Sabato's Crystal Ball

2014 Gubernatorial Races

Updated July 16, 2014

Current outlook: Democrats net 1-2 governorships

Note: Bolded candidate names indicate likely frontrunner for a nomination if there is one.

Chart 2: Crystal Ball 2014 gubernatorial ratings

State Incumbent Possible Primary Challengers Major Party Opposition Third party Party Rating
AK Sean Parnell
- Ex-state GOP chair Russ Millette? - Ex-Exec. Director of Alaska Permanent Fund Byron Mallott - 2010 candidate Bill Walker (Ind) Safe R
AL Robert Bentley
- Ex-Rep. Parker Griffith Safe R
AR Mike Beebe
- Ex-Rep. Mike Ross - Ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson Toss-up
AZ Jan Brewer
- Sec. of State Ken Bennett
- Treasurer Doug Ducey
- Mesa Mayor Scott Smith
- 2010 AG candidate Andrew Thomas
- Ex-GoDaddy executive Christine Jones
- Ex-CA Rep. Frank Riggs
- Former medical center CEO John Molina
- Ex-State Board of Regents Pres. Fred DuVal - Radio station owner Rick Murphy (Ind) Leans R
CA Jerry Brown
- Former Treasury Dept. official Neel Kashkari Safe D
CO John Hickenlooper
- Ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez Leans D
CT Dan Malloy
- 2010 nominee Tom Foley
- State Sen. Min. Leader John McKinney
- Ex-state Rep. Jonathan Pelto (Ind)
- Ex-West Hartford councilman Joe Visconti (Ind)
FL Rick Scott
- Conservative activist Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder
- Physician Joe Smith
- Ex-Gov. Charlie Crist?
- Ex-state Sen. Min. Leader Nan Rich
- Radio host Adrian Wyllie (Lib) Toss-up
GA Nathan Deal
- State Sen. Jason Carter - Former tech CEO Andrew Hunt (Lib) Leans R
HI Neil Abercrombie
- State Sen. David Ige - 2010 nominee Duke Aiona - Ex-Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (Ind) Leans D
IA Terry Branstad
- State Sen. Jack Hatch Likely R
ID Butch Otter
- Boise School Board chair A.J. Balukoff Safe R
IL Pat Quinn
- Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner Toss-up
KS Sam Brownback
- Businesswoman Jennifer Winn - House Minority Leader Paul Davis Leans R
MA Deval Patrick
- AG Martha Coakley
- Treasurer Steve Grossman
- Ex-federal health care official Donald Berwick
- 2010 nominee Charlie Baker - Venture capital investor Jeff McCormick (Ind)
- Former business executive Evan Falchuk (Ind)
Leans D
MD Martin O’Malley
- LG Anthony Brown - Ex-Ehrlich Cabinet secretary Larry Hogan Likely D
ME Paul LePage
- Rep. Mike Michaud - 2010 candidate Eliot Cutler (Ind) Leans D
MI Rick Snyder
- Ex-Rep. Mark Schauer Leans R
MN Mark Dayton
- Hennepin Co. Commissioner Jeff Johnson
- State Rep. Kurt Zellers
- Businessman Scott Honour
- Ex-state Rep. Marty Seifert
Likely D
NE Dave Heineman
- 2006 Sen nominee Pete Ricketts - Ex-Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook - Marijuana-legalization activist Mark Elworth (Lib) Likely R
NH Maggie Hassan
- Businessman Walter Havenstein
- Consultant Andrew Hemingway
Likely D
NM Susana Martinez
- AG Gary King Likely R
NV Brian Sandoval
- Former state economic development commissioner Robert Goodman Safe R
NY Andrew Cuomo
- Westchester County Exec. Rob Astorino - 2010 gubernatorial nominee Howie Hawkins (Gre) Safe D
OH John Kasich
- Cuyahoga Co. Executive Ed FitzGerald - Activist Anita Rios (Green) Likely R
OK Mary Fallin
- State Rep. Joe Dorman Safe R
OR John Kitzhaber
- State Rep. Dennis Richardson Safe D
PA Tom Corbett
- Ex-Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf Leans D
RI Lincoln Chafee
- Treasurer Gina Raimondo
- Providence Mayor Angel Taveras
- Former Obama administration official Clay Pell
- Cranston Mayor Allan Fung
- 2012 Moderate Party nominee Ken Block
Likely D
SC Nikki Haley
- 2010 nominee Vincent Sheheen - Ex-state Rep. Tom Ervin (Ind)
- Businessman Steve French (Lib)
- Pastor Morgan Bruce Reeves (Ind)
Leans R
SD Dennis Daugaard
- Ex-state Rep. Lora Hubbel - State Rep. Susan Wismer
- Businessman Joe Lowe
Safe R
TN Bill Haslam
- 2010 candidate Donald Ray McFolin
- 2010 candidate Basil Marceaux
- Internet celebrity Mark Brown
- 2012 Senate nominee Mark Clayton
- Ex-Sullivan County Commissioner John McKamey
- Businessman Ron Noonan
Safe R
TX Rick Perry
- AG Greg Abbott - State Sen. Wendy Davis Safe R
VT Peter Shumlin
Safe D
WI Scott Walker
- Financial planner Scott Paterick? - Madison School Board member Mary Burke
- State Rep. Brett Hulsey
Likely R
WY Matt Mead
- Sup’dent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill
- Retired surgeon Taylor Haynes
- Ex-state Democratic Party Chairman Pete Gosar Safe R

Notes on the State of Politics

Reaction to third-party piece
In an article on the topic last week, we asked readers to chime in with other races where they thought third-party and independent candidates might have an impact on some statewide races. We got a lot of e-mails and tweets about the gubernatorial and Senate contests in Georgia, but multiple readers also [...]

