2018 Governor Races to watch




Primary: Aug. 21.

Candidates: Independent (and ex-Republican) Gov. Bill Walker wants a second term but is skipping the primary. Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, is running; so are several Republicans.

State of play: Walker’s low approval ratings make him vulnerable.

Stakes: Republicans believe they have a shot at a pickup here.



Primary: June 26.

Candidates: U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat, will face two-time state Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

State of play: For the first time, unaffiliated voters cast primary ballots; Polis hopes to keep them in November. Population growth, health care and schools will be key issues.

Stakes: The state’s last GOP governor left office in 2007.



Primary: Aug. 14.

Candidates: Democrat Dannel Malloy could run again but isn’t. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton won the GOP endorsement but faces a primary fight. So does 2010 gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont, who was endorsed by Democrats.

State of play: GOP will have to heal internal rifts before Nov. 6.

Stakes: This is a top opportunity for Republicans to pick up a seat.



Primary: Aug. 28.

Candidates: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Don DeSantis lead the GOP candidates; President Trump endorsed DeSantis. Big Dem field includes Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

State of play: Putnam leads DeSantis, setting up a test for Trump.

Stakes: Pros say it’s a tossup.



Primary: June 5.

Candidates: GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, appointed last year, will face businessman and first-time candidate Fred Hubbell, who won the Democratic primary.

State of play: Democrats believe Reynolds is vulnerable; she’s taking aim at Hubbell’s wealth.

Stakes: Hubbell would restore state control of privatized Medicaid program.



Primary: Aug. 7.

Candidates: Former state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer is one of three Democrats running; Attorney General Bill Schuette leads the GOP field.

State of play: A Koch brothers-backed group is targeting Whitmer.

Stakes: Landscape in a key battleground will be clearer after Bernie Sanders, then Trump won here in 2016.



Primary: Aug. 14.

Candidates: The GOP endorsed Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who will face ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The DFL backed state Rep. Erin Murphy; U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson are also running.

State of play: It’s anybody’s guess.

Stakes: Will the GOP take over state government?



Primary: June 12.

Candidates: Democrat Steve Sisolak, a county commissioner, and Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

State of play: Sisolak survived a bitter, costly primary. Laxalt could be boosted by his grandfather Paul, a former Nevada governor and U.S. senator.

Stakes: Nevada hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 1999.

Judy Keen