2022 Gubernatorial Elections
This year promises to be an important one in U.S. politics. While many are focusing on the upcoming 2022 congressional midterm elections, there are 36 states that are holding gubernatorial elections this year. In the coming weeks, and all the way through Election Day (and beyond), the Eagleton Center on the American Governor will provide analysis on various aspects of the gubernatorial races, focusing sometimes on nationwide trends and other times on specific races, as we try to bring a fuller picture of these key contests.
Believe it or not, primary season is here. Texas—one of 36 U.S. states with gubernatorial elections in 2022—held the first primary in the country this past Tuesday, March 1. The other 35 states will follow suit through the spring and summer until September 20, when Massachusetts becomes the final state to hold its gubernatorial primary. The general election will follow in all 36 states on November 8.
There are likely to be numerous storylines in this year’s gubernatorial races: the continuing pandemic and the power struggles between governors and legislatures it has created; increasing partisanship at the state level; increasing representation of women and candidates of color running for gubernatorial office; and economic questions as states continue to (hopefully) recover from the pandemic, just to name a few.
While much attention in 2022 will be paid to party control of Congress next year, determining which party will have working majorities in state legislatures–and gubernatorial offices–is increasingly important.
A quick look at some of the key facts about this year’s gubernatorial races:
States with gubernatorial races in 2022
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, and Wyoming
U.S. territories with gubernatorial races in 2022
Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands
Of the 36 seats up for election, 20 are currently held by Republicans and 16 by Democrats
At least 8 of the races will be for open seats: Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania
All nine women currently serving as governor are approaching the end of their terms. While Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) is term-limited, the other eight have either announced they will run or are expected to do so soon.
Forty-six current governors are non-Hispanic white. All four who are not–David Ige (D-HI), Chris Sununu (R-NH), Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM), and Kevin Stitt (R-OK)–serve in states holding gubernatorial elections this year. Sununu, Lujan-Grisham and Stitt will run for re-election, while Ige is term-limited.
April 1, 2022
Texas kicked off gubernatorial primary season on March 1, 2022, when incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R) and challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) won their respective party primaries. Over the course of the next six months, 35 more states will hold gubernatorial primaries. The chart below lists the date of each state primary and will be updated with the nominees as the primaries occur. Some quick facts:
- There are no gubernatorial primaries in April; the next will not be held until May 3.
- In all, eight primaries will be held in May and 11 in June. Only one primary is scheduled in July (a bit of a summer break), followed by 12 in August and three in September.
- The busiest gubernatorial primary day of the season is June 28, with five primaries held that day.
- The final primaries will not be held until September 13 in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
|Alabama||24-May||Yolanda Flowers||Governor Kay Ivey (i)|
|Alaska||16-Aug||Les Gara||Governor Mike Dunleavy (i)|
|Arizona||2-Aug||Katie Hobbs||Kari Lake|
|Arkansas||24-May||Chris Jones||Sarah Huckabee Sanders|
|California||7-Jun||Governor Gavin Newsom (i)||Brian Dahle|
|Colorado||28-Jun||Governor Jared Polis (i)||Heidi Ganahl|
|Connecticut||9-Aug||Governor Ned Lamont (i)||Bob Stefanowski|
|Florida||23-Aug||Charlie Crist||Governor Ron DeSantis (i)|
|Georgia||24-May||Stacey Abrams||Governor Brian Kemp (i)|
|Hawaii||13-Aug||Josh Green||Duke Aiona|
|Idaho||17-May||Stephen Heidt||Governor Brad Little (i)|
|Illinois||28-Jun||Governor J.B. Pritzker (i)||Darren Bailey|
|Iowa||7-Jun||Deidre DeJear||Governor Kim Reynolds (i)|
|Kansas||2-Aug||Governor Laura Kelly (i)||Derek Schmidt|
|Maine||14-Jun||Governor Janet Mills (i)||Paul LePage|
