2018 Gubernatorial Races Ratings Overview

For the 2018 midterms, many of the most closely-watched races will be at the Gubernatorial level. Next year, 36 states will elect Governors. As with several other outlets, we’ll be running periodic updates where we give our assessments of how the races are shaping up.

In descending order of competitiveness, we rate states as Tilt, Lean, Likely, or Strong, in the direction of either party. States that are purple are considered Tossups.

Here’s where we would rate each race, with a little under 18 months until election day (for now, we’re also including the VA and NJ, which hold elections later this year):

Here’s a map showing the current partisan control of each state. The upcoming Governor’s races are evenly divided between open contests and those featuring incumbents:

One advantage the Democrats have is that they have relatively few seats to defend. After subpar midterms in the Obama era, they hold just ten of the thirty-eight Governorships up in 2017/2018. Except for Pennsylvania, each Democratic-held state has Cook PVI score that leans in their direction:

(We’ve also included Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska here, who was elected on a fusion ticket with a Democratic running mate.)

Conversely, the GOP will be playing *a lot* of defense. They had a strong year in 2010, and went on to net more Governorships in 2014. Republicans will be defending 27 Governorships between now and 2018, a third of which are in Democratic-leaning states:

We consider the Democrats Likely to flip New Jersey later this year, and are early favorites to win back New Mexico. Likewise, Republicans are defending five of the seven seats that we currently consider Tossups.

Next week, roll out our more detailed assessments of each contests (and will the same for the Senate after). After our initial ratings, we’ll be periodically adjusting the outlook as the races develop.

Check back next week!