To Flip or Not to Flip?
While Maggie Hassan’s decision this week to not seek another term as governor of New Hampshire may seem at first blush to put Democrats at a disadvantage in holding the seat, a review of Granite State gubernatorial elections suggests that might not be the case. Over the last 185+ years since the start of the two-party era in 1828, partisan control of the governorship has flipped as frequently with an incumbent running for reelection as with an open seat. There has been a change in the party controlling New Hampshire’s governor’s office in 21 of 120 cycles since 1828, or 17.5 percent of the time. In 11 of these 60 cycles, the incumbent governor did not run for reelection and control flipped, or 18 percent (in 1846, 1857, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1912, 1914, 1922, 1968, 1996, and 2002). In 10 of 60 cycles the sitting governor sought another term and the end result was an electoral loss for his party, or 17 percent: 1828 (Benjamin Pierce), 1829 (John Bell), 1847 (Anthony Colby), 1855 (Nathaniel Baker), 1872 (James Weston), 1924 (Fred Brown), 1962 (Wesley Powell), 1978 (Mel Thompson), 1982 (Hugh Gallen), and 2004 (Craig Benson).
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