2009 United States gubernatorial elections

United States gubernatorial elections were held on November 3, 2009, in the states of New Jersey and Virginia, as well as in the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on November 7, 2009. Both state governorships were previously held by Democrats elected in 2005, and both were won by Republicans in 2009; the local Covenant Party maintained control of the governorship of the Marianas. These elections formed part of the 2009 United States elections. As of 2024, this is the last election after which the Democratic party held a majority of governorships.

2009 United States gubernatorial elections

← 2008 November 3 and 7, 2009 2010 →

3 governorships
2 states; 1 territory
  Majority party Minority party
Party Democratic Republican
Seats before 28[a] 22
Seats after 26 24
Seat change Decrease 2 Increase 2
Popular vote 1,906,681 2,338,096
Percentage 43.25% 53.03%
Seats up 2 0
Seats won 0 2

2009 Northern Mariana Islands gubernatorial election2009 New Jersey gubernatorial election2009 Virginia gubernatorial election
Map of the results
     Republican gain      Covenant hold
     No election

Due to the passage of Senate Legislative Initiative 16–11, this was the last year in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in which a gubernatorial election occurred on a pre-midterm, off-year election year, as the next gubernatorial election would be in 2014.[1][2]

The Democrats held 28 governorships, while the Republicans held 22. In this election, both U.S. governorships up for election were held by Democrats, while the governorship of the Northern Mariana Islands was held by the Covenant Party.This is also the last election in which the democrats held a majority of governorships nationwide.

Election predictions


Several sites and individuals publish predictions of competitive seats. These predictions look at factors such as the strength of the incumbent (if the incumbent is running for re-election), the strength of the candidates, and the partisan leanings of the state (reflected in part by the state's Cook Partisan Voting Index rating). The predictions assign ratings to each state, with the rating indicating the predicted advantage that a party has in winning that seat.

Most election predictors use:

  • "tossup": no advantage
  • "tilt" (used by some predictors): advantage that is not quite as strong as "lean"
  • "lean": slight advantage
  • "likely": significant, but surmountable, advantage
  • "safe" or "solid": near-certain chance of victory
State PVI Incumbent[3] Last
Oct 26, 2009[4]
New Jersey D+4 Jon Corzine 53.5% D Tossup Christie
48.5% R (flip)
Virginia R+2 Tim Kaine (term-limited) 51.7% D Lean R (flip) McDonnell
58.6% R (flip)

Race Summary



State Incumbent Party First
Result Candidates
New Jersey Jon Corzine Democratic 2005 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Virginia Tim Kaine Democratic 2005 Incumbent term-limited.
New member elected.
Republican gain.


Territory Incumbent Party First
Result Candidates
Northern Mariana Islands Benigno Fitial Covenant 2005 Incumbent re-elected.

Closest races


States where the margin of victory was under 5%:

  1. Northern Mariana Islands, 2.8%
  2. New Jersey, 4.3%

Red denotes states won by Republicans. Green denotes states won by Covenants.

New Jersey

2009 New Jersey gubernatorial election
← 2005 November 3, 2009 2014 →
Nominee Chris Christie Jon Corzine Chris Daggett
Party Republican Democratic Independent
Running mate Kim Guadagno Loretta Weinberg Frank J. Esposito
Popular vote 1,174,445 1,087,731 139,579
Percentage 48.5% 44.9% 5.8%

County results

Governor before election

Jon Corzine

Elected Governor

Chris Christie

Democratic Governor Jon Corzine was eligible to run for a second term and did so. He was considered vulnerable given a number of recent scandals and low approval ratings.[5] Former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson, failed 2008 congressional candidate Roger Bacon, and failed 2008 Senate candidate Jeff Boss also sought the Democratic nomination. Corzine won the Democratic primary on June 2.

U.S. Attorney Chris Christie was the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Christie defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and veteran General Assemblyman Rick Merkt in the Republican primary on June 2.

Chris Daggett, who was Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Thomas Kean and regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald W. Reagan, ran as an independent. Daggett raised enough money to file for public funds and appear in both debates.

