Across the country, Democrats are having trouble finding serious candidates for 2018 governor races. Struggling with a depleted bench in the states and top prospects who have passed on running, Democrats have been forced to put their hopes on a backup team of candidates to replenish their diminished ranks of governors nationwide. Many of these candidates have drawn criticism for botched campaign rollouts that threaten their viability for 2018. Here are just a few examples of the rollout disasters from this cycle’s crop of Democrat gubernatorial candidates:
Nate Boulton (Iowa):
Yesterday, Nate Boulton’s campaign got off to a rough start after it was discovered that he plagiarized his campaign slogan, “Building Iowa’s Future.” While its clear that the slogan did prove effective for governor Branstad when he used it to win his fifth term as Iowa governor, Boulton apparently didn’t think anyone would notice him trying to take it for his own campaign.
Andrew Gillum (Florida):
Just one day after launching his Florida gubernatorial candidacy, Gillum was forced toapologize after admitting he used taxpayer-funded email resources as mayor of Tallahassee to send campaign materials to his supporters. In the weeks since, the Leon County Sheriff has opened a criminal investigation into Gillum’s actions and may consider prosecuting. The issue shows no signs of fading as reporters continue touncover new developments on the scandal with each passing week.
Gwen Graham (Florida):
Andrew Gillum isn’t the only Florida Democrat to experience trouble lifting off. Just 36 hours after announcing her long-awaited gubernatorial bid, Washington Politician Gwen Graham’s campaign manager abruptly quit, leaving her campaign without clear leadership. If Graham can’t even lead her own campaign, how can voters trust her to lead Florida?
Cary Kennedy (Colorado):
Colorado’s Cary Kennedy figured out the worst way possible to mark the start of both her campaign and Distracted Driving Awareness Month by launching her campaign while filming a video from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. The bizarre announcement attracted concern, coming weeks after reports of an “epidemic of distracted driving” in Colorado. Since the debacle, Kennedy has been staying out of the headlines and will hopefully spend more time focused on safe driving than campaigning.
Alec Ross (Maryland):
Just one day after announcing his candidacy for the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race, Democrat Alec Ross received a round of poor headlines after a report revealed that Ross has extensive ties to predatory colleges that have “overcharged and ruined the lives of thousands of hard-working Americans.”
Karl Dean (Tennessee)
Just weeks into his campaign for Tennessee governor, Democrat Karl Dean gave voters clear evidence that he can’t be trusted to tell the truth. The former Nashville Mayor claimed he wouldn’t raise taxes if elected, and offered his record as mayor as proof. But unfortunately for Dean, his record as mayor showed the exact opposite. Despite pledging that he would not raise taxes when he ran for office in 2007, Dean successfully pushed for a 13 percent increase in property taxes once elected.
Noah Dyer (Arizona):
Arizona Democrats cheered the entry of Noah Dyer into the governor’s race, who has gained national attention for all of the wrong reasons, bragging on his campaign website about foot rubs, sexting, and crushing personal debt. With no key prospects ready to step up to the challenge, Arizona Democrats’ bench issues are on full display with their hopes landing on Dyer’s bizarre campaign.
Bob Harlow (Wisconsin):
Despite touted prospects like Congressman Ron Kind and former State Senator Tim Cullen, Wisconsin Democrats’ are left without any major candidate in one of the most important gubernatorial contests nationwide. So far, the only major candidate is 25 year old college graduate Bob Harlow, whose only claim to fame is having lost a 2016 congressional primary election… in California.
Earlier this year, the Democratic Governors Association said “it would be impossible to lose more states to Republicans.” But if Democrat hopes for a comeback depend on this current crop of candidates, their party’s chances of a resurgence in the states isn’t looking very good.