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Here's my first total rundown of every gubernatorial race in 2006. If you don't have the patience to read through every one, just look for the ones you're interested in.

Without further ado, begin reading:

Alabama - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Bob Riley (R) - elected in 2002

Riley's 49% approval (to 48% disapproval) is precarious, but that's not the only reason this is a toss-up. He faces a strong far-right primary challenge from former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. While Riley has the edge in that primary, I wouldn't bet on it given the strong conservative bent of GOP primary voters (especially in Alabama). On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley should easily trounce corrupt former Gov. Don Siegelman. A Baxley/Riley race would be competitive; a Baxley/Moore race would lean toward Baxley.

Read the other 35 below the fold...

Alaska - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Frank Murkowski (R) - elected in 2002

Whether Murkowski runs again or not, this is a toss-up race. His approval being only 34% (less than President Bush's), he would be an extremely vulnerable incumbent in a usually deep red state. He also faces a tough Republican primary against a number of contestants, and at least one strong Democratic candidate, State Rep. Ethan Berkowitz. In the end, Murkowski may decide to take a bullet for his party and simply retire.

Arizona - Likely Democratic
Incumbent: Janet Napolitano (D) - elected in 2002

Napolitano may have a lot of Republican opposition in conservative-leaning Arizona, but her approval is 60%. I don't anticipate a tough race here.

Arkansas (OPEN) - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Mike Huckabee (R) - assumed office in 1996

With Huckabee term-limited, watch for one of 2006's hottest races in Bill Clinton's home state. The Democratic nominee is probably Attorney General Mike Beebe; the Republican is probably former Rep. Asa Hutchinson. Despite Huckabee's 56% approval, an early poll showed Beebe with the edge: 47% to Hutchinson's 40%. Nevertheless, the campaign has barely begun.

California - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) - elected in 2003 special recall

After the crushing defeat of all four of Arnold's "reform" initiatives in November, Arnold is looking mighty vulnerable right about now. His approval, once sky-high, is 33%, and he has two strong opponents already in Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly. Angelides is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and is already - at worst - tied with Schwarzenegger in the polls (several polls have shown him with a 4-point lead).

Colorado (OPEN) - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Bill Owens (R) - elected in 1998

Owens has a healthy 52% approval, but with him term-limited it is a pure toss-up. True, Colorado leans Republican, but not by much, and with Democrats clearly on the upswing here, attorney Bill Ritter must have some hope. The likely Republican nominee is Rep. Bob Beauprez. I give Beauprez the slight edge against Ritter, if only because of Owens' popularity, but I could be wrong.

Connecticut - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Jodi Rell (R) - assumed office in 2004

You just can't fight a 77% approval rating.

Florida (OPEN) - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Jeb Bush (R) - elected in 1998

Just like Arkansas and Colorado, despite a 57% approval rating for Jeb, this is a toss-up race courtesy of term limits. Rep. Jim Davis leads the Democratic field, while Attorney General Charlie Crist and CFO Tom Gallagher are competing for the GOP nomination. Davis is barely leading both Crist and Gallagher in a new Quinnipiac poll. Watch for yet another marquee finish in the Sunshine State.

Georgia - Lean Republican
Incumbent: Sonny Perdue (R) - elected in 2002

Perdue's approval has improved greatly, from the high 40's during summer to 57% in October. With that his poll numbers have gone up. The two major Democratic candidates are Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox. Without a doubt Cox is the stronger candidate (she is very popular statewide and is relatively baggage-free while Taylor has some skeletons in his closet). Most polls show her within a few points of Perdue, while Taylor lags way behind. Still, Perdue is popular, and no state is trending Republican faster than Georgia.

Hawaii - Likely Republican
Incumbent: Linda Lingle (R) - elected in 2002

After Lingle's near-loss in 2002, I have to hold out hope, but all the signs point to an easy reelection. Not only is no Democrat of any import running yet, but Hawaii's economy is in strong shape.

Idaho (OPEN) - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Dirk Kempthorne (R) - elected in 1998

Despite a 62% approval rating, Kempthorne has chosen to retire after two terms, and his successor will be either Lt. Gov. Jim Risch or (more likely) Rep. Butch Otter. The Democrats are silent.

