2018 is going to be a big election year. And, where state and local districts can be gerrymandered for safety, the state boundaries are fixed. That makes statewide candidates often more responsive to political winds than the districts established to elect the voice of the people (a reference to the purpose of the US House).
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Looking at governors running in 2018, the Republicans have a lot of ground on which to play defense. In all, 27 states held by Republican governors are up for election in 2018. Democrats have to defend 9 with 1 independent (Alaska). Of the 27 seats Republicans are defending, Larry Sabato puts 14 of those as “safe” or “likely” Republican. The remaining 13 are much more in play.
If 2018 is a wave election in the Democrats’ favor, or even if it is a typical off-year election where the President’s party loses seats per usual, that means Democrats will be able to claim victory and success.
And, among all of the folks that might claim some credit there, Gov. Jay Inslee will be at the very top of that list as the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). As Chair, Inslee’s primary role is to raise money. And, there are a lot of folks ready to spend money on the Democratic side this year.
This will give Inslee an opportunity to build a national network of donors, elevate his presence in key states that have governors races (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina), and bask in some of the inevitable glow of in state capitols across the country.