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Center on the American Governor > On Governors > U.S. Governors > 2018 Gubernatorial Elections

2018 Gubernatorial Elections

Much of the preliminary attention surrounding the 2018 election season is focused on whether Democrats will be able to take control of the U.S. House and/or Senate or whether they will continue to have Republican majorities. Another important party battle will also be taking place, however, with Democrats attempting to cut into the historically high number of governorships–33–currently held by Republicans.

Democrats will not lack for opportunity: 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections in 2018, with 26 of the seats in question currently held by Republicans. While not all of the races are likely to be competitive, they will all be important. In addition to determining policy priorities in the states and giving prominence to potential future presidential candidates, the upcoming gubernatorial elections in many states will have a significant impact on another key political process: redistricting. Most of the governors elected in 2018 will lead their states in 2020, the year in which the important redistricting process will begin determining the shape of both Congressional seats and those in the state legislature.

Below is a quick look at the 2018 races, including a look at which races feature open seats and the primary dates and results for each state.

 

States Holding Gubernatorial Elections and Current Party Affiliation

 

2018 gov elections

 

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming

 

 

 

Republican Incumbent Democrat Incumbent Independent Incumbent
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Alaska

 

Open Races

2018 Open Races

Lighter shaded states are currently open races

Of the 36 races to take place in 2018, at least half will be for open seats due to term limits or a decision by the incumbent not to run. As of December 2017, 14 of the 18 open seats are currently held by Republicans. While there is still time for incumbents not subject to term limits to change their minds, the lists below indicate the current open races and those with incumbent candidates. On the map, open races are indicated by a lighter shade of red or blue.

Incumbents running for reelection: Alaska (Bill Walker, I); Arizona (Doug Ducey, R); Arkansas (Asa Hutchinson, R); Hawaii (David Ige, D); Illinois (Bruce Rauner, R); Iowa (Kim Reynolds, R); Maryland (Larry Hogan, R); Massachusetts (Charlie Baker, R); Nebraska (Pete Ricketts, R); New Hampshire (Chris Sununu, R); New York (Andrew Cuomo, D); Oregon (Kate Brown, D); Pennsylvania (Tom Wolf, D); Rhode Island (Gina Raimondo, D); South Carolina (Henry McMaster, R); Texas (Greg Abbott, R); Vermont (Phil Scott, R); Wisconsin (Scott Walker, R)

Open races due to term limits: Arizona (Robert Bentley, R); California (Jerry Brown, D); Colorado (John Hickenlooper, D);  Florida (Rick Scott, R); Georgia (Nathan Deal, R); Kansas (Sam Brownback, R); Maine (Paul LePage, R); Michigan (Rick Snyder, R); Nevada (Brian Sandoval, R); New Mexico (Susana Martinez, R); Ohio (John Kasich, R); Oklahoma (Mary Fallin, R); South Dakota (Dennis Daugaard, R); Tennessee (Bill Haslam, R); Wyoming (Matt Mead, R).

Retiring/Choosing not to run: Connecticut (Dannel Malloy, D); Idaho (Butch Otter, R); Minnesota (Mark Dayton, D)

 

Primary Dates and Results

State Primary Date Primary winners
Alabama June 5 Kay Ivey (R) (incumbent)
Walt Maddox (D)
Alaska August 21
Arizona August 28  
Arkansas May 22 Asa Hutchinson (R) (incumbent)
Jared Henderson (D)
California June 5 John Cox (R)
Gavin Newsom (D)
Colorado June 26  
Connecticut August 14  
Florida August 28  
Georgia May 22 Stacey Abrams (D)
Casey Cagle or Brian Kemp (R)*
Hawaii August 11  
Idaho May 15 Paulette Jordan (D)
Brad Little (R)
Illinois March 20 Bruce Rauner (R) (incumbent)
J.B. Pritzker (D)
Iowa June 5 Kim Reynolds (R) (incumbent)
Fred Hubbell (D)
Kansas August 7  
Maine June 12  
Maryland June 26  
Massachusetts September 4  
Michigan August 7  
Minnesota August 14  
Nebraska May 15 Pete Ricketts (R) (incumbent)
Bob Krist (D)
Nevada June 12 Adam Laxalt (R)
Stephen Sisolak (D)
New Hampshire September 11  
New Mexico June 5 Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)
Steve Pearce (R)
New York September 13  
Ohio May 8 Richard Cordray (D)
Mike DeWine (R)
Oklahoma June 26  
Oregon May 15 Kate Brown (D) (incumbent)
Bud Pierce (R)
Pennsylvania May 15 Tom Wolf (D) (incumbent)
Scott Wagner (R)
Rhode Island September 12  
South Carolina June 12 Henry McMaster or John Warren (R)**
James Smith (D)
South Dakota June 5 Kristi Noem (R)
Billie Sutton (D)
Tennessee August 2  
Texas March 6 Greg Abbott (R) (incumbent)
Lupe Valdez (D)
Vermont August 14  
Wisconsin August 14  
Wyoming August 21  

*A run-off will take place on July 24
**A run-off will take place on June 26. McMaster is the incumbent.

 

Future Races

Fourteen states will not hold gubernatorial elections in 2018. Three states will hold their next gubernatorial elections in 2019, while nine will the year after, in 2020:

 

2019 2020 2021
Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia New Jersey, Virginia