Illinois - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Rod Blagojevich (D) - elected in 2002

Though Illinois has become a solid blue state, this is one of the Democrats' most vulnerable mansions. Blagojevich's approval is 41%, the state economy is tanking, and the GOP frontrunner is Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, the only Republican left in statewide office. If Blagojevich runs a strong campaign and makes it a referendum on Bush, he may survive, but so far Topinka is looking pretty good. Nevertheless, you can always count on Illinois Republicans to screw up a lead, so this remains a toss-up.

Iowa (OPEN) - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Tom Vilsack (D) - elected in 1998

Like Dirk Kempthorne, Vilsack is retiring despite a strong approval rating (56%). Democrats have a huge primary field, while Republicans have all but anointed Rep. Jim Nussle. I predict a showdown between Nussle and Secretary of State Chet Culver, which would be a very competitive matchup in this swing state. But take heart, Democrats: we may take the state legislature.

Kansas - Likely Democratic
Incumbent: Kathleen Sebelius (D) - elected in 2002

Hawaii having a GOP governor may embarrass Democrats, but Kansas having a Democratic governor has to totally irk Republicans. Especially since Gov. Sebelius' approval is 59%, and no strong Republican is challenging her. It's an easy Sebelius hold...I think.

Maine - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: John Baldacci (D) - elected in 2002

Baldacci is unpopular, but Republicans can't get their act together. Nevertheless, this is a tenuous rating; it may become a toss-up in short order.

Maryland - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Bob Ehrlich (R) - elected in 2002

Perhaps I should dub this lean Democratic. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, the Democratic frontrunner, has led Ehrlich in several polls, and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is tough competition too. On the other hand, if the winds are just right, Republicans can win in Maryland. I think Democrats have the edge here.

Massachusetts - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Mitt Romney (R) - elected in 2002

Romney's approval is only 43% and he has an uphill fight against Attorney General Tom Reilly. Indeed, there is nothing more embarrassing than a Republican governor in famously liberal Massachusetts. Hopefully that 16-year curse will end. The polls say it will. Now the interesting thing to watch is whether Romney subjects himself to a tough reelection battle or bows out in favor of a 2008 presidential run.

Michigan - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Jennifer Granholm (D) - elected in 2002

Even though Granholm's approval is only 42%, her lead over Amway heir Dick DeVos is very strong. DeVos is seen as too conservative for Michigan, but he is very wealthy and Granholm is not very popular, so a Republican victory is quite possible.

Minnesota - Lean Republican
Incumbent: Tim Pawlenty (R) - elected in 2002

Pawlenty's approval is good (52%), but Bush's isn't in Minnesota, and Attorney General Mike Hatch, the Dem frontrunner, should give Pawlenty a run for his money. Polls indicate a tight contest between the two despite Pawlenty's decent approval. Both this and the Senate race should be competitive.

Nebraska - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Dave Heineman (R) - assumed office in 2005

Heineman is very popular, but he faces a difficult primary against even more popular Rep. Tom Osborne. After the primary, there's nothing to see here.

Nevada (OPEN) - Lean Republican
Incumbent: Kenny Guinn (R) - elected in 1998

If not term-limited, Guinn would face a breezy reelection. Despite Nevada's swing state status, the GOP has the edge. Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons will probably face Democratic State Sen. Dina Titus, in a classic Nevada battle between rural Republicans and Las Vegas Democrats. If Gibbons is seen as Guinn's natural successor, then he will win. If this election becomes about President Bush, Titus will win. I suspect the former, but it will be close.

New Hampshire - Solid Democratic
Incumbent: John Lynch (D) - elected in 2004

So far, this is looking like a slam-dunk for Lynch. New Hampshire gives its governors two-year terms, so the current 70% approval for Lynch should translate to victory. What happens within the next term, however, is an open question.

New Mexico - Solid Democratic
Incumbent: Bill Richardson (D) - elected in 2002

Richardson's approval is 63% in a hotly contested swing state. He will win easily. Let the 2008 speculation begin.

New York (OPEN) - Solid Democratic
Incumbent: George Pataki (R) - elected in 1994

The mildly unpopular Pataki is retiring after three terms to save himself from a whipping by likely winner Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (a Democrat). This is going to be a Spitzer landslide according to every poll.

