The presidential election is commanding headlines every day, and yet another spirited battle is being waged over control of Congress, where Democrats are trying to build on 2006 gains and Republicans are trying to hold the line. Little attention has been given to battles over governorships – in part because only 11 are up for grabs. The states casting votes this year include Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. According to analyst Larry J. Sabato of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, heat-seeking (read possible national cash-attracting) campaigns are being held in two of the state, North Carolina and Washington, which Sabato has rated as toss-ups.
Two states are in Republican control, but Democrats have a change to take them over – Sabato rates Indiana and Vermont as leaning toward staying in Republican hands.
Less doubt is involved in Delaware, which the Democrats are likely to hold, and Missouri, which Democrats are likely to wrest from the Republicans. The odds of attracting late campaign cash are also diminished.
Finally, there are five states solidly staying right where they are. Sabato says Montana, New Hampshire and West Virginia are prohibitive favorites to remain Democratic, while North Dakota and Utah are strong bets to remain Republican.
RBR/TVBR observation: National parties have a definite interest in winning the battles down ticket within the states themselves. Controlling the state infrastructure is a big help to federal officials when they’re running on their own behalf. There just isn’t much out there of interest to generate a windfall for broadcasters this cycle.