East Gubernatorial Race Results and Their Impact on Regulators

November 13, 2014

On Nov. 4, 36 states across the country held their gubernatorial elections. In the East region, incumbent governors who were re-elected include Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But in Pennsylvania, the Republican incumbent, Gov. Tom Corbett, lost his re-election to Democratic challenger Tom Wolf. And in Maryland, where Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley is term-limited, Republican candidate Larry Hogan won the gubernatorial race. In Massachusetts, where Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick opted not to seek re-election, Republican Charlie Baker was elected as the next governor.

In Rhode Island, Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee did not seek re-election and Gina Raimondo, another Democrat, was elected as the next governor. Additionally, in Washington, D.C., Democrat Muriel Bowser, who beat incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray in the April primary, won the general election.

In the East region, where most insurance commissioners and superintendents get appointed to their posts, the regulators are expected to stay on for the most part, an industry participant forecast.

“I don’t see Nov. 4 elections resulting in a draconian change of regulatory leaders in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region,” said Oyango Snell, counsel, state government relations, at Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

One change that could take place is in Maryland, where Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith, who was appointed by O’Malley in 2011, will see her four-year term end on May 31, 2015. “We do not expect that she will stay on more,” Snell forecast.

In Massachusetts, where insurance commissioner serves at the pleasure of the governor, Governor-Elect Baker’s plan for current commissioner Joseph Murphy is unknown at this time, said Snell.

In Vermont, the governor’s race will be decided by the state legislature next January in accordance with the state’s constitution because no candidate has received a minimum of 50 percent, plus one vote. Still, the legislature is likely to give the election to the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Peter Shumlin, since he received more votes than his Republican challenger. “Tradition dictates that the legislature choose the winner of the popular vote as the winner,” said Snell. That means Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, who serves at the pleasure of the governor, is expected to return as well.

Other than these cases, “the rest, we believe, will probably remain the same” in the East region, said Snell. In Pennsylvania, Snell said it’s “more likely than not” that Michael Consedine, who was appointed by Corbett in 2011, will stay on as insurance commissioner, adding that Consedine’s national leadership would weigh heavily. Consedine currently serves as vice president at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). He also serves on the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance and is active in the ongoing efforts by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors to develop global insurance standards.

“It’s a significant achievement for the state to have someone at the leadership level at a national organization like NAIC,” said Snell.

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