Westbrook, MAINE – In a new set of rankings released yesterday, NBC News has identified Maine’s governorship as one of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats this coming November. Calling Republican Governor Paul LePage “controversial”, NBC News wrote that “Democrats are the early favorites to win back this governorship”, placing it third on their list of ten seats most likely to be won by Democrats.
“Under Governor LePage, the country has outpaced Maine in economic growth, Maine people still feel like they can’t get ahead, and dysfunction has become the norm in Augusta,” said Phil Bartlett, Chairman of the Maine Democratic Party. “Mainers are ready for a change – but all the Republican candidates are offering is more of the same. Maine Democrats will deliver a bold, new agenda focused on growing our economy by empowering the middle-class – and we will work hard every single day to earn the votes of Maine people as we pursue it.”
The complete rankings from NBC News are below and can be read HERE.
Yesterday, we listed our initial list of what we consider the Top 10 Senate takeover possibilities of 2018. Today, we look at the gubernatorial takeovers. No. 1 is most likely to switch parties.
1. New Mexico (R): Democrats are the overwhelming favorites to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is the Dem frontrunner.
2. Illinois (R): Despite a contentious and expensive Democratic primary, a recent poll found incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner trailing Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Daniel Bliss by double digits.
3. Maine (R): A crowded field of Democrats, Republicans and independents are vying to replace term-limited — and controversial — Gov. Paul LePage, and Democrats are the early favorites to win back this governorship.
4. Alaska (I): One of the most unconventional results of the 2014 elections was independent Bill Walker defeating GOP incumbent Sean Parnell. Four years later, the GOP is trying to win it back. The question: Can Democrats consolidate with independents to defend Walker?
5. Connecticut (D): Incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy, of the nation's most unpopular governors, isn't running for re-election. And his unpopularity likely won't help the Dem field trying to replace him.
6. Nevada (R): One of the most popular governors in the country is GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, but he's term limited. The top Democrats are Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani while the GOP frontrunner is state Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
7. Michigan (R): This is another gubernatorial race where there's a term-limited GOP governor (Rick Snyder) in a political environment favoring the Democrats. The leading Democrats are former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion head Abdul El-Sayed, while the top Republicans are Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and state Attorney General Bill Schuette.
8. Florida (R): In the country's ultimate swing state, a trio of Democrats (Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Rep. Gwen Graham and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine) are running to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to enter the U.S. Senate race. The top Republicans are Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Rep. Ron DeSantis (who's been endorsed by President Trump) and state House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
9. Ohio (R): See Florida — except term-limited GOP Gov. John Kasich might run again for president in 2020. The Dem frontrunners are former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, while the GOP frontrunner is state Attorney General Mike DeWine.
10. Minnesota (D): If Florida and Ohio are your two political bellwethers of 2018, Minnesota might be a third — with competitive gubernatorial and House races. And Republicans like their chances in the gubernatorial contest, especially if former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty jumps in.
Other races worth watching (in alphabetical order): Colorado (D), Iowa (R), Maryland (R), Rhode Island (D), Wisconsin (R).