We’re in the midst of an off-year in terms of elections, but candidates from coast to coast are lining up to make a career move, especially in situations where there is an open seat. Several Senate seats look to be competitive. And there are four states where the governor’s races are beginning to look like potential battlegrounds.
CQ Politics thinks these states will be hotly contested:
* Florida: Few states have been as purple as Florida recently, and the governor’s race is even more unsettles as incumbent Republican Charlie Crist is off in quest of a US Senate seat, and a lot of high profile candidates are seeking it alongside, or in opposition to him. The Democrats are closer to having a consensus candidate, and CQ rates the race a toss-up at this point.
* Alaska: This state is just about as red as they get (barring scandal, but even though scandal took down Sen. Ted Stevens, it failed to topple Rep. Don Young). The governor race may open up if Sarah Palin declines to run for reelection, opening up a possible free-for-all that CQ says would still favor Republicans.
* Georgia: Republican Sonny Purdue is retiring, opening the mansion to a wide open field. Each party at least has a leading contender for a race CQ says is leaning Republican.
* Minnesota: Republican Tim Pawlenty is stepping down, opening things for a lot of experienced candidates, including one for-sure ex-senator in Mark Dayton and a probable ex-senator in Republican Norm Coleman. Others are also in the mix in a race rated toss-up by CQ.
RBR/TVBR observation: A friendly governor can help make life easier for national candidates, so both parties want as many states in their column as possible. Both parties also have national governors associations that can direct cash to close contests. Battleground status and the political advertising that comes with it is great news for broadcasters.