GOP, Democratic Governors Groups Jockey for Position

With five open seats up for grabs this November, the Republican Governors Association is on the offensive — though Democrats still feel they have a chance.

With less than a month before the 2012 election, the respective Democratic and Republican governors associations are in crunch time, spending millions of dollars on advertising in key swing states.

The ground game, however, favors Republicans. Already holding onto 29 of the 50 gubernatorial seats, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) hopes to increase that number, thanks to four incumbent Democrat governors leaving their posts next fall. Analysts expect them to gain at least one seat.

“Our goal is just to add to our majority of 29 governors, hopefully with a few seats,” RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf told Reuters. “Any year that you’re picking up states is a good year, especially in a presidential (election) year.”

Among the states in play: North Carolina, where Republican candidate Pat McCrory has consistently led, and Washington, where a same-sex marriage ballot measure could have an effect on the race. Montana and New Hampshire’s gubernatorial races could also go down to the wire. (One Republican, Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, will be leaving his post due to term limits, but Republicans are expected to keep the seat.)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) remains forceful, however, with the current chairman, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, playing an active role in races across the country and pushing the party’s jobs record.

“While we have a long way to go to ensure all Americans are living free from the crush of poverty,” he wrote in a statement, “Democratic governors are leading the way: Last year, the poverty rate across states led by Democratic governors was 10% lower than the national average.”

The group also is optimistic that the lead President Obama has gained in these battleground states will help it in November.

Let’s get past the politics: If you were in the position of the RGA, how would you leverage your advantages? And could the DGA surprise by gaining some ground? If so, how do they do that?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

(photo by DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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