MEMO: RGA’s 2014 Election Results


FROM: Phil Cox, RGA Executive Director

TO: RGA Donors & Interested Parties

RE: RGA’s 2014 Election Results


Tuesday’s election had extraordinary outcomes for Republican Governors and candidates.

The RGA’s task was to defend 22 states, and 19 incumbents, including 9 states President Obama won twice.

The results are in:

·         The RGA increased its number of governors from 29 to 31

·         There are seven new Republican governors: Charlie Baker (MA), Greg Abbott (TX), Larry Hogan (MD), Bruce Rauner (IL), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Doug Ducey (AZ), and Pete Ricketts (NE)

·         We won in the biggest and most competitive states: Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois

·         The RGA picked up 4 Democratic-held states: Arkansas, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts. This includes two states that President Obama won twice (MD and MA) and one state that President Obama won three times, Illinois.

·         The RGA set fundraising records, having raised $97 million in 2014, $150 million for the two-year cycle, and $106 million during Gov. Christie’s tenure as Chairman.

·         The RGA served as the principle outside group in this cycle’s governors races.

RGA spent a total of $130 million. Of note, RGA spent:

·         $100 million on states where GOP candidates won

·         $90 million in states that were decided by 6% or less

·         $80 million attacking Democrats who were challenging GOP seats

·         $50 million challenging Democratic incumbents and blue state candidates

·         $28 million in Democratic-held states where GOP candidates won

·         $40 million in the RGA’s three biggest defenses: Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin

·         The RGA went into debt in order to invest in Maryland


·         The RGA spent $130 million to the Democratic Governors Association’s (DGA) $70 million in 2014.

·         Also attacking Republicans, Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action PAC spent $17 million against GOP Governors in four states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine.

·         The DGA and other Democratic aligned groups spent more than $130 million on gubernatorial races nationwide. Additionally, Big Labor put more than $200 million into states with gubernatorial races including:

o   In Florida, Democratic groups, including the DGA and Tom Steyer, spent $21 million. To combat their efforts, the RGA spent $19 million.

o   In Michigan, Democratic groups – which include seven different entities – spent $21 million. The RGA spent $14 million, surpassing our efforts in the state in 2010.

o   In Kansas, Democratic groups spent $3 million. The RGA spent $5 million.

o   In Wisconsin, Democratic groups – including six different entities – spent $10 million. The RGA and its partner spent $8 million in 2014. To defend Governor Walker in 2014, the RGA and other conservative groups, spent $10 million to match Democrat spending. In 2010, the RGA spent $5.2 million. In 2012, the RGA spent $8.9 million.

o   In Massachusetts, Democratic groups, including Massachusetts independent expenditures, spent $8.2 million. The RGA invested $11.2 million.

o   In Maryland, Democratic groups spent $2 million. The RGA spent $1.2 million.

o   In Arkansas, Democratic groups spent $4 million. The RGA spent $6.2 million.


In a number of states, the RGA made the strategic decision to spend early in order to put competitive races out of the Democrats’ reach, narrowing the defensive map, and allowing us to put more resources into fewer states post-Labor Day.

These early investments helped to fundamentally change the landscape of the race and ultimately led to victory. In Ohio, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Iowa, our incumbent governors went from single-digit leads earlier this year to healthy double-digit leads, thanks, in part, to the RGA’s early investment.

Ohio: Governor John Kasich defeated Democrat Ed FitzGerald 64% to 32%. In the spring, Gov. Kasich led FitzGerald by single digits. RGA spent $4 million, running four television ads detailing John Kasich’s successes, and why Democrat Ed FitzGerald’s numerous scandals demonstrated a lack of leadership. At the close of RGA’s flights of TV, Rasmussen showed Kasich ahead by 20 points.

New Mexico: Governor Martinez won reelection 58% to 42%. In April, public and internal polling showed Gov. Martinez leading by 7 points. RGA began advertising the day after the June 3 primary, spending $750,000 on both English and Spanish-language ads to define her opponent, Attorney General Gary King. Governor Martinez continued a strong campaign and maintained a healthy cash advantage throughout the remaining months, helping boost her lead to an average of 15 points. This allowed the RGA to focus resources elsewhere.

