Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dems Positioned to Make Gains in Races for Governor

The Washington-centric coverage of the upcoming elections remains focused on the U.S Senate races, with political oddsmakers (myself included) still unsure if the Republicans will pick up the net six seats the GOP needs to claim control of the upper chamber, though the hedge this cycle appears to be in forecasting the probability that the Republicans will take control of the Senate. 

However, just below the radar of the national mainstream media's daily drumbeat of senatorial speculation is the apparent net gain the Democrats will score in the governors' races this year. Albeit I forecast only one or two pick ups, the Democrats are very well positioned to cut into the 29-21 edge in governorships the GOP now enjoys nationwide.

Considering how much more policy has been accomplished legislatively in the states than in Washington during the Tea Party era, net pick ups in the governors' mansions are quite significant. While Washington is a laboratory for public policy these days, the states have become the assembly line where the legislative work more routinely gets done. 

The Democrats sure-thing pick up next month is in Pennsylvania, where GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has not shown signs of political life in the past year. He's toast.

The Republicans best chance for a pick up is in the open seat in Arkansas, currently held by Gov. Mike Beebe, who is term-limited and is required to step down.

But there are plenty of exciting, and too close to call races throughout the country, including in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, among a few others.

The Republicans have 22 governorships in play this year, while the Democrats have 14 gubernatorial seats to defend.

Here's what some of the expert prognosticators think on the races for governor:

The consensus points to a good election night for Democrats, but there is still time for Republicans to turn the overall trend around. Nonetheless, my forecast remains that the Dem will have a net gain of one two governor's seats.

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