|Maryland||19-Jul||Wes Moore||Dan Cox|
|Massachusetts||6-Sep||Maura Healey||Geoff Diehl|
|Michigan||2-Aug||Governor Gretchen Whitmer (i)||Tudor Dixon|
|Minnesota||9-Aug||Governor Tim Walz (i)||Scott Jensen|
|Nebraska||10-May||Carol Blood||Jim Pillen|
|Nevada||14-Jun||Governor Steve Sisolak (i)||Joe Lombardo|
|New Hampshire||13-Sep||Tom Sherman||Governor Chris Sununu (i)|
|New Mexico||7-Jun||Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (i)||Mark Ronchetti|
|New York||28-Jun||Governor Kathy Hochul (i)||Lee Zeldin|
|Ohio||3-May||Nan Whaley||Governor Mike DeWine (i)|
|Oklahoma||28-Jun||Joy Hofmeister||Governor Kevin Stitt (i)|
|Oregon||17-May||Tina Kotek||Christine Drazan|
|Pennsylvania||17-May||Josh Shapiro||Doug Mastriano|
|Rhode Island||13-Sep||Governor Daniel McKee (i)||Ashley Kalus|
|South Carolina||14-Jun||Joe Cunningham||Governor Henry McMaster (i)|
|South Dakota||7-Jun||Jamie Smith||Governor Kristi Noem (i)|
|Tennessee||4-Aug||Jason Martin||Governor Bill Lee (i)|
|Texas||1-Mar||Beto O’Rourke||Governor Greg Abbott (i)|
|Vermont||9-Aug||Brenda Siegel||Governor Phil Scott (i)|
|Wisconsin||9-Aug||Governor Tony Evers (i)||Tim Michels|
|Wyoming||16-Aug||Theresa Livingston||Governor Mark Gordon (i)|
Women Running for Re-election
June 1, 2022
With nine 2022 gubernatorial primaries now complete, one trend already appears to be emerging: eight women have won major party nominations (including the eventual winner of the Democratic run-off in Arkansas, in which both candidates are women). In at least two races—Oregon and Arkansas—both major party candidates will be women.
Currently, nine women serve as governors of U.S. states—a tie for the most women to concurrently serve as governors in U.S. history. This record was first set in 2004, then matched in 2007, 2019, 2021, and again this year. Will that record be broken following the 2022 elections? Let’s first take a look at this year’s races that involve women running for re-election.
Coincidentally, all nine women currently serving as governor will come to the end of their terms in this election cycle. One—Kate Brown (D-OR)—is term limited and not eligible to run for re-election this year. The other eight, however, are all running for second terms:
- Alabama: Kay Ivey (R) became governor in 2017 when former Governor Robert Bentley resigned. She was elected to her first full term in 2018. She has also served two terms as Treasurer of Alabama (2003-2011).
- Iowa: Kim Reynolds (R) became governor in 2017 when former Governor Terry Branstad resigned to become Ambassador to China. She won her first full term in 2018. Before being elected lieutenant governor, Reynolds served in the Iowa State Senate.
- Kansas: Laura Kelly (D) was elected governor in 2018 after serving 14 years in the Kansas State Senate. She is expected to face the most difficult path to re-election, as a Democrat in a majority Republican state.
- Maine: Janet Mills (D) was elected governor in 2018 after serving two separate stints as attorney general (2009-2011, 2013-2019) and as a member of the State House of Representatives (2004-2009). Mills is likely to face former Governor Paul LePage (R) in the general election, her direct predecessor as governor.
- Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D) was elected governor in 2018 after serving in both the Michigan House of Representatives (2001-2006) and the Michigan State Senate (2006-2015). Whitmer has had a high political profile during her term, including serving as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and giving the Democratic response to the State of the Union Address in 2020.
- New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) was first elected governor in 2018. Before serving as governor, Lujan Grisham was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where she was chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
- New York: Kathy Hochul (D) became governor in 2021 upon the resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo (D). Hochul is running for her first full term in 2022.
- South Dakota: Kristi Noem (R) was elected governor in 2018. Before serving as governor, Noem was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
If all eight women running for re-election are successful, only two women challengers in other races will need to win in order to surpass the record. Stay tuned for a look at those challengers and the obstacles they may face.