Iowa: Governor Branstad defeated Democrat Jack Hatch 59% to 37%. The RGA supported Governor Branstad with over $2.3 million. In April, internal polling showed the governor with a narrow single-digit lead. The RGA hit the airwaves immediately after the June 3 primary, spending $1.2 million to attack for sponsoring legislation from which he could line his own pockets.  Throughout the summer the ballot shifted a net-11 points to put Branstad over 50%, where he remained through the fall. The RGA spending in Iowa also helped Senate candidate Joni Ernst cross the finish line. Ensuring a strong gubernatorial campaign allowed Governor Branstad to introduce Ernst to his vast statewide network.

South Carolina: Governor Nikki Haley defeated Democrat Vincent Sheheen 56% to 41%. In April, public and internal polling showed Gov. Haley to be leading by 15 points.  The RGA spent $2 million on a series of five ads highlighting Sheheen’s support for Obamacare, and his record defending violent criminals. Governor Haley followed with positive ads lauding the improved economic climate in South Carolina. This progression transformed a single-digit lead into a 26-point lead in late May, and Gov. Haley maintained a double- digit lead heading into Election Day.


The RGA spent $61 million to successfully defend the following incumbents:

Florida: GovernorRick Scott defeated Charlie Crist 48.2% to 47%. The RGA was a strong partner in Governor Scott’s re-election victory, contributing $19 million directly to Scott’s Let’s Get to Work committee and the Republican Party of Florida. This $19 million commitment represents the largest expenditure in a single state in RGA’s history.

Michigan: Governor Rick Snyder defeated Mark Schauer 51% to 47%. The RGA was a key investor in Governor Snyder’s re-election victory, spending $14.1 million on paid media beginning in the spring when Big Labor signaled they would work to defeat Snyder. The RGA ran 11 television ads in Michigan, detailing Democrat Mark Schauer’s record of wrong, expensive choices that fueled Michigan’s lost decade.

Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker defeated Mary Burke 52% to 46%. Together with our partner, the RGA spent $8 million for paid media. The RGA ran six television ads in Wisconsin, detailing Democrat Mary Burke’s record of raising taxes, wasteful spending, and lost jobs during her time in the failed Doyle administration; and why Burke was unfit to lead after it was revealed she plagiarized her campaign’s jobs plan.

Maine: Governor Paul LePage defeated Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler 48% to 44%. The RGA was an early and consistent investor in Governor LePage’s re-election effort, spending $5.1 million supporting an aggressive media program, mail program, and ground game efforts. The RGA ran 11 television ads in Maine, detailing Governor LePage’s record of successful reform, and why Democrat Mike Michaud’s priorities of taxing Social Security and giving welfare to illegal immigrants were wrong for Maine.

Kansas: Governor Sam Brownback defeated Democrat Paul Davis 50% to 46%. The RGA spent $5 million on paid media and mail. The RGA ran seven television ads in Kansas, detailing Davis’ liberal record of hiking taxes, his support for President Obama’s failed agenda, and his demonstration of poor behavior.

Georgia: Governor Nathan Deal defeated Democrat Jason Carter 53% to 44%. The RGA spent nearly $5 million on paid media and mail for Governor Deal. The RGA ran five television ads, detailing Carter’s support for expanding Obamacare, his failure to put forward a plan that would create jobs, and his record of voting against more education funding.

Arizona (Open): Doug Ducey defeated Democrat Fred Duval 54% to 41%. The RGA spent $5.2 million on paid media and mail. The RGA ran six television ads, including one Spanish-language, detailing DuVal’s record of raising tuition on middle class families. The ads also defined DuVal as a slick lobbyist with a liberal agenda that was wrong for Arizona.


Nebraska: Governor-elect Pete Ricketts defeated Democrat Chuck Hassebrook 58% to 39%. The RGA spent $500,000 in the summer on paid media. The RGA ran two television ads highlighting Hassebrook’s liberal record and his support for President Obama’s failed agenda.

Texas: Governor-elect Greg Abbott defeated Democrat Wendy Davis 60% to 39%. The RGA was a strong partner in Abbott’s victory, contributing $1 million for Texas women and Latino voter outreach efforts.

Idaho: Governor Butch Otter defeated Democrat A.J. Balukoff 56% to 37%. The RGA spent $1.2 million on paid media. The RGA ran three television ads during the election detailing Balukoff’s liberal record and his support for President Obama’s failed agenda.

Oklahoma: Governor Mary Fallin defeated Democrat Joe Dorman 55% to 41%. The RGA was a proud partner in Governor Fallin’s re-election victory, spending $250,000 on paid media. The RGA ran one television ad during the election detailing Dorman’s support for President Obama’s failed policies and how Governor Fallin is growing Oklahoma.


