6 Key 2018 Midterm Governor Races to Watch

With the 2018 midterm elections less than two weeks away, much attention has been made about what impact the election will have on the makeup of power in Congress.

But with 36 gubernatorial elections to be decided this November, polls show that several gubernatorial races are coming down to the wire and could potentially have an impact beyond the states themselves.

Republicans arguably have the most to lose coming off a 2016 election when the GOP gained control of 33 of the nation’s 50 governorships.

The Chicago-based polling data aggregator Real Clear Politics lists eight gubernatorial races as “toss-ups,” as of Wednesday. And, all but one of those states have Republican governors. Additionally, three states with Republican governors lean in Democrats favor, according to RCP.

Despite the gains made in 2016, the GOP will want to protect its gubernatorial gains because governors elected this fall will preside over congressional redistricting in their states following the 2020 census, which can have a significant impact on partisan makeup of congressional districts for a decade.

In the following pages are six gubernatorial elections to watch this November.

1. Wisconsin

One race labeled as a toss-up by both RCP and FiveThirtyEight is that of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker verses Democrat challenger Tony Evers, who is Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction.

Walker, a former presidential candidate and Milwaukee county executive, has been elected to two four-year terms twice and survived a recall in 2012. He is looking to win his third term in the swing state.

But according to a RCP’s average of various polls, Walker trails Evers by 3.6 percentage points, 44.7 to 48.3 percent.

Walker’s re-election campaign has suffered some blows as four former high-ranking officials within his administration have come out and opposed his re-election campaign, with the fourth coming out last week.

As for Evers, he has faced criticism over claims that multiple paragraphs he used in a state education department budget request were plagiarized from a conservative education think tank.

2. Georgia

The race for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s open seat is a “toss-up” between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat former state House minority leader Stacey Abrams.

Should Abrams win, she will make history by becoming the first African-American woman elected as governor in the United States.

Kemp is running what he is calling a “Georgia First” campaign that is modelled after President Donald Trump’s “America First” 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric. Trump won Georgia with just over 50 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s 45 percent of the vote.

While Kemp is calling for small government and fewer regulations, Abrams is looking to build a coalition of black voters and white liberals in Atlanta, according to USA Today.

A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that Kemp has about 47.8 percent support compared to Abrams’ 46.3 percent.

3. Florida

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott is finishing his second and final term, his attention has been turned toward unseating Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate this November.

But left contesting for Scott’s current job are former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis and Democrat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

According to Real Clear Politics, polling shows that race is leaning toward Gillum.

The RCP average of polls shows that Gillum has about 49 percent support compared to DeSantis’ 43.2 percent. Should Gillum win, he will become the state’s first black governor.

According to USA Today, Gillum is a “progressive in the mold of Bernie Sanders” in that he is calling for things such as Medicare for all, an increase to the state’s minimum wage, an increase in corporate taxes, and marijuana legalization.

Gillum is also facing scrutiny as the Florida Commission on Ethics continues to investigate claims “accusing him of accepting gifts from city lobbyists,” news station WCTV reports. On Friday, it was revealed that Gillum accepted campaign donations from an undercover FBI agent posing as a developer to investigate political corruption in Tallahassee.

By contrast, DeSantis is a Trump supporter and has the endorsement of the Christian conservative advocacy group Family Research Council, who is confident that DeSantis will “stand strong for faith, family, and freedom.”

During his time in Congress, DeSantis sponsored the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and favored ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.

It was reported on Wednesday that Trump is expected to headline a “Make America Great Again” rally next week in Florida to support DeSantis and other Florida Republicans.

In 2016, 49 percent of Florida voters voted for Trump compared to the 47.82 percent of voters who backed Clinton.

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Source: Christian Post