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Democrats Emerge Confident from Summer Governors Meeting

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As the National Governors Association Summer meeting in Santa Fe wrapped up this weekend, Democrats emerged confident about their prospects heading into the heat of the 2018 campaign cycle. And with 36 states set to elect governors this fall—26 of which currently are held by Republicans—the stakes could not be higher.
See below for a roundup of coverage of Democrats’ confidence heading out of Santa Fe and into campaign season:
New York Times: Democrats See Openings at State Level, Thanks to Trump Resistance 
By Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
July 22, 2018
SANTA FE, N.M. — A polarizing president electrifies the opposition party going into his first midterm election, raising the party’s hopes that it can reclaim governorships, ram through major policy change at the state level and redraw legislative lines in its favor for a decade to come.
It’s a scenario both political parties have seen before, most recently in 2010, when out-of-power Republicans rode the Tea Party-led wave against the Obama administration to smashing victories across the country.
This year, governors in both parties acknowledged at the National Governors Association conference here, it is Democrats who appear poised to make major gains as Republicans brace for a backlash against President Trump that could lead to grievous statehouse losses.
“It does feel very much like 2010 reversed to me right now,” said Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, the head of the Republican Governors Association. “There’s a lot more conviction about voting on the Democrat side than our side, which is a concern to us.”
…Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who won the governorship on the strength of the 2010 Obama backlash, bluntly acknowledged he and other Republicans could be facing “a blue wave,” noting that “the wind nationally isn’t at our back.”
The president’s conduct and the fight for control of Congress have overshadowed the 36 governor’s races this year. But the state elections could prove even more consequential in reshaping policy and altering the long-term balance of power both in Washington and state capitals. 
…But if Republicans are likely to hold on to some measure of power in many states, there was no mistaking the deflated demeanor of a number of governors in Santa Fe.
CNN:  Democrats eye expanded map of governor’s races in key year for redistricting
Santa Fe, New Mexico (CNN) — President Donald Trump’s stumbles overseas and awkward intervention in key states has Democrats optimistic that the playing field is expanding in what could be the most important year of governor’s races for the next decade. 
November’s midterm elections feature 36 governor’s races — including 23 seats that are currently in Republican hands.
Because most governors have veto power over redistricting maps made by state lawmakers, Democratic governors have spent the year arguing that this year is their only chance at installing a check on Republican-dominated legislatures and preventing maps that would give the GOP a major advantage in the battle for control of Congress for another decade.
The stakes grew higher when the Supreme Court refused to rule this year on several cases that challenged gerrymandered maps.
Democratic governors at the National Governors Association meeting in New Mexico this weekend said the combination of Trump’s roundly condemned handling of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ongoing concerns among rural voters in Republican strongholds about a trade war and his ham-handed intervention in GOP primaries — as well as local backlash over GOP policies like education funding — has broadened the battleground map. 
“We’re going to compete in places that people have not thought of as competitive before,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, the group tasked with steering the party’s strategy in gubernatorial races. 
Albuquerque Journal:  Democratic govs feeling good about upcoming election cycle
Democratic governors expressed optimism today about the upcoming election cycle, saying they’re confident they can flip GOP-held goversherhips from coast to coast — including in New Mexico.
At a news conference at a downtown Santa Fe hotel, Democratic governors described themselves as a bulwark to the policies of President Donald Trump, specifically on the issues of health care, civil liberties and the economy.
“People are going to be crawling over broken glass to vote for Democratic governors this year,” predicted Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
…Meanwhile, Democrats also insisted their aim in winning back more state-level control isn’t to rig the drawing of new congressional districts after the 2020 census, but rather to ensure the process is done fairly. 
“We’re not the party of stealing elections, we’re the party of fair elections,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy in an apparent swipe at Republicans.
Santa Fe New Mexican:  Visiting leaders take sides in New Mexico gubernatorial race
…But the interest of governors passing through has made clear that political leaders beyond New Mexico are eager to see the Land of Enchantment swing into their column come November.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, told reporters Friday he is “very, very confident” about Democrats’ prospects for winning the governor’s office in New Mexico.  
…Inslee pointed to health care, noting that Martinez expanded access to Medicaid.
“Now, the Republican candidate — you can’t trust him on health care,” Inslee said of Pearce.
“He’s approached this from an ideological standpoint rather than the standpoint of getting people in New Mexico health care,” Inslee added.
Albuquerque Journal:  Wash. Gov. Inslee campaigns for Lujan Grisham in Santa Fe
SANTA FE — The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association joined Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham at a campaign stop Friday, highlighting her ambition to make New Mexico a leader in renewable energy.
Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington and head of the DGA, described Lujan Grisham as a talented leader ready to win back the governor’s office after eight years of Republican control. 
Inslee said his own state has a thriving economy, thanks partly to jobs created by the renewable energy industry. New Mexico, he added, is the third-most promising state for wind and solar energy.
“This is a gold mine waiting to be opened,” Inslee said.
Lujan Grisham, in turn, touted her 22-page “clean energy” plan — which calls for tax incentives that encourage use of renewable energy and a mandate that new state buildings have solar installed on them. 
She said Tuesday that renewable energy could create high-paying jobs throughout New Mexico, including rural areas.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us,” Lujan Grisham said.