Four Republican gubernatorial candidates took the state house from Democrats:

Maryland: Governor-elect Larry Hogan defeated Democrat Anthony Brown 54% to 44%. The RGA went into debt in order to spend more than $1.2 million in the final weeks of the campaign on paid media. The RGA’s statewide broadcast efforts detailed Anthony Brown’s support for higher taxes and fees on a multitude of items, and defined Brown as the second string for Martin O’Malley’s third high-tax term.

Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson defeated Democrat Mike Ross 55% to 41%. The RGA spent $6.2 million on paid media, mail, and an aggressive field program. The RGA ran 10 television ads detailing Ross’ voting record of higher taxes and more spending, and highlighting his longtime support for the failed policies of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. RGA spending in Arkansas helped Senator-elect Tom Cotton cross the finish line.

Illinois: Bruce Rauner defeated Democratic incumbent Governor Pat Quinn in President Obama’s home state 50% to 45%. The RGA provided nearly $9 million in direct donations to the Rauner campaign, including $1 million spent on a comprehensive voter integrity operation to ensure a fair election.

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker defeated Democrat Martha Coakley 48% to 46%. The RGA was a strong partner in Baker’s victory, investing $11.2 million, including $10.4 million in contributions to our in-state partner, Commonwealth Future IE PAC.  Commonwealth Future ran 10 television ads detailing Martha Coakley’s proposal for millions in new spending, higher taxes and a record of sticking middle class families with higher bills. The ads also highlighted why Charlie Baker had the right experience and plan to lead Massachusetts forward. 


The RGA spent $20 million challenging Democrats in blue states, forcing DGA to spend significant resources, which was money that could not be used to go after Republican governors.

Colorado: The RGA was a key investor in Beauprez’s campaign, spending $6.7 million following the August primary through Election Day with paid media. The RGA ran five television ads detailing how Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper’s weak leadership, poor decision-making and inaction were wrong for Colorado. Colorado is an example of states where RGA spending helped the Senate candidate, Cory Gardner, cross the finish line.

New Hampshire: While GOP candidate Walt Havenstein came up short, the RGA spent $3.1 million to defeat Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, mostly on paid media. The RGA ran three television ads detailing how Hassan’s out-of-touch record and her support for Obamacare and raising taxes was wrong for New Hampshire.

Rhode Island: GOP candidate Allan Fung ran a strong campaign but ultimately came up short against Gina Raimondo. The RGA and its allies spent more than $700,000 in support of Fung, including three television ads critical of Raimondo’s taxpayer-funded bailout and willingness to raise taxes.

Connecticut: While Tom Foley didn’t win, he waged an excellent campaign. The RGA was a strong partner in Foley’s effort, investing and raising $7 million for independent efforts, including $5.4 million it contributed to Grow Connecticut, an in-state PAC. Grow Connecticut ran 11 television ads, including four Spanish-language ads, detailing Democratic Governor Dan Malloy’s record of high tax raises, broken promises, and failed leadership.

Hawaii: While GOP candidate Duke Aiona didn’t win, he ran a strong campaign. The American Comeback Committee, an RGA affiliate, was a key investor in Aiona’s victory, spending $2.3 million on television, radio and a GOTV mail program. The American Comeback Committee ran six television ads detailing Democrat David Ige’s support for higher taxes and fees and his role in the nation’s worst state-based ObamaCare exchange.


Alaska: While this race has not yet been called, the RGA was a strong partner in Governor Parnell’s campaign, donating $1.4 million to Citizens Against Walker, which ran GOTV efforts, paid media, and an aggressive mail program detailing why Walker’s support for Obamacare made him the wrong choice for Alaska.

Pennsylvania: The RGA was a strong partner in Governor Corbett’s campaign, spending $7 million in direct contributions to the campaign and the Pennsylvania State Party.


RGA assisted with, and helped fund, a bold and aggressive ballot integrity effort in Illinois to ensure a fair election process. The ballot integrity effort included:

·         Recruiting statewide, trained election judges, including more than 3,000 election judges in the City of Chicago alone

·         Recruiting 500 trained poll watchers

·         Recruiting 350 attorneys who are covered absentee and early voting locations as well as voting precincts on Election Day

·         Working with election officials to identify double registrations, deceased voters, and convicted felons.