GOP Has Commanding Edge In Gubernatorial Races

Republicans will gain ground in governor races next month, winning six to nine seats and flipping the balance of power. Republicans may end up controlling as many as 33 governorships.

The change will affect policy, particularly on health care. Many states are promising to fight the new federal health care law in court and also through state regulatory agencies. Their concerted resistance can become a big problem as the administration moves to implement the far-reaching law.

States in which the GOP is well positioned to oust Democrats include Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wyoming. Democrats are also in precarious positions in the governor races in Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Republicans are expected to lose at least two governor seats — in Rhode Island and Hawaii — but Democrats are making strong runs in Florida and Connecticut as well.

And Democrats may also win back the governorship in California — the biggest prize of all. The race between Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman, the former head of eBay, remains a toss-up. Whitman has outspent Brown nearly 9-1, but Democrats have an organizational and voter registration advantage in the state. The key will be how independents swing.

The current makeup of governorships is 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans. GOP gains will be especially important as states begin the decennial redistricting process next year after census results are finalized. Governors often have a strong influence in determining how congressional districts are redrawn.

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