After the landslide win for Republicans in 2010, many conservative governors have spent four years bringing state finances under control. Four years later, the 2014 election will be a test for incumbents in many states as these governors face their first election.
Opponents are entering the primary and caucus processes leading up to November. Once the final ticket forms, each race will get underway this summer.
Governor John Kaish is holding his own against Ed Fitzgerald, who is a county executive. Ohio is one of the states under scrutiny after several voter fraud convictions from the 2012 election. Republicans are determined to hold Ohio even though the state can lean heavily Democrat because of the union presence.
Governor Paul LePage is expected to lose his race against U.S. Representative Mike Michaud on the Democrat ticket. This Democrat could be the first openly gay governor in U.S. history. Maine has been largely ignored in the media since it does not have a large population, which could matter in 2016.
Governor Rick Scott is facing former Democratic governor Charlie Crist, who was once a Republican. This race is important because of the changing demographics within the state of Florida. Thousands of New Yorkers are moving to Florida to escape exorbitant tax rates. Most will vote Democrat.
9. Rhode Island
Governor Lincoln Chafee won as an Independent in 2010. His current job approval rating is the lowest of all incumbent governors with a stunning 68 percent disapproval rating in three separate polls. This small state might not matter too much to some people, but it is considered a Democrat stronghold.
Governor Pat Quinn is a Democrat governor facing remarkable opposition from the unions in his state. Signing a pension reform bill for public sector unions has caused all unions to say they will not support his reelection. Conservative activist Bruce Rauner seems to be the front runner. Unions will have to choose between the two men.
Governor Nathan Deal is a Republican governor with a 37 percent approval rating. Georgia is located in that series of conservative states that border Florida. This incumbent will have to find an important problem to solve if he is going to be reelected.
6. New Mexico
Governor Susana Martinez has brought the state of New Mexico back from the brink of financial disaster. This first generation of Americans believes in the young people of her state, and the respect is reciprocated. The strategic location of this state is critical to the control of illegal immigration from the southern border.