2018 Gubernatorial Elections- Part 2

Today, I continue with analysis of gubernatorial elections in 2018.

Maine: Republican incumbent and Trump supporter Paul LePage is term limited.  Five Republicans have stepped forward against twelve possible Democrats with state attorney general Janet Mills being the best shot for the Democrats.  LePage will leave office with a relatively low 42% approval rating.  Still, given his sometimes controversial remarks, it is surprising he is above the 40% mark meaning GOP chances here are not totally destroyed in 2018.  Prediction- Toss Up


Maryland- Although he has not definitely declared, Republican incumbent Larry Hogan is eligible for another term.  Considering he sports a 66% approval rating for a Republican in a blue state says something.  However, that is not stopping nine Democrats from entering their primary.  Working on the assumption Hogan runs for another term, Prediction- Republican hold

Massachusetts-  Massachusetts is bluer than the aforementioned Maryland and they too have a popular Republican incumbent with even higher approval ratings at 69%- Charlie Baker- in fact, the highest of any Governor in the country.  Three Democrats are running in their primary, but if Baker can retain these approval ratings, he is a shoo-in for reelection.  Prediction- Republican Hold

Michigan- Republican incumbent Rick Snyder is term limited.  Of the seven announced Republicans, the race will likely come down to Lt. Governor Brian Calley or state attorney general Bill Schuette.  Snyder has a low 37% rating so Calley may be doomed by guilt by association.  Eight Democrats have declared their candidacy, but no really big names.  Like many Rust Belt states these days, politics are fickle and hard to predict.  Schuette seems to be well-respected in the state.  Prediction- Leans Republican

Minnesota-  Mark Dayton is the Democratic incumbent who has opted for retirement although eligible for another term even though his approval rating stands at 52%.  Nine Republicans and six Democrats are running.  On the GOP side, former state party chief Keith Downey may have the funding and connections although state senator Davis Osmek  and state representative Matt Dean announced their candidacy.  For the Democrats, the likely front runner is US Congressman Tim Walz.  He will have to negotiate a primary against five other experienced and seasoned state politicians.  Prediction- Toss Up


Nebraska-  Little to report here as GOP incumbent Pete Ricketts is running for reelection, sports a 56% approval rating, has no Democratic opponents as of now and only token GOP primary opposition.  Prediction- Republican hold

Nevada-  Popular GOP incumbent Brian Sandoval (61% approval) is term limited.  For the Republican primary, three names have declared with the race coming down to state treasurer Dan Schwartz against state attorney general Adam Laxalt.  Its a strange story, but Laxalt is the product of an affair between former New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici and Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of former Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt.  Three Democrats have entered the fray- two of them Clark County Commissioners.  Given the quality of candidates thus far, Prediction- Republican Hold

New Hampshire-  It seems strange that Republicans would be doing so well in New England, but GOP incumbent Chris Sununu is up for another term and has drawn former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand as his likely Democratic opponent.  Sununu is another one of those Northeastern Republicans with high approval ratings (59%).  Prediction- Republican Hold

New Mexico-  Republican Governor Susana Martinez is term limited.  For the GOP, the only choice thus far is US Congressman Steve Pearce.  On the other side, there are four candidates with state senator Joe Cervantes and US Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham likely to battle it out the most.  New Mexico, despite having a Republican Governor, has drifted into the blue column.  However, depending on how well Pearce runs his general election campaign, this could end up being a surprise outcome in favor of the GOP.  At this point, Prediction- Leans Democratic


New York- The state’s contribution to the world of claymation creatures left in the sun to bake dry- Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo- is running for reelection and faces no primary opposition and has a 55% approval rating.  This is New York and a Democrat with a 25% approval rating would have a decent chance of reelection.  So, pity poor state representative Brian Kolb who enters as the only Republican to date.  Prediction- Democratic Hold

