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 Nominee Rating
On Ballot Kate Ivey Walt Maddox Safe Rep
On Ballot Mike Dunleavy (R) Bill Walker (Ind),
Mark Begich (D)
Lean Rep
On Ballot Doug Ducey David Garcia Lean Rep
On Ballot Asa Hutchinson Jared Henderson Safe Rep
OPEN (Jerry Brown
John Cox Gavin Newsom Safe Dem
OPEN (John Hickenlooper
Walker Stapleton Jared Polis Lean Dem
OPEN (Dan Malloy
Bob Stefanowski Ned Lamont Lean Dem
OPEN (Rick Scott/
Running for Senate)
Ron DeSantis
Andrew Gillum Toss Up
OPEN (Nathan Deal
Brian Kemp Stacy Abrams Toss Up
On Ballot Andria Tupola David Ige Safe Dem
OPEN (Butch Otter
Brad Little Paulette Jordan Safe Rep
On Ballot
Bruce Rauner
J.B. Pritzker Likely Dem
On Ballot Kim Reynolds Fred Hubbell Toss Up
OPEN (Jeff Coyler
/Lost Nomination)
Kris Kobach Laura Kelly Toss Up
OPEN (Paul LePage
/Term Limited)
Shawn Moody Janet Mills Lean Dem
On Ballot Larry Hogan Ben Jealous Likely Rep
On Ballot Charlie Baker Jay Gonzalez Safe Rep
OPEN (Mark Dayton
Jeff Johnson Tim Walz (DFL/DemFarmLabor) Likely Dem
OPEN (Rick Snyder
/Term Limited)
Bill Schuette
Gretchen Whitmer
Likely Dem
On Ballot Pete Ricketts Bob Krist Safe Rep
OPEN (Brian Sandoval
/Term Limited)
Adam Laxalt
Steve Sisolak
Lean Dem
New Hampshire
On Ballot Chris Sununu Molly Kelly Lean Rep
New Mexico
OPEN (Susana Martinez
/Term Limited)
Steve Pearce
Michelle Lujan Grisham Likely Dem
New York
On Ballot Marcus Molinaro Andrew Cuomo Safe Dem
OPEN (John Kasich
/Term Limited)
Mark Dewine
Richard Cordrey
Toss Up
OPEN (Mary Fallin
/Term Limited
Kevin Stitt Drew Edmondson Lean Rep
On Ballot Knute Buehler Kate Brown Likely Dem
On Ballot Scott Wagner Tom Wolf Likely Dem
Rhode Island
On Ballot Allan Fung Gina Raimondo Lean Dem
South Carolina
On Ballot Henry McMaster James Smith, Jr. Likely Rep
South Dakota
OPEN (Dennis Daugaard

/Term Limited)

Kristi Noem Billie Sutton Likely Rep
OPEN (Bill Haslam
/Term Limited)
Bill Lee Karl Dean Likely Rep
On Ballot Greg Abbott Lupe Valdez Safe Rep
On Ballot
Phil Scott
Christine Hallquist Safe Rep
On Ballot
Scott Walker
Tony Evers Toss Up
OPEN (Matt Mead
/Term Limited)
Mark Gordon Mary Throne Safe Rep

DemList will keep you informed!

Connecting you to The Party
Connecting you to Each Other

Kimberly Scott

SignUp for the Dailys. Follow DemList on Facebook and Twitter
Sources: DGA, Wikipedia, Ballotpedia, Bloomberg, Rothenberg, DailyKos, Sabato

Related posts

DemDaily: The Leadership of Our Times

DemDaily: The Leadership of Our Times

DemList would like to extend a special thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and the over 200 friends and fans who joined DemList and WNDC March 15th in...

DemDaily: Lincoln’s Dream

DemDaily: Lincoln’s Dream

July 3, 2019   “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln     Happy Independence...