Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Here's the final installment of governor's race ratings:
South Dakota - Likely Republican - While Democrats' top recruit, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, decided not to run, Democrats seem fairly content with State Sen. Scott Heidepriem as a backup plan. Nonetheless, Republican Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard looks like term-limited Gov. Mike Rounds' heir apparent. Heidepriem v. Daugaard: Don't you love South Dakota names?
Tennessee - Likely Republican - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam is the frontrunner in the Republican primary and the general election, thanks to his very deep pockets. Haslam's Republican rivals, though, are finding some room to criticize him from the right on guns. Until recently, Haslam was a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Texas - Likely Republican - First, the conventional wisdom was that the popular Kay Bailey Hutchison would trounce the vaguely unpopular Gov. Rick Perry in a Republican primary. Then, the conventional wisdom was that Hutchison's campaign was flailing to the point that she might not actually run. And now? The conventional wisdom is moving back toward Hutchison. Maybe we need some unconventional wisdom.
Utah - Very Likely Republican - You'd be forgiven if you've already forgotten that Gary Herbert is the governor of Utah. But, one person who hasn't forgotten is Mitt Romney. The former presidential candidate and former head of the Salt Lake City Olympics says he'll help the governor raise money, which should give him a boost if, as expected, he faces competition from other Republicans.
Vermont - Slight Lean Democratic - With Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie joining this open-seat race, Republicans have a real shot at a hold. While it doesn't stack up to the 71% that Secretary of State Deb Markowitz (one of the Democratic candidates for governor) won, Dubie's reelection with 55% of the vote last year was impressive.
Wisconsin - Toss Up - In this open-seat race, Republicans have two solid candidates in Mark Neumann and Scott Walker, while Democrats seem likely to have two solid candidates in Barbara Lawton and Tom Barrett (assuming Barrett runs). Wisconsin, at least until the Obama rout last year, was one of the purest swing states in the country. Add it all up and this race should be close - and could be one that's affected by the national mood.
Wyoming - Slight Lean Democratic - Please won't someone poll Wyoming? Governor Dave Freudenthal continues to contemplate a challenge to the state's term limits law that would allow him to run again, but I've seen no empirical evidence to indicate whether the Democrat would still be a sure bet in this very Republican state.
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