I was going to try and pull a Steve Kornacki and put together a highly-detailed, well researched analysis/prediction of Tuesday’s midterm election. I was going to do that, but then I decided to pull back and focus more on the 10,000-foot view of it all.
I’ll start with a quick look at some hotly-contested gubernatorial races around the country. There are a handful of truly interesting ones that I’m sure you’ve heard about on the news. I’m also going to continue my tradition of making predictions…because my election-night predictions have always been stellar, right? Hey, I nailed 2012! 2016? Not so much, but I’ll redeem myself with some magic this week.
Before I start, let me preface this by saying none of these predictions are endorsements. I’m not that influential and I know it. But I like to follow politics for the horse race of it all. With that in mind, here goes…
The Gubernatorial Races to Watch
There are a few interesting ones to watch: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. Yes. Many of those are Midwest states that were once thought of as an impenetrable “blue wall” in presidential elections. But all these states have one thing in common: all their governors are Republicans. One interesting wrinkle, though: only two (Iowa and Wisconsin) have incumbents seeking re-election. The rest are up for grabs. Will any of them change hands on election night?
Florida: Ron DeSantis (R) vs. Andrew Gillum (D)
This one has gotten ugly…reeeeeeaaaalllllly ugly! DeSantis is a Trump disciple. Gillum is a young (39 years old) mayor of Tallahassee. The politics of race and race-baiting has come to the fore in this election. Will it make a difference to Floridians? Not sure if that’ll be the tipping point, but I’m guessing there will be change in the Sunshine State.
Georgia: Brian Kemp (R) vs. Stacey Abrams (D)
Who would’ve ever thought deep red Georgia would be in play? Well, it is. Along with the national attention it’s attracted, this race has also led to Will Ferrell and Oprah freakin’ Winfrey knocking on doors, canvassing for Abrams. Will she win? I think she’ll make it a close race, but Georgia isn’t ready to turn blue just yet.
Iowa: Kim Reynolds (R-incumbent) vs. Fred Hubbell (D)
I haven’t followed this race at all. Iowa is a fickle state, though. They’re sometimes red, sometimes blue. This might be the year of blue corn. I’m tossing a coin on this one, honestly.
Kansas: Kris Kobach (R) vs. Laura Kelly (D)
Kris Kobach is a slimy character. He really is. But Kansas hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 2006. You’d think, after the sheer and utter disaster of the Sam Brownback Reign of Stupidity that Kansas would say, “hey…maybe we should try the other guys this time.” Wrong. They won’t.
Michigan: Bill Schuette (R) vs. Gretchen Whitmer (D)
I have vivid memories from my Michigan youth of Bill Schuette’s campaign commercials back in the 80s. “Bill Schuette on duty.” It was very clever and very smart because it made a rhyme out of his name; made an otherwise hard-to-pronounce name into a brand. Smart. Very smart. Currently serving as Michigan’s attorney general, Schuette’s in a bit of hot water of his own right now (though I don’t recall all the particulars). Aside from that baggage, Michigan has been wont to flip back and forth on governors (though I’m still shocked they re-elected Snyder in the first place). Anyway, Whitmer seems to have a commanding lead right now. Another element, I imagine, is Flint’s water crisis. That can’t be helping any Michigan Republicans just now.
Nevada: Adam Laxalt (R) vs. Steve Sisolak (D)
My home state. Nevada is a purple state. While Clark County is a stronghold for Democrats, it’s not a runaway train. Yeah, Dems lead in Vegas and the surrounding areas, but Republicans hold their own. Outside Clark County, the vast majority of Nevada is rural and red, which offsets the Clark County Democrats. That’s why Nevada went blue in 2016, but outgoing GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval won re-election in 2014 in a landslide. And while Dems hold three of the state’s four congressional seats, the senate is split (and Democrat Kathleen Cortez-Masto eeked out a victory in 2016). Like I said, purple. This race is truly a toss-up. Full disclosure: I’ve been out knocking on doors on behalf of Nevada Democrats this election season. My hope: Sisolak wins. But I will not make a prediction on this race. Just as Kirk Herbstreit will not give a prediction on a game he’s calling, I shall do the same. The bottom line: voter turnout.
Ohio: Mike DeWine (R) vs. Richard Cordray (D)
I’m a little surprised this is such a tight race. Republican incumbent John Kasich seems like a popular guy (although his performance in the presidential primaries didn’t show that). Kasich left a good legacy behind, so I have no idea what’s going on here. My gut tells me Ohio stays red, but in a tight one.
Wisconsin: Scott Walker (R-incumbent) vs. Tony Evers (D)
Democrats have been screwing up in Wisconsin for the better part of a decade. Walker rode in on the 2010 red wave and summarily went to war against unions. He’s a weasel, if you ask me. But Democrats screwed the pooch by forcing a recall election in 2012 that was confusing, messy and lacked a message. Walker survived that and won re-election in 2014. Though Walker’s benefited from liberal voter apathy in his previous elections, he may not be so lucky this time. One can hope. Weasel.
Coming soon…part ii: predictions on key House and Senate races. Stay tuned.