Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vs. Dave Spence (R)
Democrat Jay Nixon hopes to become the first Missouri governor re-elected to a second term since the late Mel Carnahan in 1996. The Republican nominee is Dave Spence, a businessman who has been spending personal funds on the campaign. Nixon won the governorship in 2008 with a comfortable 58.4%, but Missouri voters have proven to be fickle at the ballot box, especially for state office. Since the 1970s, Republicans and Democrats have traded control of the governorship six times. Though a long-time swing state, Missouri has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections. The Democratic incumbent appears to have a leg up in the home stretch.
(Open seat) -- Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is term-limited
Steve Bullock (D) vs. Fmr. Rep. Rick Hill (R)
The race to replace outgoing Democratic incumbent and frequent CNN contributor Brian Schweitzer is extremely competitive, but it's been overshadowed by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's equally competitive U.S. Senate re-election contest. The Democratic nominee is Steve Bullock, the state attorney general. He faces Republican Rick Hill, a former congressman. Schweitzer leaves office with fairly high marks. He began October with a 61 % approval rating, which helps Bullock. But the state leans Republican overall.
(Open seat) -- Gov. John Lynch (D) is retiring
Maggie Hassan (D) vs. Ovide Lamontagne (R)
As is the case in Montana, the race in New Hampshire to replace a popular outgoing Democratic governor has become one of the most competitive races. The Democratic nominee is Maggie Hassan, a former state senator. She faces Republican Ovide Lamontagne, an attorney and conservative activist who was the tea party's choice over Kelly Ayotte in the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary. He also was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 1996, receiving 39.5% of the vote against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. John Lynch leaves office with high marks, which helps Hassan. But polling on the gubernatorial race itself has been mixed, with Lamontagne leading in two October polls and Hassan leading in one. Both candidates were well below the 50 % mark in each poll. Democrats have controlled the governorship for all but two years since Shaheen's win in 1996.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) vs. Ryan Taylor (D)
Incumbent Republican Jack Dalrymple seeks a full term in the office previously held by fellow Republican John Hoeven, who resigned in late 2010 after winning the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Byron Dorgan. The Democratic nominee is Ryan Taylor, the state senate minority leader. Although there's a tight U.S. Senate in the state this year, Dalrymple appears to have all the advantages heading into November. Republicans have had a lock on the governorship since 1992.
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) vs. Peter Cooke (D)
Utah has not had a Democratic governor in almost 28 years and incumbent Republican Gary Herbert looks likely to continue that trend. Herbert took office in August 2009 when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to China. He won a 2010 special election to complete the rest of Huntsman's term and received 64% of the vote over Peter Corroon, the mayor of Salt Lake County. His Democratic opponent is Peter Cooke, a businessman and retired two-star major general with the U.S. Army Reserves. Utah is solid Republican country, and Herbert is a safe bet for re-election.
Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) vs. Randy Brock (R)
Election Night 2012 should be much less suspenseful for Democratic incumbent Peter Shumlin than it was two years ago. That year, Shumlin narrowly edged his Republican opponent, Brian Dubie, 49% to 48%. Under Vermont law, the state legislature decides the gubernatorial election if no candidate receives a majority of the vote. Shumlin officially won the election in January 2011, though Dubie conceded the race shortly after Election Day. This year, Shumlin is expected to win re-election easily. His Republican opponent is Randy Brock, a state senator.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vs. Bill Maloney (R)
If it feels like just a year ago when Democratic incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin ran against Republican businessman Bill Maloney for the West Virginia governorship, that's because it was. Tomblin took office in late 2010 after his Democratic predecessor Joe Manchin resigned to take over the late Robert Byrd's U.S. Senate seat. A year later, Tomblin won a special election to complete the rest of Manchin's term. He beat Maloney, 50% to 47%. Now, the two face off again for a full term. The major difference now is that 2012 is a presidential election year, and the shadow of President Barck Obama looms even larger over the race than it did a year ago. Republicans, as they did in 2011, hope to link Tomblin with the president, who is unpopular in the Mountain State.