Ohio- With John Kasich term limited, three Republicans have entered the primary and all are high profile candidates: US Congressman Jim Renacci, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and state attorney general Mike DeWine.  DeWine is also an ex-US Senator so he is well-known to Ohio voters.  On the Democratic side, seven candidates are in the running.  Former US Congresswoman Betty Sutton was probably the biggest name in the race until Richard Cordray resigned from the Consumer Protection Financial Board and entered the race.  Interestingly, DeWine defeated Cordray for state attorney general in 2010.  With Sutton and Cordray likely to battle it out, it is possible another candidate- state supreme court justice, Bill O’Neill- can slip in.  This is a tough one to prognosticate.  Prediction- Toss Up

Oklahoma-  Mary Fallin, the GOP incumbent, is term limited.  Unless some dramatic improvement happens, she will leave office with a dismal 30% approval rating in a deep red state.  That may hurt the chances of Lt. Governor Todd Lamb who is one of six Republicans in the primary.  Three Democrats have declared their candidacy.  This is Oklahoma and although Fallin may be unpopular, this is Oklahoma.  Prediction- Republican Hold


Oregon-  Democratic incumbent Kate Brown is up for reelection.  Five Republicans have declared their candidacy.  Brown holds a 50% approval rating after a shaky start to her current tenure.  Whether that is low enough for defeat is doubtful.  Oregon’s vote is usually determined by the Portland area and they will likely put Brown back into office in 2018.  Prediction- Democratic Hold

Pennsylvania- Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf is not that safe with a 46% approval rating and constantly battling a GOP-controlled legislature.  Still, of the four Republicans who have stepped forward thus far, none seem like particularly tough opponents at this time.  Prediction- Leans Democratic

Rhode Island-  Democratic incumbent Gina Riamondo has not officially declared she is running for another term, but likely will.  The state is in a mess and bleeding population and businesses.  There is a real opportunity for the GOP with two candidates- Cranston Mayor Alan Fung and state representative Patricia Morgan- real possibilities against an incumbent Democrat in a deep blue state with a 41% approval rating.  Prediction- Toss Up

South Carolina-  Henry McMaster became Governor when Nikki Haley went to the UN.  He has a 51% approval rating after a year in office and seems the front runner for the GOP nod although he may get some competition from current Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant.  Three Democrats are running.  Prediction- Republican Hold

South Dakota- GOP incumbent Dennis Daaugard is term limited.  The front runner among four Republicans is US Congresswoman Kristi Noem.  State attorney general Marty Jackley is her toughest primary opposition.  On the Democratic side only state senator Billy Sutton has declared.  Prediction- Republican Hold


Tennessee- Republican incumbent Bill Haslam is term limited prompting six Republicans and two Democrats to enter the race.  For the Democrats, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean is the most likely choice and US Congresswoman Diane Black the likely GOP candidate.  Prediction- Republican Hold

Texas-  With a 58% approval rating, Republican Gregg Abbott is a shoo-in for reelection.  That has not stopped ten Democrats for vying for the chance to lose the general election with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez the best known of the lot.  Prediction- Republican Hold

Vermont-  Phil Scott, the unlikely winner in 2016 for the GOP, sports a 60% approval rating and seems destined for reelection.  He will face a primary challenge and two Democrats on the other side have entered the race.  It again seems strange to be saying this about New England, but Prediction- Republican Hold

Wisconsin-  Scott Walker is eligible for another term and running in 2018.  He stands on the cusp with an approval rating of 44%.  With 14 Democrats declared on their side, the clown car is filled up.  At this point, Tony Evers, the state head of school instruction, is the biggest name in the race.  Expect all the nonsense that followed Walker previously to be drudged up again in 2018.  If he can slightly increase his approval rating, this writer would have more confidence.  But, this is Wisconsin and, like New Hampshire, a difficult state to accurately predict.  Prediction- Toss Up

And finally-

Wyoming- Matt Mead, the term limited Republican incumbent, will leave with a high 59% approval rating.  Businessman Bill Dahlin is the only Republican thus far against former state representative Mary Throne, the only declared Democrat thus far.  It is possible other names may enter the race.  Prediction- Republican Hold




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