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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.


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)


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