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September 2020 | by Jessica Nelson
There’s no question that Republicans have a lot of ground to defend on the 2014 governor’s map: Of the party’s 17 incumbents up for reelection, nine of them are in blue states that twice voted for President Barack Obama.
Still, while Republicans acknowledge the map is tough for them and some losses may be unavoidable, they’re confident that they can limit those losses and hold seats in some key battleground states such as Wisconsin and Ohio.
“Republican governors are well-financed, have strong records of public policy achievements, will be supported aggressively by outside groups like the RGA and are swimming in an environment that’s favorable to Republicans,” said Phil Musser, a former Republican Governors Association executive director.
Of the Republican governors swept into office on the GOP wave of 2010, all of whom are now facing reelection, several are fighting uphill battles—and Democrats are confident they’ll pick up at least some seats in November.
Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett’s approval rating stands in the 30s or even in the 20s in some polls; Maine’s Paul LePage faces a three-way race with a strong Democratic recruit, and his penchant for gaffes hasn’t helped; Florida’s Rick Scott, despite having almost $25 million in the bank, is consistently down in the polls.
“A lot of these governors benefited from a tremendous wind at their back in 2010,” said Nathan Daschle, who served as executive director of the DGA that year.
But there are other reasons for the GOP to be optimistic about avoiding big losses in gubernatorial races. A trio of Midwestern governors who are high on Democrats’ target lists—Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder—are posting big fundraising numbers, leading in the polls and facing Democratic opponents who are still relatively undefined and unknown.
The gubernatorial landscape is in the spotlight as governors from both parties descend on Washington for the National Governors Association meeting this weekend. …
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