With less than three months until the November 8 elections, Democrats appear poised to flip several governorships.
Democrats currently hold governorships in 22 states, while Republicans lead in 28. Open races in states easily won by President Joe Biden in 2020, as well as abortion becoming a key issue after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the case that guaranteed abortion rights to women across the country, raise Democratic hopes of flipping the top office in several states, despite a national environment that favors Republicans.
According to recent polling, Democrats are heavily favored to win the gubernatorial races in Massachusetts and Maryland, two of the most Democratic states in the country led by moderate Republican governors who have spoken out against former President Donald Trump. Democrats are also leading polls in Arizona, which is one of the most evenly divided states in the country. In Georgia, Democrats are hoping that despite a polling deficit, Stacey Abrams will defeat incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Attorney General Maura Healey appears to be well-positioned to flip the governorship in the Bay State, after Republican Governor Charlie Baker declined to run for reelection despite winning by wide margins in previous elections.
The state primaries are scheduled for Tuesday, September 6, but all of Healey’s opponents have dropped out. On the Republican side, attorney Geoff Diehl, who ran against Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018, is leading Republican primary polls, making him the most likely candidate to face Healey in November. Diehl has Trump’s support, but that could be a liability in a general election in a state where Biden won by more than 33 points.
In recent polls, Healey has a massive lead over Diehl. A poll conducted by Suffolk University and The Boston Globe from July 20 to 23 found Healey with 54 percent of the vote to Diehl’s 23 percent, giving her a lead of 31 percentage points. Meanwhile, an Emerson College poll conducted from May 2 to 4 found Healey with a similar 28-point lead.
Democrat Wes Moore is widely regarded as the favorite to win Maryland’s governorship over Trump-backed Republican Dan Cox. Maryland, like Massachusetts, is a solidly blue state that previously elected moderate Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Cox, who defeated Hogan-backed Kelly Schultz in the primary, has embraced Trump and right-wing positions that may be difficult for liberal Maryland voters to accept.
Although no high-quality polling on the race has been conducted, several indicators point to Moore’s likely victory. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan organization that monitors elections across the country, rates the race as “Safe Democrat,” which means it is not competitive for Republicans.
Arizona narrowly supported Biden and is expected to host some of the most competitive races in the country. Democrats are hoping that Lake’s stance on issues like the integrity of the 2020 presidential election and other controversial statements will sway moderate voters toward Hobbs in November, while Republicans are counting on Lake’s ability to mobilize their conservative base to vote in November.
An average of recent FiveThirtyEight polls shows Hobbs leading Lake by 3.2 points. Meanwhile, a Fox News poll conducted from August 12 to 16 found Hobbs with 47 percent of the vote to Lake’s 44 percent, giving Hobbs a 3-point lead.
Georgia, another state Biden narrowly won, appears to favor Republicans, with polls showing Kemp as the favorite to win reelection. Kemp, a former Trump supporter, refused to accept the former president’s claims that the election in Georgia was stolen from him. Trump backed his primary opponent, David Perdue, whom Kemp easily defeated in a rebuke to Trump.
In a rematch from 2018, he now faces Stacey Abrams, a rising star among Democrats. Abrams rose to prominence during that midterm after nearly winning the gubernatorial race in Georgia, which was previously thought to be a Republican-leaning state. Her near-win demonstrated that Democrats can compete in Georgia, and many believe her organizing was critical to their party’s success in the state in 2020.