Democrats nationwide are especially targeting the 38 Republican governors that are running for re-election during the 2017 and 2018 election years, according to a Thursday report from The Hill.
Of those 38 races, only 9 are currently held by Democrats. The rest of the governor’s mansions, with the exception of Alaska’s Independent governor, are Republican-controlled.
“From the map perspective, we’re victims of our own success,” Phil Cox, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association told The Hill. “We’re at the high-water mark.”
The shift to gubernatorial races is of use to Democrats, partially due to the limited growth potential in the House and Senate in 2018, as well as the impact of redistricting rules after the 2020 census.
Only three House Republican seats are rated as “toss-up” races by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Comparatively, two seats held by Democrats are rated as toss-ups, resulting in limited growth potential in the House.
The Senate isn’t much different for Democrats. North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana are the only three senate races rated as “toss-ups,” and they are all held by Democrats.
Democrats are also eager to get a firm footing when it comes to deciding redistricting rules nationwide. Former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder credit a strong Republican hand in the 2010 redistricting cycle for the GOP’s strong showing during the Obama administration.
“If we do not have Democratic governors and statehouses, then we are going to get wiped out at the state and local level,” Democrat Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told The Hill. “The key to building this party starts with your governor.”
Ohio, Michigan, and Florida will all have “open races,” which means there is no incumbent. Democrats hope to target those races specifically, in addition to GOP-controlled seats in Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and the traditionally blue states of Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
The GOP also has a few expansion targets, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Minnesota are all states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and have Democratic governors.
“We’re not surprised that we’re on defense,” said Jon Thompson, an RGA spokesman. “It’s something we’ve been planning for.”
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