Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky in a few minutes, you'll hear a lot about the congressional races in those states foreshadowing what will occur nationwide. But they'll also foreshadow something else: the electoral prospects of their respective governors.
Ernie Fletcher probably has more at stake tonight than any other governor not on the ballot. If Kentucky Republicans are swept from office, talk of finding a GOPer to challenge the scandal-plagued governor in a primary will only increase. If Anne Northup, a longtime Republican congresswoman in the most Democratic part of the state, loses, she'll be angry, unemployed and still politically viable. A run for governor against Fletcher next year would make a lot of sense.
Mitch Daniels in Indiana also has a lot on the line because, in part due to his relative unpopularity, his fellow Republicans may lose control of the state House of Representatives. We'll know in a couple of hours whether Daniels continues to be politically damaged from his decision to lease a toll road in the state and his switch to daylight savings time.
Other governors not on the ballot who will be watching tonight's results closely:
Matt Blunt, Missouri: Like Daniels, the results will be a test of whether he remains relatively unpopular.
Brian Schweitzer, Montana: He's spent a lot of political capital to try to keep the legislature in Democratic hands and elect Jon Tester to the U.S. Senate.
Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana: How seriously has Katrina eroded the Democratic base in Louisiana? We might have a better idea after tonight.
Jon Corzine, New Jersey: Everyone's going to blame him if the Democrats lose a U.S. Senate seat in the Garden state.
Christine Gregoire, Washington: Are voters still angry about her controversial election two years ago?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.