Our third panel at the 2017 CompTIA State Tech Summit examined the 2017-2018 gubernatorial races. Currently, 34 states have Republican Governors at the helm while there are 15 Democratic Governors, and one Independent. However, over the next 13 months, 38 states are scheduled to hold elections for their chief executive, and the stakes are certainly high for we as citizens as well as representatives of the technology industry.
Joining us on a panel to provide an “off the record” overview of the upcoming races were Jon Thompson, Communications Director of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), and Noam Lee, Finance Director of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). The session was moderated by our very own Kevin Callahan, CompTIA's Director of State Government Affairs for the Northeast region, who began the discussion by emphasizing the importance and influence of Governors over policymaking and the day to day functioning of state government.
Looking at the national political landscape, Callahan also noted that many of the Governors elected in 2018 will play a role in the next round of congressional redistricting. Understanding the impact of who is in the state executive office, Callahan kicked off the discussion asking where things currently stand and where things might be going with some key races over the next 13 months.
Up first in the cycle are elections in two of the top tech states according to CompTIA’s 2017 Cyberstates, New Jersey and Virginia. Both states have open seats, and many are speculating that the outcomes will serve as a barometer for the 2018 races.
Of the 36 races in 2018, 17 will be for open seats (13 GOP, 4 Democrat), and 19 incumbents (13 GOP, 5 Democrat, 1 Independent). The number of states with open seats in 2018 is quite high, and we are watching very closely developments in the elections in key tech states including California (#1 tech state according to Cyberstates), Florida (#4), Michigan (#10), Colorado (#14), and Ohio (#15) among others.
Both panelists agreed that it is still far too early to know exactly what the conditions will look like next year, but to anticipate that there will be some surprises along the way. For sure, these gubernatorial races will be interesting!