Three 2018 GOP Gubernatorial Races Downgraded

With continued predictions of a blue wave in November, three gubernatorial races have seen ratings changes, according to Geoffrey Skelley, Associate Editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at UVa’s Center for Politics.

Three Republican governors up for reelection are facing tough races as their Democratic opponents gain ground in the latest round of ratings. From Thursday’s Crystal Ball:

Arizona and Iowa have few obvious things in common, but they do both have incumbent Republican governors seeking election in November. Another commonality is that the Crystal Ball now views both states’ gubernatorial contests as increasingly competitive, prompting ratings changes that move the Arizona race from Likely Republican to Leans Republican and the Iowa race from Leans Republican to Toss-up. In addition to these two changes, we are also shifting Illinois’ gubernatorial contest from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic, another downgrade for Republicans.

Skelley digs deeper into the reasons for downgrading these races for Republicans, and notes:

With the three ratings changes in Arizona, Illinois, and Iowa, the Crystal Ball now rates nine gubernatorial races as Toss-ups, with 18 others favoring Republicans to some degree and nine more favoring Democrats to some extent. We now view Illinois as the likeliest party flip among the 36 gubernatorial contests in 2018.

Despite the negative news, Skelley gives a caveat of hope for the GOP:

The RGA continues to have a substantial money edge on its rival, the Democratic Governors Association. Granted, the RGA is defending a lot of ground — Republicans already control 26 of the 36 governorships on the ballot this year — but the committee has the financial wherewithal to move the needle and potentially snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in some close races. The RGA’s deep pockets are always a factor to consider in close gubernatorial races.

Read the entire report here. Find all the 2018 gubernatorial races here.