Thursday, October 18, 2018

BTRTN Gubernatorial Election Snapshot: Good News for the Dems?


Tom on the races to control state houses.

The races for Governor are not as high profile as those of the houses of Congress, perhaps because a majority does not constitute “control” in the same sense.  But governors, of course, play crucial roles in governing our country, for many reasons.   With our current federal government intent on championing “states’ rights,” power is flowing to those states, and governors work with state legislatures to use that power in many ways.  Just for starters, in the area of health care alone, states have created laws that limit access to abortion, have rejected federal funds for Medicaid expansion and created myriad other obstacles to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

And, of course, the governors and their legislatures control the district reapportionment process, and the GOP electoral successes in this decade owe significantly to the gerrymandering frenzy undertaken in the wake of the 2010 census.   The next census is just around the corner, in 2020, and so the races for the state houses are of monumental significance this time around.

Finally, today’s governors are future presidential candidates, and because of their executive experience and presumed distance from Washington, D.C., they come to the process with inherent advantages.  It is no wonder that governors have been more successful than Senators in reaching the Oval Office; in recent times, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush held the office in their state.  Since Richard Nixon left office 44 years ago, only Barack Obama among his successors came from the Senate.

And what a fulsome gubernatorial election cycle this is, with fully 36 of our 50 governorships on the line in November.   The GOP dominates state houses now, with 33 governors, while the Democrats have only 16, with one Independent (in Alaska).   So, the Dems have opportunities they don’t have with the Senate playing field – of the 36 seats on the ballot, 26 of them are held by the GOP.

As of this snapshot – not a prediction, but if the elections were held today – the Democrats are in line to flip a net of 9 seats, to even the state house battle to 25/25, which would be a huge gain.   Keep in mind, though, that 16 of these races are currently “in play,” and half of those are “toss-ups” with the polling in the current margin of error.  The GOP could still come out with far fewer losses.  But as of now, the Dems are doing well, and they even have a path to take a majority – which has no legislative meaning per se but would be quite a statement heading into the 2020 census – and presidential election.

BTRTN GOVERNOR SNAPSHOT

BTRTN GOVERNOR SNAPSHOT

10/18/18


Current
Projected
Change
DEM TOTAL
25

Dem
16
25
9
Dem Holdover
7

GOP
33
25
-8
Dem Solid
7

Ind
1
0
-1
Dem Lean
6





Dem Toss-up
5





GOP Toss-up
3





GOP Lean
2





GOP Solid
13





GOP Holdover
7





GOP TOTAL
25






The chart below lays it all out on a state-by-state basis; the races are ranked in order of the strength of the Democrat on the ballot.   As you can see, the nine states that the Dems are on track to flip are Illinois, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and South Dakota.  In three other races, the GOP is holding on to the narrowest of leads: Nevada, Georgia and Kansas.  The GOP is not on track to flip any state house, though it could take control of Alaska by defeating Independent Bill Walker.  The Dems have decent leads (5 to 10 points) in four of their seats that are in play:  Rhode Island, Colorado, Connecticut and Oregon.


GOVERNOR SNAPSHOT
State
Inc. Party
Incumbent
Democrat
GOP
Recent Polls Avg
BTRTN Rating
NY
D
Cuomo
Cuomo
Molinaro

D Solid
CAL
D
Brown
Newsom
Cox

 D/I Solid
HAW
D
Ige
Ige
Tupola

D Solid
PENN
D
Wolf
Wolf
Wagner

D Solid
ILL
R
Rauner
Pritzker
Rauner

D Solid
MINN
D
Dayton
Walz
Johnson

D Solid
MICH
R
Snyder
Whitmer
Scheutte

D Solid
RI
D
Raimando
Raimando
Fung
D + 9
D Lean
MAINE
R
LePage
Mills
Moody
D + 8
D Lean
NMEX
R
Martinez
Grisham
Pearce
D + 7
D Lean
COL
D
Hickenlooper
Polis
Stapleton
D + 7
D Lean
CONN
D
Molloy
Lamont
Stefanowski
D + 7
D Lean
OR
D
Brown
Brown
Beuhler
D + 5
D Lean
FLA
R
Scott
Gillum
DeSantis
D + 4
D TU
IOWA
R
Reynolds
Hubbell
Reynolds
D + 4
D TU
WISC
R
Walker
Evers
Walker
D + 4
D TU
OHIO
R
Kasich
Cordray
DeWine
D + 3
D TU
SD
R
Daugaard
Sutton
Noem
D + 3
D TU
NEV
R
Sandoval
Sisolak
Laxalt
R + 1
R TU
GA
R
Deal
Abrams
Kemp
R + 1
R TU
KAN
R
Colyer
Kelly
Kobach
R + 1
R TU
OKL
R
Fallin
Edmondson
Stitt
R + 5
R Lean
NH
R
Sununu
Kelly
Sununu
R + 5
R Lean
ALASKA
I
Walker*
Begish
Dunleavy

R Solid
ARI
R
Ducey
Garcia
Ducey

R Solid
MARY
R
Hogan
Jealous
Hogan

R Solid
SC
R
McMaster
Smith
McMaster

R Solid
TENN
R
Haslam
Dean
Lee

R Solid
VER
R
Scott
Hallquist
Scott

R Solid
IDA
R
Otter
Jordan
Little

R Solid
ALAB
R
Ivey
Maddox
Ivey

R Solid
ARK
R
Hutchinson
Henderson
Hutchinson

R Solid
MASS
R
Baker
Gonzalez
Baker

R Solid
NEB
R
Ricketts
Krist
Ricketts

R Solid
TEX
R
Abbott
Valdez
Abbott

R Solid
WYO
R
Mead
Throne
Mead

R Solid
*  Walker is also on the ballot as a Independent