DemDaily: 2022 Governors Races: The Toss Ups!

September 1, 2022

Of the 50 US states, Democrats hold 22 gubernatorial seats to Republicans' 28. Of the five US territories, four are held by Democrats and one by a Republican.

In 2022, gubernatorial elections are being held in 36 states. Democrats are defending 16 seats, including three open seats, and Republicans are defending 20, including five open seats.

Amid a shifting political landscape, four of those races fall solidly in the "Toss Up" category.

See: DemDaily: 2022 Governors Races: The Landscape 8/31/22

2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.4% v.Trump 49.1%

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is facing former Fox news anchor Kari Lake in the battleground contest to succeed Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who is term-limited.

Hobbs, who gained national attention for standing up to GOP attempts to overturn the 2020 Arizona presidential vote, was elected Secretary of State in 2018 with 50.43% of the vote. A social worker by trade, she previously served as a state senator from 2013 to 2019 and as a state representative from 2011 to 2013.

Lake, who was endorsed by Trump, bested establishment favorite and Ducey-endorsed developer Karrin Taylor Robson, 46.8% to 44% in the August 2 primary.

Fundraising: As of July 16, Hobbs had raised $5 million with close to $738,000 cash on hand. Lake had raised $3.84 million with $270,000 on hand.

Polling: Three post-primary polls have the two in a statistical dead heat, with the last, Republican Trafalgar Group, showing Hobbs at 46% and Lake at 47%. The August 24-27 survey of likely voters, had a Margin of Error (MOE) of ± 2.9%.

Also on the ballot: US Senate seat (incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly), US House (9), Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, State Senate and State House seats.

2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.5% v. Trump 49.2%

In 2022's highest-profile gubernatorial contest, national voting rights advocate and former Georgia State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) is in rematch with Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Abrams came within 55,000 votes of defeating Kemp in 2018 and turned out more voters than any Democrat in Georgia history. The contest was also ground zero for the country's most bitter recount and legal battle following widespread allegations of voter suppression under Kemp, who oversaw most of the process as Secretary of State. Kemp disqualified over 1.4 million predominantly low-income and minority voter registrations during his term.

Kemp handily fended off a May 24 primary challenge by former US Senator David Perdue, who was endorsed by Trump in retribution for Kemp's refusal to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. Former Vice President Mike Pence did a last-week stretch of campaigning for Kemp.

Fundraising: The two rivals are going toe-to-toe in the money contest. As of June 30, Abrams had raised $30.52 million, with just under $6 million on hand. Kemp had raised $29.56 million with $6.6 million on hand.

Polling: An August 28-29, 2022 Emerson College poll of likely voters showed Kemp leading Abrams 48% to 44 (MOE: ± 3.9%).

Also on the ballot: US Senate (incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock), US House (14), eight statewide offices including Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State, and State Senate and House seats.

2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 41.56% v. Trump 56.21%

Governor Laura Kelly, the only incumbent Democrat running for reelection in a state that voted for Trump in 2020, is being challenged by Trump-endorsed Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Kelly was elected in 2018, defeating polarizing Secretary of State and Trump acolyte Kris Kobach 47.8% to 43.3% in the historically ruby red state. She previously served four terms in the state senate, including as Assistant Minority Leader and as Minority Whip.

Although Kelly is undisputedly the GOP's top target, Kansas voters' resounding rejection of an August ballot initiative to end the right to an abortion provides Democrats hope for holding onto the seat. Kelly is adamantly pro-choice and Schmidt issued a legal opinion in support of the amendment before the vote.

A third Independent candidate, conservative State Senator Dennis Pyle, may also siphon off some votes from Schmidt.

Fundraising: As of July 21, 2022, Kelly had raised $3.46 million, with $1.34 million on hand. Schmidt had raised $2 million with $1.5 on hand.

Polling: An August 8-10, 2022 survey of likely voters by Republican firm Battleground Connect showed Schmidt leading Kelly 48% to 45%. Pyle secured 2% and 5% were undecided (MOE: ±3%).

Also on the ballot: US Senate (Incumbent Republican Jerry Moran), US House (4), Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer and State House seats.

2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 50.06% v. Trump 47.67%

Incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak is being challenged by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

Sisolak, who succeeded retiring GOP Governor Brian Sandovalin in 2018, was elected the first Democratic Governor of Nevada in 20 years. He defeated Republican nominee and then-Attorney General Adam Laxalt in the general election, 49.4% to 45.3%.

Lombardo, who was endorsed by Trump last November, was first elected in 2014 and won reelection with 73% in Nevada's largest county. He won the 15-candidate June 14 GOP primary with 38.3%.

Fundraising: Sisolak is far ahead in the fundraising game, with $3.28 million raised and an accumulated war chest of $10.78 million on hand as of July 15, 2022. Lombardo raised $1.64 million with $1.2 million on hand.

Polling: An August 14-17, 2022 Suffolk University poll of likely voters has the race at a statistical tie, with Sisolak at 43% to Lombardo's 40%, with 17% undecided (MOE: ± 4.4%).

Also on the ballot: US Senate (Incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto), US House (4), other State Executive offices (9) including Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer, State Senate and State Assembly.

Related: DemDaily: 2022 Governors Races: The Landscape 8/31/22

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Sources: Ballotpedia, FiveThirtyEight, Politico, Arizona Mirror, Nevada Independent, SOSs

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