Governors who have been quick to oppose pandemic lockdowns and reopen their states have been capable of win re-election simply within the 2022 midterms, growing their margin of victory over their 2018 performances.
Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Jared Polis of Colorado and Brian Kemp of Georgia all cruised to re-election in Tuesday’s midterms, profitable by a median of 18.1 share factors. The margins of victory for the anti-lockdown governors stood in stark distinction to their extra slender victories in 2018 when the identical 5 candidates received by a median margin of three.7 share factors.
DeSantis supplied maybe essentially the most beautiful turnaround in 2022, profitable re-election by 19.4 share factors. The favored Republican governor may barely win his first bid for governor in 2018, profitable by simply 0.4 share factors.
The Florida governor was famously against strict lockdown measures for a lot of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he ordered a stay-at-home order within the early days of the pandemic on April 2, 2020, the DeSantis lifted the order simply over a month afterward Could 4.
Florida schools additionally shut down in-person instruction in March 2020, although all of the state’s public faculties have been re-opened to in-person instruction by the top of the varsity 12 months. Public faculties have been then required to reopen for in-person instruction at first of the next college 12 months, with DeSantis resisting calls to shut them down by way of varied waves of COVID-19 infections within the state.
Final month, the Republican touted the outcomes of his push to reopen faculties.
“In Florida our 4th grade college students rank #3 in Studying and #4 in Math, attaining prime 4 in each English and Math for the primary time in state historical past, whereas lockdown California and New York aren’t even within the prime 30,” DeSantis mentioned in an announcement final month.
In South Dakota, Noem additionally cruised to a straightforward victory final week, profitable re-election by 26.8 share factors. The race was a lot completely different from her 2018 victory, which noticed the Republican win by simply 3.4 share factors.
Noem turned a frontrunner of the anti-lockdown motion early within the pandemic. The South Dakota governor by no means issued a stay-at-home order. Although Noem ordered faculties to shut in March 2020 and prolonged that order by way of the top of the varsity 12 months in Could, the state reopened its faculties to in-person instruction by the beginning of the subsequent college 12 months. Like DeSantis, Noem resisted calls to shut faculties once more throughout waves of optimistic circumstances within the state.
Noem publicly defended her method all through the pandemic, going as far as to criticize different Republicans governors who issued what she referred to as “ineffective” lockdowns.
“We’ve acquired Republican governors throughout this nation pretending they didn’t shut down their states; that they didn’t shut their areas; that they didn’t mandate masks, that they didn’t have to subject shelter in locations,” Noem mentioned final 12 months. “South Dakota didn’t do any of these… we didn’t mandate. We trusted our individuals and instructed them that non-public duty was the most effective reply,”
In Iowa, Reynolds took an analogous method and didn’t subject a stay-at-home order early within the pandemic. The Republican governor did order faculties to shut throughout the state in April 2020, an order that was prolonged by way of the top of the varsity 12 months. She started pushing for faculties to reopen at first of the subsequent college 12 months and signed laws requiring faculties open to in-person instruction in January 2021.
The governor’s method to the pandemic proved well-liked, with Reynolds profitable re-election by 18.6 share factors. The victory was 15.8 share factors higher than her 2018 efficiency when she received by a slender 2.8 share factors.
In Georgia, Kemp received his rematch with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams by 7.6 share factors. The margin was way more snug than his 2018 victory over the identical opponent, when he received by simply 1.4 share factors.
Kemp did subject a stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic on April 2, 2020, however lifted the order by the top of the month. Kemp ordered faculties within the state to shut in March 2020, an order that was prolonged by way of the top of the varsity 12 months. Kemp then started a push to reopen faculties within the state, with half of the colleges in Georgia opening by the beginning of the subsequent college 12 months and many of the state’s faculties being opened to in-person instruction on the conclusion of the identical 12 months.
Kemp additionally took on college masking necessities, signing a invoice in March of this 12 months that allowed mother and father to exempt their youngsters from carrying masks in districts with mandates.
“This can be certain that mother and father have the ultimate say on the subject of the well being and well-being of their baby,” Kemp mentioned on the time. “It’s a frequent sense measure that places mother and father in cost — not the federal government.”
In Colorado, Polis issued one of many briefest stay-at-home orders of the nation’s Democratic governors in 2020, shutting down the state on March 26 however reopening it a month later. Polis additionally took a much less strict method than his Democratic friends to highschool closings, shutting down the state’s faculties for the rest of the varsity 12 months in April however permitting districts to make their very own selection on in-person instruction for the beginning of the subsequent college 12 months.
The governor’s efficiency throughout the pandemic was rewarded by Colorado voters, who re-elected Polis by 18.1 share factors. The efficiency was 7.5 share factors higher than his 2018 run for governor when Polis received by 10.6 share factors.
“I do not assume that is about stay-at-homes or lockdowns anymore,” Polis mentioned in November 2020 amid stress to subject new lockdown orders as COVID-19 circumstances surged in Colorado.