On November 3, 2009, Republican Christie unseated Democratic incumbent Governor Corzine. His margin of victory was 49% to 45%. Daggett's role as a "spoiler candidate" (some polls had him taking 10 percent of the vote) never materialized.[6]

New Jersey election[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Chris Christie 1,174,445 48.46
Democratic Jon Corzine (incumbent) 1,087,731 44.88
Independent Chris Daggett 139,579 5.76
Libertarian Kenneth Kaplan 4,830 0.20
Independent Gary T. Steele 3,585 0.15
Independent Jason Cullen 2,869 0.12
Independent David R. Meiswinkle 2,598 0.11
Independent Kostas Petris 2,563 0.11
Socialist Greg Pason 2,085 0.09
Independent Gary Stein 1,625 0.07
Independent Joshua Leinsdorf 1,021 0.04
Independent Alvin Lindsay 753 0.03
Total votes 2,423,684 100.00
Republican gain from Democratic


2009 Virginia gubernatorial election
← 2005 November 3, 2009 2013 →
Nominee Bob McDonnell Creigh Deeds
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,163,651 818,950
Percentage 58.6% 41.2%

County and independent city results

Governor before election

Tim Kaine

Elected Governor

Bob McDonnell

Virginia's term limits law allows governors to run for more than one term; however, the terms cannot be consecutive. Thus, incumbent Governor Tim Kaine could not stand for re-election.

Candidates for the Democratic nomination included Terry McAuliffe, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager; State Senator Creigh Deeds;[8] and State Delegate Brian Moran.[9] Deeds won the Democratic primary on June 9, 2009, with approximately 49% of the vote, beating out Terry McAliffe with 26% and Brian Moran with 23%.[10]

The Republican nominee was Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell. This was the sixth consecutive Virginian gubernatorial election where an elected Attorney General has run.[11]

On November 3, 2009, Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds to become Governor-elect of Virginia. His margin of victory was a landslide 59% to 41%.[6]

Virginia election[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob McDonnell 1,163,651 58.61
Democratic Creigh Deeds 818,950 41.25
Write-in 2,502 0.12
Total votes 1,985,103 100.00
Republican gain from Democratic



Northern Mariana Islands

2009 Northern Mariana Islands gubernatorial election
← 2005 November 7, 2009 (general)
November 23, 2009 (runoff)
2014 →
Nominee Benigno Fitial Heinz Hofschneider
Party Covenant Republican
Runoff 6,610

Candidate Juan Pan Guerrero Ramon Deleon Guerrero
Party Independent Independent
Runoff Eliminated Eliminated

Results by voting district:
Benigno Fitial:      50–55%      55–60%      65–70%
Heinz Hofschneider:      50–55%

Governor before election

Benigno Fitial

Elected Governor

Benigno Fitial

Governor Benigno R. Fitial, a member of the local Covenant Party, was eligible to run for a second term and did so. Rep. Heinz Hofschneider won the Republican nomination in June, defeating former Republican Governor Juan N. Babauta, who was defeated in his 2005 re-election by Fitial. Ramon "Kumoi" Guerrero and Juan "Pan" Guerrero, two former members of the Northern Mariana Islands Senate, both ran as independents.

The CNMI election was held on Saturday, November 7, 2009.[13] No candidate received a majority, so Governor Fital and Rep. Hofschneider advanced to a runoff election on November 23. Fital won with a 370-vote margin.[14]

Northern Mariana Islands election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Heinz Hofschneider 4,900 36.27
Covenant Benigno Fitial (incumbent) 4,892 36.21
Independent Juan Pan Guerrero 2,613 19.34
Independent Ramon Deleon Guerrero 1,075 7.96
Total votes 13,480 100.00
Northern Mariana Islands runoff election
Party Candidate Votes %
Covenant Benigno Fitial (incumbent) 6,610 51.44
Republican Heinz Hofschneider 6,240 48.56
Total votes 12,850 100.00
Covenant hold


  1. ^ Republican governor of Arizona Jan Brewer assumed office after Democratic governor Janet Napolitano resigned to become Secretary of Homeland Security.


  1. ^ Eugenio, Haidee V. (2009-11-23). "CNMI holds first runoff election". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  2. ^ Casas, Gemma (2009-11-17). "Northern Marianas' election race heats up". Radio Australia. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  3. ^ Parentheses around an incumbent's name indicates that the incumbent is retiring, possibly due to term limits.
  4. ^ "Gubernatorial Ratings | Inside Elections". www.insideelections.com.
  5. ^ [1] Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b [2] Archived November 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ [3][dead link]
  8. ^ "Deeds Weighs In On Recount Process". Charlottesvillenewsplex.tv. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  9. ^ [4][dead link]
  10. ^ "2009 June Democratic Primary Unofficial Results". Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  11. ^ "Attorney General Bob McDonnell hopes VA will elect a Republican governor – WDBJ7 Roanoke News and Weather NRV Lynchburg Danville |". Wdbj7.com. 2008-11-07. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  12. ^ "November 2009 General Election Official Results". Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  13. ^ Casas, Gemma Q. (2009-10-13). "Registered voters up by 15%". Marianas Variety. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  14. ^ Eugenio, Haidee V. (2009-12-08). "Fitial seals victory with 370 lead". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2009-12-20.