Ohio (OPEN) - Toss-Up
Incumbent: Bob Taft (R) - elected in 1998

This is one case where Republicans are glad for term limits, as Taft's 19% approval would have translated to a Democratic slam-dunk. Instead, Ohio will host one of the nation's hottest gubernatorial contests, probably between GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland. According to a new Rasmussen poll, Strickland has a narrow lead over Blackwell.

Oklahoma - Likely Democratic
Incumbent: Brad Henry (D) - elected in 2002

Henry is extremely popular in deep red Oklahoma, and should trounce Rep. Ernest Istook despite the usual political balance in the state. Why Istook would give up a safe House seat for this, I don't know.

Oregon - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Ted Kulongoski (D) - elected in 2002

Kulongoski's 42% to 47% approval-disapproval is close enough where he can recover, and if he makes President Bush the issue he will win. If Republicans get their act together, however, he could be in trouble; he also faces competition for the Democratic nomination.

Pennsylvania - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Ed Rendell (D) - elected in 2002

Though Rendell's popularity is about the same as Mitt Romney's, his situation is hardly comparable. His Republican opposition is not stellar - only partisan polls have shown him deeply endangered. He is also a politician for the ages, and as he demonstrated in 2002 all he needs are the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metros to pull off a victory.

Rhode Island - Likely Republican
Incumbent: Don Carcieri (R) - elected in 2002

Unlike Sen. Chafee, Carcieri can expect an easy reelection.

South Carolina - Likely Republican
Incumbent: Mark Sanford (R) - elected in 2002

Sanford is not all that popular, but when it comes down to it Democrats just don't have anybody in South Carolina.

South Dakota - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Mike Rounds (R) - elected in 2002

Not a peep out of South Dakota.

Tennessee - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Phil Bredesen (D) - elected in 2002

Bredesen's approval has fallen from the high 50's to 48%; very tenuous indeed, but no strong Republicans are in yet.

Texas - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Rick Perry (R) - assumed office in 2000

It doesn't matter that Perry's approval is only 43% - Texas is not electing a Democrat any time soon.

Vermont - Solid Republican
Incumbent: Jim Douglas (R) - elected in 2002

In yet another case of a popular governor politically at odds with his state, here's America's most lefty state totally willing to grant its GOP executive a third term.

Wisconsin - Lean Democratic
Incumbent: Jim Doyle (D) - elected in 2002

Doyle's approval is 46%, precarious. But a recent poll shows him with polling in the high 40's and with a good lead over both Rep. Mark Green and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. The poll also shows President Bush's approval practically below sea level in Wisconsin.

Wyoming - Solid Democratic
Incumbent: Dave Freudenthal (D) - elected in 2002

Wyoming, America's second most Bush-friendly state, loves, loves, loves its Democratic governor.

Originally posted to Nathaniel Ament-Stone on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 10:10 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Romney (none)
    The local conventional wisdom is that Romney will not run for re-election. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is expected to be the nominee. Romney is running around the country making fun of Massachusetts to ingratiate himself with the wingnuts.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 10:11:36 AM PST

    •  Romney is toast (none)
      Half the headlines he's been getting lately are about him bashing his own state ... if he decides to run for re-election, he's toast.  And if he really thinks he's got a chance at getting the nod for the Repub prez ticket, he really needs to adjust his medication.  His fellow Repubs love having him out there mocking his own state, but they're undoubtedly snickering behind his back about his presidential ambitions.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

      by Bearpaw on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 10:42:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]


    A peace vigil has as much effect on foreign policy as a debug vigil would on broken software.

    by RequestedUsername on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 10:17:54 AM PST

  •  One suggestion (none)
    Can you also note in which states the Secretary of State is an appointed position; e.g., PA?  To avoid the Ken Blackwells and Katherine Harrises of the world from getting into power, these races are critically important (especially in swing states).
  •  Pennsylvania (none)
    Big Ed isn't as comfortable as you suggest.  I haven't seen a single poll in the last few months that puts him over 50%.

    This 50-state poll of governors is interesting.

  •  IL and MA primaries? (none)
    What are the chances of a successful primary challenge to Blago in Illinois?  Also, is Reilly really a done deal in Massachusetts?  Does Deval Patrick have no chance?
  •  Rendell is safe (none)
    His opponents are lackluster, unless former Steelers  player Lynn Swaan gets the Rep. nom. As for MD, it will go Democratic.
  •  Looks like big gains (none)
    Looks like the Dems are going to make some big gains in governorships in 2006.  According to your rundown, there are:

    8 current (R) governors listed as Toss-ups
    2 current (R) governors listed as likely/solid (D) pickup

    and only:
    2 current (D) governors listed as Toss-ups

    Assuming toss-ups are 50/50 chances and we take the likely/solid races, Dems would pick up a net 5 governorships.

