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this page updated Aug. 15, 2018

Governors Races, 2017-18               

  • Starting balance Jan. 2018:  33R, 16D, 1I*.
  • 36 seats at stake in 2018:  9D, 26R, 1I. (plus 3 terr.)
  • 13 term-limited:  2D, 11R.
  • 23 eligible for re-election/election:  7D, 15R**1I.
  • 3 retirements:  2D, 1R.
  • 20 seeking re-election/election:  5D, 14R, 1I.
  • 1 defeated in primary: 1R.
  • Balance after Nov. 6, 2018:  tbd.

*Includes VA and NJ Nov. 7, 2017. 
**Four Republican governors are seeking election in their own right due to incumbent retirements: Nikki Haley (R-SC) resigned Jan. 24, 2017 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; succeeded by Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R).  Robert Bentley (R-AL) resigned April 10, 2017 amid scandal; succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (R).  Terry Branstad (R-IA) May 24, 2017 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China; succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).  Sam Brownback (R-KS) resigned effective Jan. 31, 2018 to serve as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; succeeded by Lt. Gov. Jeff  Colyer (R).

Overview: Following West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's switch to the Republican Party on Aug. 3, 2017, Democrats were at an all time low, holding just 15 governorships to 34 for Republicans and 1 Independent.  Democrats picked up New Jersey in the Nov. 2017 off-year elections.  In Nov. 2018 they will have ample opportunity to make further gains.  Of 36 seats at stake, Republicans hold 26, and half of those are open (12 term-limited and 1 retirement).  Four Republican incumbents ascended to the governorship and are seeking election in their own right: Govs. Jeff Colyer (KS), Kay Ivey (AL), Kim Reynolds (IA) and Henry McMaster (SC). 

There were many interesting primaries.  On the Democratic side, all five incumbents seeking re-election appear likely to win (New York primary still to be held); Gov. David Ige (HI) fended off perhaps the strongest challenge, from U.S. Rep. Coleen Hanabusa.  Crowded fields vied for the Democratic nomination in a number of states.  For example, in Maine and Maryland seven candidates were on the ballot and in Wisconsin eight candidates.  In California 12 of the 27 candidates on the ballot in the top-two primary were Democrats, although only six were seen as credible.  Texas saw a runoff on May 22; Lupe Valdes defeated Andrew White.  On the Republican side, the closest contest was the Aug. 7 primary in Kansas, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach (endorsed by Trump) narrowly defeated Gov. Jeff Colyer; Colyer conceded on Aug. 14.  There have been three runoffs.  Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (endorsed by Trump) defeated Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the July 24  runoff.  In South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster defeated John Warren on June 26, and in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett faces Kevin Stitt on Aug. 28.

Among the states where Democrats hope to achieve pickups are Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Republicans are eying pickups in Connecticut and Minnesota.  Democrats are running a diverse field of candidates; for example in Georgia former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is seeking to become the first African American woman governor, in Colorado Jared Polis is seeking to become the first openly gay man elected governor (Jim McGreevey in New Jersey came out as gay in 2004 after he was elected and Kate Brown, openly LGBT, was elected in Oregon in 2014), and in Vermont Christine Hallquist would be the first transgender governor.  The Republican field is rather more homogenous, although there are at least four women nominees.  The strongest independent and third party candidacies appear to be Terry Hayes (I) in Maine and Oz Griebel (I) in Connecticut.  The Illinois campaign looks like it will be the most expensive of the governors' races.

Links:  DGA  [Organization] |   RGA  [Organization]
NGA   |   Center on the American Governor
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball
The Cook Political Report


Primary
DEM. INCUMBENTS
REP. CHALLENGER
MORE
CA
June 5
Jerry Brown  ...term limited
Gavin Newsom
John Cox
n/a
CO
June 26
John Hickenlooper  ...term limited
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
Scott Helker (L)
Bill Hammons (UPA)
Paul Noel Fiorino (U)
CT
Aug. 14
Dan Malloy  ...retiring
Ned Lamont
Bob Stefanowski
Rod Hanscomb (L)
Oz Griebel (I)
Micah Welintukonis (I)
HI
Aug. 11
David Ige
Andria Tupola
Jim Brewer (G)
Terrence Teruya (Non)
MN
Aug. 14
Mark Dayton  ...retiring
Tim Walz
Jeff Johnson
Chris Wright (Mar.)
Josh Welter (L)
NY
Sep. 11
Andrew Cuomo


OR
May 15
Kate Brown
Knute Buehler Patrick Starnes (IP)
PA
May 15
Tom Wolf
Scott Wagner
Paul Glover (G)
Ken Krawchuk (L)
RI
Sep. 12
Gina Raimondo




