May 31, 2011- Post Memorial Day Gov. Race Update

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

It certainly feels like summer outside already, but are the gubernatorial campaigns in KY and WV really heating up?

An interesting Gallup poll came out on Memorial Day, basically saying that U.S. veterans and people who are active duty military personnel are less likely to approve of how President Barack Obama is performing in office. The polling firm tracked survey responses from January 2010 to April 2011 and found the trend to be the case for all age groups. Click here to see the full report.

With the passing of the Memorial Day holiday, we're just about four months from the gubernatorial election in West Virginia and five months from the election in Kentucky. Politico recently updated its ranking of the top 10 most competitive governor's races in the country in 2011 and 2012. Here's where KY and WV stacked up:

5. Kentucky 

The Bluegrass State's gubernatorial general election will likely be the most competitive in the nation in 2011, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a nail-biter. 

Senate President David Williams' 10-point primary win over underfunded tea partier Phil Moffett was underwhelming and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is already on television and rolling out long lists of GOP supporters.

Can Williams quickly unite a diverse GOP coalition and harness the energy toward defeating Beshear? It's not yet clear.

Republicans are trying to bruise the first-term Democrat by calling for an investigation into telephone calls from the governor's office to the state pension agency to suggest meetings with political supporters.

But there are whispers that Williams and running mate Richie Farmer could have to endure more unflattering headlines in the coming weeks.

Who Won May: Beshear

No recent polling

6. West Virginia 

The Oct. 4 general election is now set, but it's not the race everyone expected. Wealthy drilling executive Bill Maloney upended former Secretary of State Betty Ireland in the GOP primary by a surprising 14 percentage points, demonstrating that the anti-establishment tea party fervor is still alive and well. 

Meanwhile, Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin rolled up a 16-point margin in his primary without breaking much of a sweat.

Tomblin begins the four-month campaign with a 15-point lead over the less-known Maloney, according to Public Policy Polling. Maloney's challenge: Making the transition from his conservative primary message to language that will prompt support from Democrats, who hold a considerable registration advantage in the Mountain State.

Who Won May: Maloney 

Latest Poll: Tomblin 45 percent Maloney 30 percent (Public Policy Polling 5/11-5/12 723 voters) 

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