  •  MN (none)
    I don't think Minnesota leans Republican. Kerry won the state by larger margin in 2004 than gore did in 2002. The Dems also had big gains in the state house.

    Also, Hatch should be a very formidable candidate. Couple that with Bush's downfall and I am optimistic about both the Governor's race as well as the senate race.

    Mark Kennedy, the GOP senate candidate, was involved in prayer services for Terri Schiavo and yesterday he helped pass a very controversial budget. Kennedy as bush's little lapdog has indeed a lot of baggage.

  •  Idaho. Um, No... (none)
    The Democrats are silent.

    Jerry Brady is running against Butch Otter for the Governorship.

    From his website;

    For almost twenty years, Jerry Brady has been a familiar and influential voice in eastern Idaho as publisher of the Idaho Falls Post-Register and President of the Post Company. With an additional twenty years of experience in government, economics and law, Jerry seeks to continue his role as a leader and activist as the next Governor of Idaho. When elected, Jerry plans to improve education, foster local economic development and employment opportunities, create a fairer tax system, and work to increase access to quality, affordable health insurance for Idaho's working families.

  •  What's going (none)
    on in Ga is a little deeper than you suggest. The crazy aunt stuffed in the attic is Ralph Reed. The GOP is terrified that he will be the lt. gov. nominee. The latest polls I have seen have had Reed leading. Even Crazy Zell is raising money for him.

    Can you imagine if Ralph does run? The ad campaign against the Sonny/Reed team could include mafia hit men, money laundering etc. Sonny has screwed up enough where driving his negatives up wouldn't be that hard. The confederate lovin' League of the South, that helped him win in 2002 has abandoned him. They are putting up "Punt Perdue" signs everywhere. I hope they run their own candidate.

    I'm too disgusted right now to think of a sig.

    by Ga6thDem on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 10:56:09 AM PST

  •  Arizona (none)
    From what I've seen, Janet Napolitano should cruise to an easy re-election, so I would term this "Solid Democratic".

    According to a recent story in the Arizona Republic, none of the perceived top-tier GOP candidates are willing to attempt a challenge, leaving only several much weaker candidates in the race for the nomination.  In two recent polls (one mentioned in this article, and the other here), Napolitano holds leads of 30+% over the two "leading" GOP contenders.  The best hope for GOP success would be in their attempt to draw out conservatives by placing ballot measures (such as a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage) designed to increase turnout among the wingnut core.  But until some challenger can come within 20 points of the governor, my money's on Napolitano to win in a walk.

  •  We're in good shape (none)
    I see us easily taking CA, NY, MA, and MD.  I predict we'll also take MN, AR, NV, CO, AL, FL, and OH.  We may still pull out in GA and AK, and I am holding out hope that someone rises up in HI.  We've also got a state Senator running in SC from a conservative district, and Sanford is growing increasingly unpopular with his own party.  In RI, the Lt. Gov. will throw his hat in, and given national trends, it might just be enough to upset Carcieri.  And in TX, I think Friedman will take a lot more Republicans than we anticipate, due to Perry's dismal popularity.  It may just be possible that we'll end up with a 40-40-20 race where a Democrat is the winner.

    Yes, that would be 17 pickups, giving us control of 39 states.  Should be also pick up Kentucky and Mississippi in 2007, and Missouri in 2008, that would be 42 states.

    Or...we may just end up with 4-7 pickups next year, which is still nothing to sneeze at, it would give us a clear majority of the country, something we haven't had in many years.

  •  CT and MA (none)
    Full discloser:  I am working for John DeStefano for Governor of Connecticut.

    Rell does have high approval ratings.  However, she hasn't done anything to make the state better and when people start looking closely, I believe those ratings will drop quickly.  She is popular because she isn't in prison like her old boss, John Rowland.

    Jodi Rell is the Gerald Ford of the 2006 election cycle.  John DeStefano can take her out.

    Up in Massachusetts, I've met Deval Patrick.  He is great.  He has a tough race, but good progressive grassroots support.  It will be a race that is exciting to watch.

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