2017-18 Gubernatorial Overview: Victory Now, Redistricting Power Later

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Nathan L. Gonzales April 21, 2017 · 3:00 PM EDT

Gubernatorial races might feel irrelevant in and distant from Washington, which is dominated by the presidency and Congress, but the next batch of races will have a profound impact on which party controls the House next decade. 

Voters in 38 states (including nine of the 10 largest) will elect a governor over the next two years. That not only increases opportunities for House members to run for higher office (leaving behind open congressional seats) but raises the stakes for the next round of redistricting. 

A majority of governorships doesn’t count for much, but Republicans currently hold 33 governorships compared to Democrats’ 16 (and one Independent governor of Alaska).

Governors in 35 states have veto power over congressional maps. And of those 35, 28 will be on the ballot this year or next. Democrats are particularly focused on electing governors in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin, where Republicans maximized their power to draw favorable maps prior to the 2012 elections. In some of these states, Republicans have wide majorities in the state Legislature, which means one gubernatorial victory can neutralize some of the GOP’s redistricting power. 

Overall, Democrats believe they stand to gain up to 44 House seats if “fair” maps were…

2017-18 Gubernatorial Overview (April 21, 2017) Alabama - Illinois

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April 21, 2017 · 2:59 PM EDT

ALABAMA -- Kay Ivey (R), assumed governorship April 2017. Ivey recently became governor after GOP Gov. Robert Bentley resigned under an ethical cloud involving an extramarital affair and improper use of state resources. Ivey becomes the first female governor of Alabama since Lurleen Wallace, wife…

2017-18 Gubernatorial Overview (April 21, 2017) Iowa - New Mexico

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April 21, 2017 · 2:58 PM EDT

IOWA -- Terry Branstad (R), elected 2010 (53%), 2014 (59%); previously elected 1982 (53%), 1986 (52%), 1990 (61%) and 1994 (57%). Branstad is President Trump’s choice to be the U.S. ambassador to China, which would elevate Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds to governor of the Hawkeye State upon Branstad’s…

2017-18 Gubernatorial Overview (April 21, 2017) New York - Wyoming

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April 21, 2017 · 2:57 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- Andrew Cuomo (D) elected 2010 (63%), 2014 (54%). The governor is expected to seek a third term and the race is not expected to be particularly competitive. Law professor Zephyr Teachout challenged Cuomo in the 2014 primary (lost 63-33% percent) and then lost a competitive congressional…

Parties Continue Special Election Slog

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Nathan L. Gonzales April 21, 2017 · 2:56 PM EDT

We’ve gone from theories to reality as voters head to the polls in the first batch of special elections. While Republicans staved off disaster in the 4th District of Kansas and the initial primary in the 6th District of Georgia, it’s clear that President Donald Trump is inspiring Democrats to…