2020 US Election Preview: Low Key Gubernatorial Contests Dot the National Map

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden(R) stands next to his granddaughter Finnegan as he greets the Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper, after landing at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on October 18, 2020. - President Donald Trump and rival Joe Biden hit the ground Sunday in the swing states that will decide the US election, as the campaign turns increasingly vicious 16 days before voting. Trump, scrambling to make up lost ground, is on a furious multi-state barnstorming tour hopping from Nevada to California and then back to Nevada for a day of rallies and fundraising. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

The forgotten set of elections this year is the Gubernatorial contests that dot the national map. With that said, Governors have been on the frontlines of the national response to COVID-19, and ticket splitting seems much higher in these set of contests than in federal or even State Legislative races. Here is your look at Tuesday’s state executive elections.

Safe Republican States (UT, ND, IN, VT)

The election for Governor of Utah is so civil that both major candidates cut an ad together, it’s Utah though, so Republican Spencer Cox will be the winner, North Dakota Republican Doug Burgum has a low profile but he’s a heavy favorite, Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb has won praise for his the state’s response to COVID-19, and a massive amount of Democrats will cross the line in Vermont and vote for anti-Trump Republican Phil Scott over anti-vaxxer David Zuckerman in a strange, low-profile contest.

Likely Republican States (NH, MO, WV)

Republican Governor Chris Sununu is punching well above his weight against Democratic State Senator Dan Feltes in New Hampshire. Though Republicans are struggling in the Granite State, Sununu is personally popular to the point he’s not facing a major challenge. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice switched parties allying himself with Trump and the GOP, Justice faces County Commissioner Ben Salango. Though Democrats have done well at the state and local level in West Virginia for a long time, Justice has a strong personal brand, he’s one of the wealthiest men in the state, and Trump is going to win West Virginia big, meaning Justice should carry much of his coalition.

In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson faces real opposition in the form of State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Galloway is by all measures, a good candidate, but her campaign has only been on the fringes of viability all year, and unless Biden massively overperforms in Missouri, Parson has the advantage for re-election.

Lean Republican State (MT)

The small state of Montana has a revolving door of politicians in both parties, and the latest name up is Republican Congress Greg Gianforte. The controversial and aggressive Gianforte is a small favorite against current Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney, the Democrat Cooney is lesser known, and if Trump wins the state, Gianforte has a clear advantage. Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is running for Senate, and is hoping to win and drag Cooney along with him.

Safe Democratic States (WA and DE)

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Jay Inslee is set to be re-elected easily in Washington, John Carney will do the same in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Lean Democratic State (NC)

Moderate Democrat Roy Cooper is one of the most popular politicians (in a swing state) in the country. Cooper has earned support on both sides of the aisle for his COVID-19 response, he’s helping Joe Biden and Cal Cunningham in the state, and he’s facing relatively unpopular and very conservative Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. Should Trump pull a big upset and win North Carolina by a decent margin, Forest would have a faint chance, but Cooper is set to overperform.

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