The Top 4 Gubernatorial Races in 2020 | NTK Network The Top 4 Gubernatorial Races in 2020

The Top 4 Gubernatorial Races in 2020

NTK Network previews the top contests for governor in 2020, when only 11 states have contests.

By NTK Staff | 11.09.2018 @1:30pm
The Top 4 Gubernatorial Races in 2020

After dozens of gubernatorial contests in 2018, many of them closely contested, Republican governors go into 2019 with narrow control of the 50 states. Pending Florida and Georgia recounts, where Republicans hold narrow leads, the GOP will have anywhere from 25 to 27 governorships. Florida has been called for Republican Ron DeSantis, but a recount is underway.

After the Florida and Georgia contests wrap, attention will turn to 2020. The cycle won’t be nearly as exciting for governor’s races as 2018, given only 11 governorships will be up in 2020.

Still, NTK Network is offering an early preview of the top races, with four expected to be particularly close.


Republicans are defending seven governorships in 2020. Five are in red states – Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia – and two are in blue New England states Hillary Clinton won in 2016: New Hampshire and Vermont.

New Hampshire holds a gubernatorial contest every two years, one of two states in the nation to do so. Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) just won reelection by a comfortable margin on Tuesday, but presidential turnout in a blue state could make the state a possible pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Vermont is the other state to elect a governor every two years. Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT) trounced his Democratic opponent in 2016, winning 53 percent of the vote even as Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by nearly 30 points in the state. He also cleaned house in 2018, winning by around 15 points. Given Vermont is such a liberal state, though, Democrats may target the seat. Scott is popular heading into his second term, with a plus-12 approval rating as of October 2018.


Democrats are defending four governorships in 2020. Two are in blue states, Delaware and Washington, and two are in red states Donald Trump won in 2016: Montana and North Carolina.

In Montana, popular Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) is term-limited and is mulling a 2020 presidential run. It’s unclear as of now who will run to replace Bullock, but Trump beat Clinton in Montana by more than 20 points. And despite Bullock’s popularity, he only defeated his opponent, now-Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT), by 3.8 points in 2016. Look for Republicans to try to pick up the seat.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) is popular (+20 net approval), but only defeated his Republican opponent by 0.2 percent in 2016 (10,277 votes out of more than 4.6 million cast). Given North Carolina went for President Obama in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Donald Trump in 2016, elected a Republican senator in 2014, and elected a Democratic governor in 2016, look for the state to be a prime battleground for at least three races in 2020.

Sign Up

for NTK updates every week.

View Privacy Policy