2020 is going to be a big year politically, and while almost all eyes will be on the race for the White House, there are some gubernatorial races going on in 2020 as well. Eleven states will be holding races for their governor’s mansions. Some governors are running for another term, some are term-limited, and some races are open. 

Keep in mind, things can change, many incumbents haven’t confirmed or denied running for re-election, but this is what the playing field looks like for now. Puerto Rico and American Samoa will also be holding gubernatorial races. 

Let’s take a look at what to expect. 

Delaware

Delaware’s Democratic governor John Carney, who was first elected in 2016, is up for re-election in 2020 and is expected to run for a second term. The election will be held on November 3, 2020 and will likely face off against a Republican challenger, but is favored to keep his seat. 

Indiana

Also on November 3rd, Indiana’s Republican governor Eric Holcomb will be running for re-election. He faces a few potential challenges, but the state leans red. Holcomb became governor in 2017 after Mike Pence became vice president. It’s possible that if Pete Buttigieg drops out of the 2020 presidential campaign before the primary, he could make a run for this seat instead. 

Missouri 

Missouri’s Republican governor Mike Parson is running for re-election after first becoming governor following the resignation for the former governor, Eric Greitens. Parsons is expected to have both Republican and Democratic challengers, and the state has been solidly red in the last few presidential 

Montana

Montana’s Democratic governor Steve Bullock is not only term-limited and therefore unable to run for the position again, he’s actually running for president. Several state office holders have declared that they are running, including body-slammer Greg Gianforte and this will be an interesting race to watch as Montana voted for Trump with a Democratic governor in 2016. 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is always a happening political state, especially during presidential elections, but in 2020, they’ll also elect a governor. Republican Chris Sununu is up for re-election for his third term. The race is considered “potentially competitive” especially with so many Democrats coming to campaign for president there. 

North Carolina

North Carolina’s Democratic governor Roy Cooper is eligible for re-election in 2020. Cooper gained notoriety for campaigning against the transgender bathroom bill. Republicans are likely to push hard for a solid Republican challenger as Trump has also been campaigning there a lot. 

North Dakota

The Republican governor of North Dakota Doug Burgum is eligible for another term in 2020. While it is a red state, Burgum will likely face a Democratic political office older opponent, though not Heidi Heitkamp, who lost her Senate seat in 2018. 

Utah

Utah’s Republican governor Gary Herbert is retiring in 2020, so the solidly red governor’s mansion is up for grabs. However, Utah hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 1985. It looks good for the Republicans. It’s likely the lieutenant governor will step up into the big job. 

Vermont

Republican governor Phil Scott is eligible for re-election in Vermont, but it’s not clear yet he’ll run again. If he does, he’ll likely face off against a former Education Secretary on the Democratic side. In 2018, Scott defeated Christine Hallquist, the first openly transgender mainsteam gubernatorial nominee in the country’s history. Vermont does not have term limits for governors. 

Washington

Washington’s Democratic governor Jay Inslee announced in August 2019 that he would not continue as a Democratic presidential candidate. Instead, he would be seeking a third term as governor. Several Republicans will challenge him in the blue-leaning state. 

West Virginia

Republican governor Jim Justice is seeking a second term as West Virginia’s governor, but he’ll have to defend his seat from Democratic challengers. In fact, Justice himself was a Democrat when he was elected in 2016, but has since switched parties. It is unlikely that Senate swing vote and former governor Joe Manchin will run against him though, and he’s considered likely to keep his seat at the time, though it will be interesting to watch. West Virginia voted solidly for Donald Trump in 2016.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member