January Spotlight

by Barbara Head, January 10, 2022

There are 36 (20R, 16D) governors races in 2022, and these may be the most interesting political races of all this year! Here are some overviews:

Governor race ratings

Best races for 2022 might be for governor

10 Governor’s races to watch


These races and their candidates are summarized below. Right now, most races are too early to call. But as the 2022 election nears and predictions become more accurate, we will add what the oddsmakers are saying about possible outcomes. 

Georgia –  flip prospect

Dem (likely candidate): Stacy Abrams – lost to Brian Kemp in 2018 in contested race;

GOP (showdown): Brian Kemp – incumbent, Trump ire for losing GA in 2020 vs. David Perdue – lost to Jon Ossoff in Jan runoff elections in  2021

Read: GOP showdown in Georgia, Early Look at GA gov race

Arizonaopen seat (was Doug Ducey, R, term-limited)

Dem (likely candidate):  Katie Hobbs, AZ Secretary of State

GOP (uncertain): Many, but Kari Lake leading

Read: AZ race

Wisconsinmust defend

Dem (incumbent): Tony Evers

GOP (likely candidate):  Rebecca Kleefisch, former WI  Lt. Governor 

Read: Wisconsin races, WI gov election critical in 2022 for free and fair elections

Michigan must defend

Dem (incumbent): Gretchen Whitmer

GOP (uncertain): Many 

Read: MI gov race polls and predictions

Nevadamust defend

Dem (incumbent): Steve Sisolak (seen as highly vulnerable)

GOP (showdown): Dean Haller (former US Senator) vs. Joe Lombardo (county sheriff) 

Read:  Dem Sisolak faces challenges

Maryland flip prospect

Dem (uncertain): Many heavy hitters

GOP (showdown): Kelly Schulz (Sec of Commerce) vs Daniel Cox (state lawmaker with Trump endorsement

Read:  Dems face off in primary – can they prevail in red year?   

Kansas reverse flip? Toss-up

Dem (incumbent): Laura Kelly (see as highly vulnerable)

GOP (likely candidate): Derek Schmidt (KS Attorney General)

Read:  Who’s running for KS gov

Pennsylvania open seat (was John Wolf, D, term-limited)

Dem (likely candidate):  John Shapiro (PA Attorney General) – very strong candidate

GOP (uncertain): Many

Read:  The PA gov race summary

Floridamaybe flip prospect

Dem (showdown): Nikki Fried (FL Agriculture Commissioner) vs Charlie Crist (US Rep and former GOP governor from 2007-2011)

GOP (incumbent): Ron DeSantis

Read: Can Dems defeat DeSantis?

Maine must defend

Dem (incumbent): Janet Mills

GOP (unclear): Maybe Paul LePage? (former and unpopular ME governor)

Read: Mills vs LePage? Heavyweights contest


Ohiounlikely to flip

Dem (showdown): Nan Whaley (former Dayton major) vs. John Cranley (former Cincinnati mayor)

GOP: Mike DeWine (incumbent)

Read: Who’s running for OH gov?

Texaspossible flip – or just wishful thinking?

Dem (likely candidate): Beto O’Rourke (former US Rep, narrowly lost Senate race to Ted Cruz and run for president in 2020)

GOP (incumbent): Greg Abbott

Read: TX election 2022