Republicans, fueled by record fundraising, are poised to win most of the state governorships in November, which would give them an advantage in congressional redistricting and a new pool of talent for national office.
Democrats now hold 26 of the 50 governorships, and 37 are on the ballot this year, the most ever. Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst in Washington, says the Republicans should pick up at least eight new posts, giving them control of 32.
Such a sweep would have longer-lasting consequences than the more visible races for all 435 House seats and about one- third of the 100 Senate slots, and give Republicans momentum throughout the decade, because the governors will help redraw congressional and state legislative lines after the 2010 census.
“The next class of governors will have enormous power far into this decade,” said Paul Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. “It’s no wonder the parties are spending huge sums on these races.”
The Republican Governors Association, which is coordinating the campaigns, points to its fundraising numbers as evidence it has the advantage. The group has raised $58 million between Jan. 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, compared with $40 million for the Democratic Governors Association, Internal Revenue Service filings show. Both groups say the amounts are records.