Early Look at 2018 Gubernatorial Elections- Part 2

This article will look at 12 more gubernatorial races in 2018.


Kim Reynolds became Governor when Terry Branstad was chosen to be US ambassador to China by President Trump.   New to the job since May, 2017, Reynolds has a lowly 46% approval rating according to some outlets.  She faces two primary opponents and eight Democrats have entered the fray.  Iowa does not use a runoff so its possible that the Democratic candidate will not be a consensus one which plays to the favor of Reynolds.  This is a hard one to predict given the short tenure for Reynolds.  Prediction at this point: Toss Up.


To say that Republican Governor Sam Brownback was unpopular would be an understatement.  He was term-limited anyway, but will be stepping down to take a position in the Trump administration.  Before stepping down, four Republicans and two Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring.  Chris Kobach, the state secretary of state, will be the likely Republican candidate.  Because Kansas is such a red state, voters may be willing to forgive the party for Brownback who was tied with Chris Christie for the worst approval rating and was second only to Christie in disapproval at 66%.  Prediction at this point: a cautious Republican hold.


Yet another Republican incumbent- Paul LePage- is term limited.  Despite Maine’s blue status, an open race and the Democratic bench, although there are seven candidates, only one name stands out- state attorney general Janet Mills.  Only one Republican, Mary Mayhew, has declared their candidacy.  Although not as dynamic as New Hampshire politics, LePage twice winning the gubernatorial race and Bruce Poliquin, a Republican being elected to the US House, and a “Republican” Senator in Susan Collins, one should not discount GOP chances.  Still and all, prediction at this point: Democratic pick up.


Republican incumbent Larry Hogan has hovered in the 70+% approval range for much of his tenure.  He has since slipped to 68%.  This all but guarantees reelection.  What makes it more important is that Maryland is a deeply blue state.  That has not stopped the Democrats from entering the race- 6 in all- with ex-NAACP president Ben Jealous probably the best known of the lot.  With such a high approval rating… good luck unseating Hogan.  Prediction at this point:  Republican hold.


For how popular Hogan is in Maryland, GOP incumbent Charlie Baker currently holds the crown for most popular Governor of any party at 71%.  Facing no primary opposition and only tepid Democratic contenders, Baker looks like he will glide to reelection in even deeper-blue-than-Maryland- Massachusetts.  Prediction at this point: Republican hold.


Rick Snyder, the Republican incumbent, is term-limited.  Three Republicans and six Democrats have thus far entered the race to succeed him.  Snyder, unless things change fast, will leave office with one of the lowest approval ratings among all Governors, including a 52% disapproval rating.  It is difficult to see a Republican being successful in this atmosphere in 2018 in Michigan.  No big names have emerged on either side, but they have until April and there are some big names considering a run on the GOP side.  Prediction at this point:  Toss Up.


Mark Dayton is retiring in 2018 as the Democratic incumbent Governor leaving an open race to succeed him.  The race has attracted four Republicans- a state rep, two ex-state reps, and a county commissioner.  On the other side, six Democrats- a US rep, a state auditor, a major city mayor and three state reps- have announced their candidacies.  It is easy for Republicans to dismiss a state that sends the likes of Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Keith Ellison to Washington.  On occasion, Minnesota shows a red streak.  This writer does not necessarily see it in 2018, but things can change.  Prediction at this point:  Democratic hold.


This is a no-brainer as Pete Ricketts, the GOP incumbent faces no primary or general election challengers as of now.  Prediction at this point: Republican hold.


Brian Sandoval is the Republican incumbent with a 62% approval rating, but is term-limited.  For the Republicans to retain this seat, a candidate who has a message that resonates in Clark county is the key to victory.  So far, only one Republican and one Democrat have declared their candidacies.  There are some viable Republicans in the Sandoval administration considering a run which would increase the GOP’s chances.  Given the lack of big name candidates here, but greater potential among the Republicans considering, my prediction at this point: Republican hold.


Like Vermont, New Hampshire holds a gubernatorial election every two years meaning that Republican incumbent Chris Sununu faces reelection.  In April, he had a 52% approval rating.  In July, it was 57% so he looks in decent shape for a second term.  With no real Democratic threat on the horizon, it looks even better.  Prediction at this point: Republican hold.


Republican Susana Martinez is term limited.  Steve Pearce, the lone Republican Congressman from New Mexico, is the only Republican so far.  On the other side, three Democrats have declared their candidacy with First District US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham the biggest name in the mix.  However, she faces a fairly strong primary opponent in state senator Joe Cervantes.  Depending upon how banged up either Democrat emerges from their primary will determine the eventual outcome here.  This is a tough one to call.  Prediction at this point:  Toss Up


Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic incumbent up for reelection with, according to some, visions of the Presidency dancing in his head come 2020.  With no primary or declared Republican opponents and a 60% approval rating, it does not take a PhD to determine that New York’s contribution to a living claymation figure left out in the sun too long will win reelection.  Prediction at this point:  Democratic hold.