Republicans are pushing hard to win races for governor this year in states where support for the two parties hangs on a few votes. And Democrats are doing everything they can to win, block, or hold governor's offices in the same states. These states deserve governors who give a damn about the well-being of their residents -- Democrats usually care more for that work. But furthermore, who holds these offices will matter in 2024 if there is another close national election and GOPers are running around screaming that the vote was "stolen." We're seeing all too much of what that can be like. A Democratic governor can help shut down a lot of bullshit.
So here's a rundown of some of the most critical governor races in 2022.
Arizona: Donald Trump has a favorite in the August 2 primary: GOPer Kari Lake, a Phoenix TV anchor. Lake is leading in the primary polls. She has advocated jailing Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, her opponent in the governor's race, so as to overturn the 2020 vote count.
“Frankly, I think she should be locked up,” Lake told the crowd in Cave Creek, which responded by starting a Trumpian chant of, “Lock her up!”
Her campaign could not explain what crime she's charging Hobbes with. Lake asserts that, if she had been governor, she would not have certified Joe Biden's 2020 Arizona victory.Doug Mastriano is an insurrectionist who has been subpoenaed by the January 6 investigation. There's video showing him crossing Capital police lines, though what else he did inside is not known.
He’s a first-term state senator who was relatively unknown — until Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, in large part by narrowly losing Pennsylvania to Joe Biden. ... [He] rose to prominence in the aftermath of the 2020 election by falsely claiming Trump won the state. Mastriano also helped commission an unauthorized audit of voting machines in a rural county ...
The Democratic Party nominee for Governor is the state’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro. The winner will get to name Pennsylvania's secretary of state, the official who oversees elections.
Michigan: Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has been a stalwart supporter of the rule of law against right wing mob pressure. Dogged by pushback against public health rules and mask mandates, she was even the intended target of a militia plot, according to the FBI. Two conspirators convinced a jury that they were just being blowhards (seems likely a role they know well); two more are awaiting a second trial.
Well known Republicans aspiring to run against her made a mess of their campaigns, hiring paid signature collectors who made up false voters on their papers. So their names will not appear on the August 2 primary list which now consists of a smaller field of also-rans.
GOP hopefuls who qualified for the Aug. 2 primary ballot include a conservative media personality, two COVID-19 lockdown protesters, a pastor and a wealthy businessman.
None has held an elected office before but are seeking to bring a fresh perspective to Lansing and unseat Whitmer, who has built up a big campaign war chest as she seeks re-election to a second term.
Let's hope Whitmer can overcome whoever comes out of this odd scrum.
Wisconsin: The Republican frontrunner in the August 9 primary was former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch who fully supported Trump’s recount requests based on baseless claims of election fraud in 2020. That wasn't good enough for Trump; he liked construction executive Tim Michels better. He dropped an endorsement in his inimitable style. Here's why Trump liked Michels:
"Wisconsin needs a Governor who will Stop Inflation, Uphold the Rule of Law, strengthen our Borders (we had the strongest borders in history just two years ago, now we have the weakest!) and End the well-documented Fraud in our Elections," read a written statement from Trump ... "Tim Michels is the best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions to these problems, and he will produce jobs like no one else can even imagine."
The Democratic incumbent governor of Wisconsin is Tony Evers. Dems are aiming to re-elect Evers to preserve some honesty and sanity in state government.
Nevada: Democrat Steve Sisolak was elected governor in 2018 and has done a creditable job during a pandemic that crashed the state's vital hotel, casino, and restaurant industries. For months, Nevada had some of the nation's worst unemployment.
Trump offered a late endorsement to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who prevailed in the Republican primary held June 14. The former president wanted a high profile win by backing the guy who was already leading the GOP field. The race between Sisolak and Lombardo is expected to be close.
Georgia: Democrat Stacey Abrams is taking on incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp in a re-run of their 2018 contest. This will be a very tough race, possibly turning on some of the restrictive election laws Kemp has signed. In case you have forgotten, Georgia is the state where GOPers made it illegal to give out water to people waiting in line to vote.
There's nothing easy about any of these contests.