This Land Is Your Land – The Power of State Elections (Updated Nov 15)

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – James Madison


The State’s Power

Your governor and state legislature make policy decisions affecting health care, education, infrastructure, immigration, Medicaid, job training, criminal justice reform, gun safety, family leave, sexual harassment and assault policy, income inequality, a woman’s right to choose, marriage equality, discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and protecting the environment to name a few. 

In addition, these races will have national implications with the next Census coming in 2020. In most states, the legislature redraws congressional districts, while the governor has veto power. Past Republican gerrymandering  manipulated the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor their party in future Congressional elections. 

2018 Gubernatorial Elections

A Democratic Deficit I:  Heading into the elections there are 16 Democratic governors, 33 Republican governors and 1 Independent governor. 

There will be 36 gubernatorial elections in 2018.  9 are Democrat (7 are not up for re-election) , 1 is an Independent and 26 are Republican (7 are not up for re-election). 

I’ve added the Democratic candidates for the governor races that are considered competitive to the prior post A State By State Sizzling Hot Season.

2018 State Legislature Elections

Eighty-seven of 99 state legislative chambers are holding general elections for 6,070 seats—roughly 82 percent of the 7,383 state legislative seats in the country this year. 

A Democratic Deficit II:  At present, Republicans control 67 of the 99 chambers and control both chambers in 32 states. Democrats control 32 chambers, and both chambers in 14 states. Only four states have divided control of their legislatures. 

For purposes of both lawmaking and redistricting of congressional and state legislative seats, both parties strive for “trifecta” (a run of 3) control of governorships and state legislatures. Right now, Republicans have 26 trifectas, an extremely high number, while Democrats enjoy only 8. 

Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia hold legislative elections in odd-numbered years.  Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, and South Carolina hold elections this year only for their lower chambers. 

If you are not a citizen of the 4 states above, you can become  involved in electing a Democratic candidate for the upper and lower chamber of your statehouse this year. Find out who represents you  in your state legislature, along with the district you live in. Ballotpedia offers information on the incumbents and candidates running this year.

Competitive Gubernatorial Races 2018

Cook 2018 Governor Race ratings, updated Oct 26.. 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball 2018 Governor updated Nov 5. 

Cook Solidly Democrat (3):
California Democrat Gavin Newsom(D), Hawaii Incumbent Gov. David Ige (D), New York Incumbent Gov. Mario Cuomo (D)
Election Results: All Democrat

Sabatos Safe Democrat (4:)
California (D), Hawaii (D), New York (D), Pennsylvania Incumbent Democratic Governor Tom Wolf (D)
Election Results: All Democrat

*Cook Likely Democrat (3):
 Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R), Minnesota Open (D), Pennsylvania (D)
Election Results: All Democrat

*Sabatos Likely Democrat (3) :
 Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R), Michigan Open (R), Rhode Island  Incumbent Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo
Election Results: All Democrat

*Cook Leans Democrat (4):
Colorado Open (D),  Michigan Open (R), New Mexico Open (R)
Election Results: All Democrat

*Sabatos Leans Democrat (12) :
Colorado Open (D), Connecticut Open (D), Florida Open (R),Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R), Kansas, Open (R), Maine Open (R), Minnesota Open (D), Ohio Open (R), Nevada Open (R), New Mexico Open (R), Oregon Incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
Election Results: All Democrat except for Florida (to be determined), Iowa, and Ohio

*Cook Toss Up (12): 
Connecticut Open (D),  Florida Open (R),  Georgia Open (R), Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R), Kansas, Open (R), Maine Open (R), Nevada Open (R),  Ohio Open (R), Oklahoma,Open (R), Oregon Incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown (D),  South Dakota Open (R), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
Election Results: All Democrat except for Florida (to be determined), Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota

*Sabatos Toss Up (1)
 Georgia Open (R),
Election Results: To Be Determined. 

*Cook Leans Republican (2):
Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I), New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R)
Election Results: All Republican

*Sabatos Leans Republican (3):
Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I), New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R), Oklahoma,Open (R),South Dakota Open (R)
Election Results: All Republican

**Cook Likely Republican (4): Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R),  South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R), Tennessee Open (R)
Election Results: All Republican 

**Sabatos Likely Republican (2):
 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R)
Election Results: All Republican

Cook Solidly Republican (8):
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nebraska,  Texas, Vermont, Wyoming
Election Results:All Republican

Sabatos Safe Republican (10) :
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nebraska, South Carolina,  Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming
Election Results:All Republican


*Focus Group One:  If you need to limit your time or financial donation, these are the Democrat candidates who can use it.

** Focus Group Two:  These seats among the likeliest to come into play if there is a surge in Democratic voting.


  Volunteer if a Democratic candidate is local, or within driving distance. This can take the form of phone banking (can be done at home), canvasing, fundraising, and/or attending public events, rallies, debates, and organizing.

     What can we do if limited with time? Donate  No amount is too small. Find the blank section of the donation section and add your own amount


“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. ”

Franklin D. Roosevelt




About Debra29

I am a retired public school teacher who believes that a strong democracy rests on the shoulders of its citizens. This blog was created as a central resource of civic engagement. Together, we can make a difference. Follow me on Twitter: Determined@2AlterTheCourse
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