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

Incumbent Status
Republican Nominee
Democratic NomineeRating
On BallotKate IveyWalt MaddoxSafe Rep
On BallotMike Dunleavy (R)Bill Walker (Ind),
Mark Begich (D)
Lean Rep
On BallotDoug DuceyDavid GarciaLean Rep
On BallotAsa HutchinsonJared HendersonSafe Rep
OPEN (Jerry Brown
John CoxGavin NewsomSafe Dem
OPEN (John Hickenlooper
Walker StapletonJared PolisLean Dem
OPEN (Dan Malloy
Bob StefanowskiNed LamontLean Dem
OPEN (Rick Scott/
Running for Senate)
Ron DeSantis
Andrew GillumToss Up
OPEN (Nathan Deal
Brian KempStacy AbramsToss Up
On BallotAndria TupolaDavid IgeSafe Dem
OPEN (Butch Otter
Brad LittlePaulette JordanSafe Rep
On Ballot
Bruce Rauner
J.B. PritzkerLikely Dem
On BallotKim ReynoldsFred HubbellToss Up
OPEN (Jeff Coyler
/Lost Nomination)
Kris KobachLaura KellyToss Up
OPEN (Paul LePage
/Term Limited)
Shawn MoodyJanet MillsLean Dem
On BallotLarry HoganBen JealousLikely Rep
On BallotCharlie BakerJay GonzalezSafe Rep
OPEN (Mark Dayton
Jeff JohnsonTim Walz (DFL/DemFarmLabor)Likely Dem
OPEN (Rick Snyder
/Term Limited)
Bill Schuette
Gretchen Whitmer
Likely Dem
On BallotPete RickettsBob KristSafe Rep
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
OPEN (John Kasich
/Term Limited)
Mark Dewine
Richard Cordrey
Toss Up
OPEN (Mary Fallin
/Term Limited
Kevin StittDrew EdmondsonLean Rep
On BallotKnute BuehlerKate BrownLikely Dem
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
OPEN (Bill Haslam
/Term Limited)
Bill LeeKarl DeanLikely Rep
On BallotGreg AbbottLupe ValdezSafe Rep
On Ballot
Phil Scott
Christine HallquistSafe Rep
On Ballot
Scott Walker
Tony EversToss Up
OPEN (Matt Mead
/Term Limited)
Mark GordonMary ThroneSafe Rep

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Kimberly Scott

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

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