Much of the focus of the 2018 midterm elections has (appropriately) been on the fight for control of Congress. After all, with Trump continuing to do great damage in the White House, it’s critically important that Democrats make gains so Congress can act as a check on an out-of-control executive branch.
But what’s been largely overlooked throughout this election cycle is the fight for governorships all across the country. These elections, from Ohio to Florida to Wisconsin and beyond, could be even more critical than congressional races – and Democrats are poised to make gains.
In an interview with The Hill, Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said the blue wave won’t just boost Democrats running for Congress. It’ll also lead to a “fair number of pickups” for Democrats trying to unseat or replace Republican governors.
More from a Monday report in The Hill:
Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said on Monday that Democrats are poised to make gains in gubernatorial and state-wide races in November’s midterm elections.
“People haven’t really talked about governor’s races and state legislatures, which are hugely important,” Greenberg, managing partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.”
“Democrats, I think, are going to do quite well. I mean, it looks like we could possibly win Michigan. [Gov.] Scott Walker’s [R] underwater in Wisconsin,” she continued.
“I think there is potential for a fair number of pickups, which obviously is critically important going into 2020 with redistricting. So that to me is a sort of big story that’s a little bit under-reported,” she said.
Democrats are poised to grab eight or more governorships from Republicans
According to RealClearPolitics, Democratic candidates are well-positioned, though not guaranteed, to win at least eight governorships in the 2018 midterms – Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Maine and New Mexico. Nevada, Kansas and Georgia are also in play.
Some of these states, particularly in the midwest, are battlegrounds Trump was able to flip in 2016. They helped push him over the electoral college finish line against Hillary Clinton. The fact that Democrats are charging back should worry him and other Republicans with 2020 around the corner.
But the ramifications of these gubernatorial contests goes well beyond this year’s midterms or even the 2020 presidential election. They could affect who controls Congress for more than a decade to come.
As CNN pointed out earlier this year, “Because most governors have veto power over redistricting maps made by state lawmakers, Democratic governors have spent the year arguing that this year is their only chance at installing a check on Republican-dominated legislatures and preventing maps that would give the GOP a major advantage in the battle for control of Congress for another decade.”
Not to mention the fact that having Democratic governors is key to protecting health insurance coverage, voting rights and women’s rights for millions.
There is no question that the 2018 spotlight is fixed firmly on who controls Congress. But 36 states are holding gubernatorial elections, and the results of these contests could have far-reaching consequences.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.