Governors whose policies align with entrepreneurs' top priorities were re-elected by wide margins.
Nationwide, governors who Inc. has recognized as being the most friendly to entrepreneurs were re-elected by a much wider margin in Tuesday's elections than governors who received low marks from the magazine.
Rankings of all 26 incumbent governors appeared in the October 2006 issue of Inc. Only one incumbent governor, Robert Ehrlich of Maryland, was defeated.
The four governors who received Inc.'s top, four-star rating for their entrepreneurship policies beat their closest opponents by an average margin of 21.4 percent of the votes cast in their races. Among this elite group, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico won re-election by the widest margin -- 36 percent.
In contrast, the eight governors who received only a two-star rating from Inc. won by 16.6 percent of the vote. Moreover, that figure was inflated by the whopping 50-point victory earned by Nebraska governor Dave Heinemann, a relative political unknown who was catapulted into his state's top job only recently, when former governor Mike Johanns was tapped by President Bush to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture.
The smallest margins of victory were recorded by the governors of Rhode Island, Oregon, Wisconsin, Maine, and Texas--all of whom received only two stars from Inc.--and the three-star governor of Minnesota, who edged his opponent by just a point.
South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, the only official to receive one star from Inc., beat his opponent by 10 percentage points, which placed him in the bottom third of all incumbents in terms of the size of their victory.
The night's only losing incumbent, Maryland's Ehrlich, received three stars from Inc. largely for his tireless efforts on behalf of technology transfer programs in Maryland. He was defeated by Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley by seven points.
As a group, the three-star governors won re-election by 23.8 percent. The biggest winner in this camp was New Hampshire governor John Lynch, who beat his opponent, former Inc. 500 CEO John Coburn, by a stunning 48 percent of the vote. The governors of Wyoming, Tennessee, and Oklahoma also enjoyed margins upwards of 30 percent. Finally, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sailed to re-election on a 17 point margin. Inc. rewarded him with a three-star ranking due in large part to his efforts to reform worker's compensation in the Golden State.