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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Passing Health Reform to States Complicates Heated 2010 Gov Races

Larry J. Sabato has a new post up at his Crystal Ball website, “Statehouse Rock 2010” spotlighting what is shaping up to be the most competitive year for gubernatorial races in a long time. Sabato’s post focuses on the northeast and midwest states this week (south and west next week), but he has this to say about the Governors’ races next year:

2010 competitive action is in the statehouse races. A much higher proportion of contests for governor are clearly competitive than contests for Senate and House…All but a handful of governorships are moderately to highly competitive in 2010. Moreover, in comparing this midterm to those over the past two decades, it appears that a higher proportion of governorship races will be competitive in 2010 than in the most recent half-dozen midterm years…Twenty-one of these statehouses are currently held by Democrats, and 18 by Republicans. (In the 50 states as a whole, the count is 28 D, 22 R.)…There are 19 open governor’s races in 2010 without an incumbent running (plus one in Virginia in 2009), balanced almost evenly between the two parties (9 D, 10 R)….in most of the states, a real horserace is underway just for the party nominations, and it is impossible to handicap the general election until we know the party nominees.

In this week’s installment, Sabato has inside skinny on the N.E. and Midwest gubernatorial races, along with handy charts depicting the nation-wide red state-blue state breakdown in terms of governors and the electoral situation regarding governors of all the states.
As Ed Kilgore notes in his post below, delegating health care reform to the states could be inviting a world of headaches, all the more so in light of Sabato’s prediction of fiercely-fought competitive races for governorships across the nation. If gubernatorial candidates didn’t have enough to worry about, they may soon need to get up to speed on the myriad issues of health care reform they assumed would be resolved by congress.

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