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

2018 Gubernatorial Elections

NOTE: For information and analysis on the 2018 gubernatorial election results, see the Center on the American Governor blog.


Much of the attention surrounding the 2018 election season focused on whether Democrats would be able to take control of the U.S. House and/or Senate, or whether one or both chambers would continue to have Republican majorities. Another important party battle was also underway, however, with Democrats attempting to cut into the historically high number of governorships–33–held by Republicans in 2018.

Democrats did not lack for opportunity: 36 states held gubernatorial elections in 2018, with 26 of the seats in question held by Republicans. While not all of the races were competitive, they were all important. In addition to determining policy priorities in the states and giving prominence to potential future presidential candidates, the gubernatorial election results will soon 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.

In the end, Democrats picked up seven gubernatorial seats, while Republicans won one seat (in Alaska) formerly held by an independent. In 2019, as a result, Republicans will control 27 governorships while Democrats will control 23.

Below is a quick look at the 2018 races, including a look at which races featured 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 (26)
Democrat Incumbent (9)
Independent Incumbent (1)
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 in 2018, half were 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 (18): 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/loss in primary (15): Arizona (Robert Bentley, R); California (Jerry Brown, D); Colorado (John Hickenlooper, D);  Florida (Rick Scott, R); Georgia (Nathan Deal, R); Kansas (Jeff Colyer, 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 (3): Connecticut (Dannel Malloy, D); Idaho (Butch Otter, R); Minnesota (Mark Dayton, D)

*Sam Brownback, who would have been term limited, resigned as governor of Kansas in January and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer (R) took over. Colyer ran for election to a full term in 2018 but lost to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the primary.


Primary Dates and Results

State Primary Date Nominees
Alabama June 5 Kay Ivey (R) (incumbent)
Walt Maddox (D)
Alaska August 21 Bill Walker (I) (incumbent)
Mark Begich (D)
Mike Dunleavy (R)
Arizona August 28 Doug Ducey (R) (incumbent)
David Garcia (D)
Arkansas May 22 Asa Hutchinson (R) (incumbent)
Jared Henderson (D)
California June 5 John Cox (R)
Gavin Newsom (D)
Colorado June 26 Jared Polis (D)
Walker Stapleton (R)
Connecticut August 14 Ned Lamont (D)
Bob Stefanowski (R)
Florida August 28 Ron DeSantis (R)
Andrew Gillum (D)
Georgia May 22 Stacey Abrams (D)
Brian Kemp (R)
Hawaii August 11 David Ige (D) (incumbent)
Andria Tupola (R)
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 Laura Kelly (D)
Kris Kobach (R)
Maine June 12 Janet Mills (D)
Shawn Moody (R)
Maryland June 26 Larry Hogan (R) (incumbent)
Ben Jealous (D)
Massachusetts September 4 Charlie Baker (R) (incumbent)
Jay Gonzalez (D)
Michigan August 7 Bill Schuette (R)
Gretchen Whitmer (D)
Minnesota August 14 Jeff Johnson (R)
Tim Walz (D)
Nebraska May 15 Pete Ricketts (R) (incumbent)
Bob Krist (D)
Nevada June 12 Adam Laxalt (R)
Stephen Sisolak (D)
New Hampshire September 11 Chris Sununu (R) (incumbent)
Molly Kelly (D)
New Mexico June 5 Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)
Steve Pearce (R)
New York September 13 Andrew Cuomo (D) (incumbent)
Marc Molinaro (R)
Ohio May 8 Richard Cordray (D)
Mike DeWine (R)
Oklahoma June 26 Drew Edmondson (D)
Kevin Stitt (R)
Oregon May 15 Kate Brown (D) (incumbent)
Bud Pierce (R)
Pennsylvania May 15 Tom Wolf (D) (incumbent)
Scott Wagner (R)
Rhode Island September 12 Gina Raimondo (D) (incumbent)
Allan Fung (R)
South Carolina June 12 Henry McMaster (R) (incumbent)
James Smith (D)
South Dakota June 5 Kristi Noem (R)
Billie Sutton (D)
Tennessee August 2 Karl Dean (D)
Bill Lee (R)
Texas March 6 Greg Abbott (R) (incumbent)
Lupe Valdez (D)
Vermont August 14 Phil Scott (R) (incumbent)
Christine Hallquist (D)
Wisconsin August 14 Scott Walker (R) (incumbent)
Tony Evers (D)
Wyoming August 21 Mark Gordon (R)
Mary Throne (D)



Future Races

Fourteen states did not hold gubernatorial elections in 2018. Three states will hold their next gubernatorial elections in 2019, while nine will the year after, in 2020, and two in 2021:


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