DemDaily: Who Governs? The 2018 Governors Races

October 1, 2018

Nationwide, Republicans control two-thirds of the Governors' seats. The midterm elections, however, present an opportunity for Democrats to not only reverse that trend, but make a critical impact on the 2020 elections and the future makeup of Congress.

Republicans currently hold 33 Governors' seats to Democrats' 16. There are 36 Governors races are up in 2018, with Republicans defending 26 seats compared to Democrats' nine.

As a state's highest-ranking elected official, Governors are administrators of their state, responsible for dictating policy, overseeing the budget, agencies, military forces and its executive branch.  The power of each Governor varies with each state constitution, depending on his or her veto power over legislation and the official body that draws the state's electoral map in redistricting.

As chief executive of his or her state, a Governor is more similar to a US President, but on a smaller state scale (and why serving as Governor is considered the best training ground for the White House).

Current Gubernatorial Map

Politically, Governors are more independent, in practice, and in the eyes of the voters.  There are ten states where both state legislative chambers are controlled by one party, but have elected Governors of different party.

In midterm elections, gubernatorial elections usually follow the political environment, which is good news for Democrats.

In 2018, Democrats are favored to pick up as many as nine seats, with top pick targets in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

By contrast, Republicans, at present, are favored to pickup only one independently-held seat, in Alaska.

But the long term outcome of 2018 will be particularly criticial to the 2021 redistricting process where, in some states, taking the Governor's mansion means taking control of the redistricting process and the state's next Congressional map.

According to National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), the Governor's races most important to shifting or retaining the balance of power in the redistricting process, include: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Top Targeted Governor's Races
Red/Blue=Held by Republican/Democrat. Incumbents bolded. If Independent, grouped with alligned Party.
Ratings based on review of major publications, with final call by DemList

State
Incumbent Status
Republican Nominee
Democratic NomineeRating
Alabama
On BallotKate IveyWalt MaddoxSafe Rep
Alaska
On BallotMike Dunleavy (R)Bill Walker (Ind),
Mark Begich (D)
Lean Rep
Arizona
On BallotDoug DuceyDavid GarciaLean Rep
Arkansas
On BallotAsa HutchinsonJared HendersonSafe Rep
California
OPEN (Jerry Brown
/Term-Limited)
John CoxGavin NewsomSafe Dem
Colorado
OPEN (John Hickenlooper
/Term-Limited)
Walker StapletonJared PolisLean Dem
Connecticut
OPEN (Dan Malloy
/Retiring)
Bob StefanowskiNed LamontLean Dem
Florida
OPEN (Rick Scott/
Running for Senate)
Ron DeSantis
Andrew GillumToss Up
Georgia
OPEN (Nathan Deal
/Retiring)
Brian KempStacy AbramsToss Up
Hawaii
On BallotAndria TupolaDavid IgeSafe Dem
Idaho
OPEN (Butch Otter
/Retiring)
Brad LittlePaulette JordanSafe Rep
Illinois
On Ballot
Bruce Rauner
J.B. PritzkerLikely Dem
Iowa
On BallotKim ReynoldsFred HubbellToss Up
Kansas
OPEN (Jeff Coyler
/Lost Nomination)
Kris KobachLaura KellyToss Up
Maine
OPEN (Paul LePage
/Term Limited)
Shawn MoodyJanet MillsLean Dem
Maryland
On BallotLarry HoganBen JealousLikely Rep
Massachusetts
On BallotCharlie BakerJay GonzalezSafe Rep
Minnesota
OPEN (Mark Dayton
/Retiring)
Jeff JohnsonTim Walz (DFL/DemFarmLabor)Likely Dem
Michigan
OPEN (Rick Snyder
/Term Limited)
Bill Schuette
Gretchen Whitmer
Likely Dem
Nebraska
On BallotPete RickettsBob KristSafe Rep
Nevada
OPEN (Brian Sandoval
/Term Limited)
Adam Laxalt
Steve Sisolak
Lean Dem
New Hampshire
On BallotChris SununuMolly KellyLean Rep
New Mexico
OPEN (Susana Martinez
/Term Limited)
Steve Pearce
Michelle Lujan GrishamLikely Dem
New York
On BallotMarcus MolinaroAndrew CuomoSafe Dem
Ohio
OPEN (John Kasich
/Term Limited)
Mark Dewine
Richard Cordrey
Toss Up
Oklahoma
OPEN (Mary Fallin
/Term Limited
Kevin StittDrew EdmondsonLean Rep
Oregon
On BallotKnute BuehlerKate BrownLikely Dem
Pennsylvania
On BallotScott WagnerTom WolfLikely Dem
Rhode Island
On BallotAllan FungGina RaimondoLean Dem
South Carolina
On BallotHenry McMasterJames Smith, Jr.Likely Rep
South Dakota
OPEN (Dennis Daugaard

/Term Limited)

Kristi NoemBillie SuttonLikely Rep
Tennessee
OPEN (Bill Haslam
/Term Limited)
Bill LeeKarl DeanLikely Rep
Texas
On BallotGreg AbbottLupe ValdezSafe Rep
Vermont
On Ballot
Phil Scott
Christine HallquistSafe Rep
Wisconsin
On Ballot
Scott Walker
Tony EversToss Up
Wyoming
OPEN (Matt Mead
/Term Limited)
Mark GordonMary ThroneSafe Rep

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Kimberly Scott
Publisher

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Sources: DGA, Wikipedia, Ballotpedia, Bloomberg, Rothenberg, DailyKos, Sabato

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