Political junkies, there are 37—that's right, 37—governor's races this fall, so in case you thought you were going to get by only boning up on House and Senate races, think again, kid. The stage had already been set for historic, err, change, due to the relatively small number of incumbents running:
Even though just 37 of the 50 states have a gubernatorial election this November, the midterms are likely to produce so many new governors that a majority of all governors in 2011 will be newly installed.
Already, as our updated election chart (below) shows, 23 states have open contests with no incumbent running. This list includes the mega-states of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as lots of smaller, competitive states with an outsized influence on presidential politics, such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.
The national anti-incumbent, right-leaning national mood coupled with a Republican Governors Association competent and promising enough to earn director Nick Ayers one of those Washington Post "smart young whippersnapper" profiles usually reserved for Ezra Klein's roommates, has the landscape looking good for Republican gubernatorial hopefuls.
It is also gradually becoming clear that Republicans will be adding substantially to their current total of governorships. The primaries have yet to work their will, and voters will change the odds in some races by nominating stronger or weaker candidates.
The 23 open governor’s races are... balanced fairly evenly between the two parties (12 D, 11 R).
The whole, detailed run-down is at the link, so you can go study. Bottom line, from Sabato:
To sum up, six states already look very likely to switch party control: Hawaii to the Democrats, and Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wyoming to the Republicans. In addition, the GOP column can boast three more big states as leaning in its direction: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Now, as long as we can get through this South Carolina gubernatorial primary without anyone actually setting themselves on fire in a misguided attempt to cast aspersions on Nikki Haley's cooking skills, we may have a chance, people.