Politics

Breakdown of 2011/2012 gubernatorial races

For many, the presidential sweepstakes is the big show, but across the country there is just as much power jockeying going on within the 14 states preparing for their 2011/2012 gubernatorial races.

The majority of states with gubernatorial elections in 2011 and 2012 have Democratic incumbents. Despite playing a lot of defense, Democrats are confident that they will be able to hold all of their governors’ mansions. The GOP says Republicans will not only hold the governors’ mansions they currently control, but take even more.

Republican Governors Association (RGA) spokesman Mike Schrimpf told The Daily Caller that the Republicans will be playing aggressive offense in the coming years to bring more state governorships into the ‘R’ column.

“Despite already holding 29 governorships, over the next few years we are in a good position to expand our majority,” said Schrimpf. “Of the 14 states holding governors races between now and 2012, 9 of them will be Democratic. Nearly all of the 14 states are winnable and the 5 Republican defenses are in pretty solid ‘R’ states.”

The Democrats aren’t talking quite as tough as the GOP, but they remain confident that they will retain the governorships they currently have. Elisabeth Smith, spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), told TheDC that Democrats are certain they will hold on to all 9 of their governorships and will remain vigilant in order to capitalize on any opportunities that may arise to take some Republican governorships.

“Even though most of the states that are up in 2011 and 2012 are red or Republican leaning, we are confident that we will be able to hold the governor’s seats that we currently have,” said Smith, adding that though it looks like a tough year, the DGA will continue to look for opportunities to expand.

So what does the landscape actually look like?

While it is early, both the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball have started analyzing the races. TheDC also has compiled a list of all the states set to hold gubernatorial elections in 2011 and 2012, as well as the possible challengers/candidates for each race. (Note: * indicates the election is to be held in 2011.)

Delaware

Jack Markell (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): Open so far

Cook Political Report: Solid D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Solid D

Indiana

Mitch Daniels (R) is term limited.

Possible Republican candidate(s): Rep. Mike Pence, Indianapolis businessman Jim Wallace

Possible Democratic candidate(s): Rep. Joe Donnelly, Former House Speaker John Gregg*

Cook Political Report: Likely R

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Leans R

Kentucky*

Steven L. Beshear (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): State Senate President David Williams, businessman Phil Moffett, Jefferson County Clerk Barbara Holsclaw

Cook Political Report: Leans D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Leans D

Louisiana*

Bobby Jindal (R) is eligible for reelection

Possible Democratic challenger(s): Jim Bernhard, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell

Cook Political Report: Solid R

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Solid R

Mississippi*

Haley Barbour (R) is term limited.

Possible Republican candidate(s): Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant, businessman Dave Dennis, retired Cost Guard Major General Hudson Holliday

Possible Democratic candidate(s): Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPress, businessman Bill Luckett

Cook Political Report: Likely R

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Likely R

Missouri

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder

Cook Political Report: Toss-up

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Likely D

Montana

Brian Schweitzer (D) is term limited.

Possible Republican candidate(s): Former Rep. Rick Hill, former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, former state Sen. Ken Miller

Possible Democratic candidate(s): State Sen. Dave Wanzenried

Cook Political Report: Toss-up

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Likely D

New Hampshire

John Lynch (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): 2010 Senate candidate Ovide LaMontagne

Cook Political Report: Leans D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Leans D

North Carolina

Bev Perdue (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCroy

Cook Political Report: Toss-up

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Toss-up

North Dakota

Jack Dalrymple (R) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Democratic challenger(s): Open so far

Cook Political Report: Likely R

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Solid R

Utah

Gary Richard Herbert (R) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Democratic challenger(s): Open so far

Cook Political Report: Solid R

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Solid R

Vermont

Peter Shumlin (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican challenger(s): Open so far

Cook Political Report: Likely D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Solid D

Washington

Christine Gregoire (D) is retiring.

Possible Republican candidate(s): Attorney General Rob McKenna

Possible Democrat candidate(s): Rep. Jay Inslee

Cook Political Report: Likely D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Toss-up

West Virginia*

Earl Ray Tomblin (D) is eligible for reelection.

Possible Republican Challenger(s): Secretary of State Betty Ireland, state Senator Clark Barnes, attorney Mark Sorsais, state Delegate Patrick Lane

Cook Political Report: Leans D

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Toss-up

**West Virginia will also have a 2012 election. The candidates involved in the special 2011 election will likely participate in the 2012 election.

* This story has been updated

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