Republicans are defending governorships in seven of the states – Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.
The states lean Republican except for Vermont, where Gov. Phil Scott has been a popular moderate Republican in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ home state, and New Hampshire, where Gov. Chris Sununu was re-elected 53%-46% in 2018.
In Missouri, Republican Mike Parson is seeking election as governor in his own right after elevating to the position from lieutenant governor in 2018. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is seeking re-election as a Republican after winning the office in 2016 as a Democrat. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is the only Republican governor not seeking re-election this year.
Democrats are the defending party in governor’s elections in Delaware, Montana, North Carolina, and Washington.
In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock is term-limited after eight years and is seeking a Senate seat in a state that voted for President Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in the 2016 election. In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is opposed by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in a state that probably will also have competitive elections for Senate and president.
Republicans presently hold 26 of the 50 governorships. In most states, governors presiding in 2021 and 2022 will sign into law or veto maps that redraw congressional and state legislative boundary lines.
“Downballot Counts,” Bloomberg Government’s podcast analyzing the 2020 U.S. House and Senate elections and other downballot contests, includes a Giroux’s Gem on each weekly episode. Click here to listen.