2018 is obviously a huge midterm election year. Every member of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are up for election. However, there are also 36 Governor’s Mansions up for grabs. That’s thirty six states having gubernatorial races, and some of them are getting testy. Of course, as with every election, there are some solidly safe seats and incumbents who won’t lose unless something magical happens, but there are some seats that could flip. Those are the races we want to watch closely. Here are the top five gubernatorial races to watch, though all of them are worthy of your attention and your vote.


Rick Scott has been the governor of Florida for two consecutive terms, so he can’t run for a third right now. He could run again in the future, but he’ll have to exit the Governor’s Mansion for at least one election cycle. He’s running for the Senate seat open in Florida, but there’s a hot race to be his successor. The primaries won’t happen until August 28th, 2018, but we already have a wide list of candidates. On the left, some of the candidates include the current Mayor of Tallahassee, Gwen Graham a former congressman from the state, and the former mayor of Miami Beach. On the right, there’s Ron DeSantis, who currently represents Florida in Congress, along with state’s Commissioner of Agriculture and others. DeSantis is seen as the Republican frontleader, but the state is still considered a toss-up. The new Governor will oversee a redistricting after the 2020 census and a loss of the Governor’s Mansion in 2018 could mean trouble for the Republican’s 2020 presidential race.


Nevada’s current governor, Brian Sandoval, has also been term-limited and will not run in 2018. The state held their gubernatorial primaries in June of 2018. They have two candidates on the ballot: Republican Adam Laxalt and Democrat Steve Sisolak. The race is considered a toss-u,  but could be an early read of how Nevada will vote in 2020. In 2016, despite a Republican governor, Nevada leaned towards Hillary Clinton. However, the Republican nominee, Laxalt, is a popular current Attorney General and Sandoval is well-liked, so Republicans may be able to hold it. 


Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is running for re-election in 2018 against Democratic opponent JB Pritzker. Rauner is considered the most vulnerable governor in the nation. Democrat are pumping money into Illinois trying to defeat him. Pritzker is a businessman whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain. The race is also complicated by two third party candidates who will be on the ballot.

New Mexico

Current New Mexico governor, Susanna Martinez is, you guessed it, term-limited in 2018. Martinez’s approval ratings aren’t stellar, and Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016. However, New Mexico hasn’t had a Democrat governor since 2006. The state already held their primary and selected Republican Steve Pearce, a current Congressman, and Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, also a sitting Congresswoman.  As of the writing of this article, Grisham had a slight lead over Pearce, but the race is still considered a toss-up and likely will be tight until the very end. 


Connecticut has a history of being pretty left-leaning, and a lot of that comes from current governor, Dan Malloy, who has decided not to run for a third term in 2018 even though the state doesn’t have term limits. Malloy has laughably low approval ratings and both the Republican and Democrat primary are crowded. Both primaries will take place in August. It’s hard to say for certain who the front runners are. The state is considered a toss-up and would be a major win for Republicans if they can flip it.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member