Primary
REP. INCUMBENTS DEM. CHALLENGER
MORE
AL
June 5
Kay Ivey
Walt Maddox
two w/ins
AZ
Aug. 28 Doug Ducey


AR
May 22
Asa Hutchinson
Jared Henderson
Mark West (L)
FL
Aug. 28
Rick Scott  ...term limited

GA
May 22
Nathan Deal  ...term limited
Primary runoff: July 24  Brian Kemp (def. C.Cagle)
Stacey Abrams
Ted Metz (L)
Larry Odom (I)
ID
May 15
Butch Otter  ...retiring 
Brad Little
Paulette Jordan
Bev "Angel" Boeck (L)
IL
Mar. 20
Bruce Rauner
JB Pritzker
Sam McCann (I)
William Kelly (C)
Kash Jackson (L)

IA
June 5
Kim Reynolds
Fred Hubbell
Jake Porter (L)
Gary Siegwarth (I)
KS
Aug. 7
Sam Brownback  ...term limited
Kris Kobach 
Laura Kelly
Jeff Caldwell (L)
Rick Kloos (I)
Greg Orman (I)
ME
June 12
Paul LePage  ...term limited
Shawn Moody
Janet Mills
Terry Hayes (I)
Alan Caron (I)
MD
June 26
Larry Hogan
Ben Jealous
Ian Schlakman (G)
Shawn Quinn (L)
MA
Sep. 4
Charlie Baker


MI
Aug. 7
Rick Snyder  ...term limited
Bill Schuette
Gretchen Whitmer
Jennifer Kurland (G)
Bill Gelineau (L)
Keith Butkovich (NLP)
Todd Schleiger (USTP)
NE
May 15
Pete Ricketts
Bob Krist
n/a
NV
June 12
Brian Sandoval  ...term limited
Adam Laxalt
Steve Sisolak
Russell Best (IAP)
Jared Lord (L)
Ryan Bundy (I)
NH
Sep. 11
Chris Sununu


NM
June 5
Susana Martinez  ...term limited
Steve Pearce
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Bob Walsh (L)w/in
OH
May 8
John Kasich  ...term limited
Mike DeWine
Richard Cordray
C.Gadell-Newton (G)
Travis Irvine (L)
OK
June 26
Mary Fallin  ...term limited
Primary runoff: Aug. 28
Mick Cornett v. Kevin Stitt
Drew Edmondson
(L) tbd
SC
June 12
Henry McMaster
Primary runoff: June 26
(def. John Warren)
James Smith
n/a
SD
June 5
Dennis Daugaard  ...term limited
Kristi Noem
Billie Sutton
Kurt Evans (L) >
TN
Aug. 2
Bill Haslam  ...term limited
Bill Lee
Karl Dean
Mark CoonRippy Brown (I)
TX
Mar. 6
Greg Abbott
Primary runoff: May 22
Lupe Valdez (def. A.White)
Janis Richards (G)
Mark Tippetts (L)
VT
Aug. 14
Phil Scott
Christine Hallquist
third party and indep. cs
WI
Aug. 14
Scott Walker
Tony Evers
Michael White (G)
Phil Anderson (L)
Arnie Enz (WI)
Maggie Turnbull (I)
WY
Aug. 21
Matt Mead  ...term limited



Primary
IND. INCUMBENT
AK
Aug. 21
Bill Walker

Also

Primary
REP.
IND.
CNMI

Ralph D. G. Torres

GU

Eddie Calvo

USVI


Kenneth E. Mapp

Gubernatorial Primary Dates
Mar.

May
June

Aug.
Sept.
20-IL

8-OH
15-ID
15-NE
15-OR
15-PA
22-AR
22-GA
22-TX
5-AL
5-CA
5-IA
5-NM
5-SD
12-ME
12-NV
12-SC
26-CO
26-MD
26-OK


2-TN
7-KS
7-MI
11-HI
14-CT
14-MN
14-VT
14-WI
21-AK
21-WY
28-AZ
28-FL
4-MA
11-NH
11-NY
12-RI
none in Apr., July.       
NCSL Primary Dates



2017 Governors
>

DEM.
REP.

NJ
June 6
Phil Murphy/
Sheila Oliver
Chris Christie  ...term limited
Kim Guadagno/
Carlos Rendo
G.Genovese (I)
P.Rohrman (L)
S.Kaper-Dale (G)
M.Riccardi (C)
V.Ross (I)

VA
June 13
Terry McAuliffe  ...term limited
Ralph Northam
Ed Gillespie
C.Hyra (L)

 

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