Americans Are Politically Divided and Our Feelings Toward the Parties Show It

, Senior Columnist, Sabato's Crystal Ball

How politically divided are ordinary Americans? The recent release of a report on polarization in public opinion by the Pew Research Center has reignited a debate among journalists and academics about the depth of the divisions between supporters of the two major parties. One of the key findings of the report is that supporters of [...]

An Above-Average Year for Incumbents?

A handful of House members -- and a senator -- will have to lose in the remaining primaries just to match postwar averages

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

With the primary season more than half over, it’s fair to say that incumbents have done just fine this cycle so far: better than fine, in fact.
So far this cycle, 273 of 275 House incumbents who wanted another term have been renominated, and 18 of 18 Senate incumbents. That includes results from the 31 states [...]

2014 Races Where Third-Party and Independent Candidates Could Impact Outcomes

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

While it’s very hard for third-party and independent candidates to win statewide elections outright, they can have some impact on the outcome. This may be true again in some 2014 contests for U.S. Senate and governor. Some outsider candidates will get a fair amount of press, such as ex-Sen. Larry Pressler’s independent Senate bid in [...]

Republicans: “Thank God for Mississippi!”

Dissecting Thad Cochran’s comeback and other notes from Tuesday’s primaries

, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Editors’ Note: A version of the story below appeared in Politico Magazine on Wednesday morning as Thank God for Mississippi. The Crystal Ball is taking a break for July 4, so our next edition will be published in two weeks, on Thursday, July 10. — The Editors

“Mississippi adds another variant to the politics of the [...]

Picking Your Primary Poison

As Herbert Hoover discovered, meddling in primaries can backfire

, Senior Columnist, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Analysts are noticing the Democrats’ efforts to meddle in Republican primaries. In a Wall Street Journal article from last month, Janet Hook writes “Democrats increasingly are running ads against GOP candidates even before they win their party’s nomination. By attacking GOP candidates while they are still embroiled in a primary election campaign, some Democrats have [...]

Notes on the State of Politics

House ratings changes, next week's primaries and Center for Politics wins an Emmy

, Sabato's Crystal Ball

House ratings changes
A race-by-race analysis, as well as history, suggests Republicans are in line to make a small, mid-to-high single-digit addition to their majority, but there’s been little movement one way or the other in most races or in the overall climate. We’re planning to take a fuller look at the House picture next month, [...]

36 Elections That Really Matter This Year

Who will win more governors’ races in 2014?

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

U.Va. Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato is contributing a regular column to Politico Magazine. After taking a look at the Senate landscape a few weeks ago, this week he reviews the 36 gubernatorial contests up for grabs in 2014. One note: As part of this column, we have slightly altered our Crystal Ball [...]

Mcdaniel’s ‘Friends and Neighbors’

The fallout from Tuesday’s primaries

, Sabato's Crystal Ball

In his classic book Southern Politics in State and Nation, V.O. Key Jr. wrote about the importance of “friends and neighbors” in one-party southern elections. More than half a century after the book was written, strength at home powered yet another Deep South candidate.
Tuesday night featured about as dramatic a race as we’ve seen in [...]

Notes on the State of Politics: Primary Edition

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

National Republicans get their men (and women)
The key takeaway from Tuesday night’s primaries, and the primary season in general so far, is that national Republican leaders are getting the general election nominees they want in key races. What they do with those nominees in the fall remains to be seen.
In Tuesday’s marquee event, the Republican [...]

Notes on the State of Politics

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Arkansas now a Toss-up
It’s become clear over the past few months that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), despite the increasing Republican lean of his state, has been holding his own, or better, against Rep. Tom Cotton (R, AR-4). Several positive polls for the incumbent, including a too-optimistic 11-point lead from NBC/Marist earlier this week, moved [...]

Are Republicans Really Doomed Demographically?

, Senior Columnist, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Much of the debate about elections today revolves around the “Emerging Democratic Majority” thesis, taken from the 2002 book of the same name. The thesis is pretty straightforward: Because of demographic changes, the GOP is on a path toward irrelevance unless it can remake itself and appeal to the rising electorate.
The theory has congealed into [...]

Primary Roundup: North Carolina Republicans Vote for Electability

, Managing Editor, U.Va. Center for Politics

Backed by an onslaught of advertising from outside establishment Republican groups and assisted by the lack of a top-tier opponent, North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) won his party’s Senate nomination on Tuesday night, capturing about 46% of the vote. He needed 40% to avoid a runoff against the second-place finisher, Tea Party [...]

The Minimal Class Divide in American Politics

Why Growing Economic Inequality Does Not Explain Partisan Polarization

, Senior Columnist, Sabato's Crystal Ball

How deep is the class divide in American politics today? According to some scholars and pundits, it is very deep indeed. In a recent post on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University, the author of Unequal Democracy and a highly regarded public opinion scholar, presented evidence from a multi-nation public [...]

Notes on the State of Politics

Primary season begins in earnest and Grimm tidings in the House

April quiet brings May excitement
After two states, Texas and Illinois, held the first primary contests of the 2014 election calendar in March, April featured exactly zero. But a month and a half of inactivity will give way to a busy May primary season with 11 scheduled elections, as seen below in Table 1.
Table 1: Upcoming [...]