Governor Rankings: Only a few competitive races

Few people are paying attention to the 14 gubernatorial races that will be decided in the next 15 months (3 are happening this fall, and the 11 remaining are set for 2008). Yet, these contests will play a major role in deciding who holds control of Congress in the next decade: The governors who will be elected in those 14 states will hold control of redistricting after the next census, and each party wants to be ready for maximal gerrymandering in 2011.

With that in mind, let’s rank these races, from the most vulnerable to turnover to the one where the incumbent party feels the safest. It immediately appears that very few of these races are likely to be contested at all, especially the ones that will be decided in 2008. Democrats and Republicans will swap Louisiana and Kentucky this fall, and then fight in only  two-three states next year. A stark contrast to the 2006 cycle.

The first 3 races are listed after the jump. The full rankings and detailed descriptions of all 14 races is available here, on

  • Likely Takeover

1. Kentucky (Gov. Fletcher)
The first of the 2007 races. Fletcher has been facing huge allegations of misconduct and has even been indicted. This pushed Anne Northup, a congresswoman defeated in 2006, to challenge him in the primary last spring, but Fletcher inexplicably survived. He is now almost assured of going down in this November’s election against Democrat Steve Beshear, who has led every opinion poll by an average 20%. Democrats are now running ads using Northup’s words against Fletcher. Count on Fletcher losing his executive immunity in less than two months.

2. Louisiana (Open)
The second of the 2007 races. Republican Bobby Jindal almost became Governor in 2003 but came short against Blanco, who chose earlier this year to not run for re-election given her low approval ratings post-Katrina. Jindal became a House member in 2004, and he now looks unstoppable. Louisiana has no primary system, and the first round will take place in late October. Democrats have fielded weak candidates, and their only hope is to hold Jindal under 50% to force him into a one-on-one runoff in early December, but they would have little chance even then. Louisiana is rapidly drifting Republican.

  • Toss-up

3. Missouri (Gov. Blunt)
Blunt barely won his first term in 2004 against Democrat McKaskill, who since then became Senator. The 2008 campaign started almost immediately, as it became clear that AG Nixon intended to take Blunt on. The race has been nasty for months already. Given Nixon’s statewide recognition and Blunt’s unpopularity, Nixon might have the slightest of edges.

The rest of the rankings, and detailed descriptions of all 14 races, available here, on