state record; first, though, he had to turn back a high-profile intraparty challenge from “God” (aka then-“Central & West” Representative Tom Osbourne, of the U of NE fame).

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