The Republican Governors Association is dedicated to one primary objective: electing and supporting Republican governors. Republicans now hold a majority of 27 governorships as millions of Americans enjoy the strong leadership provided by Republican chief executives. All across the country, Republican governors are implementing innovative ideas, lowering taxes, growing jobs and achieving meaningful reform.
In 2018, the RGA faced the most challenging map in our history and proved, once again, that we know how to make smart investments and get results. In 2018, the RGA was tasked with defending Republican-held governorships in 26 of 36 states – the highest number of governorships our party has ever had to defend in a single election year. The challenging map was a product of our own success, and we knew that defending our majority would require years of preparation and an unparalleled effort.
The RGA developed a four-year plan to defend our majority, and the result was a success. For the 2018 cycle, the RGA raised a record-breaking $178 million, allowing us to make unprecedented investments in gubernatorial races. The RGA also decided early on to innovate and bring research, digital, rapid response and tracking programs in-house, allowing us to act nimbly and take advantage of every opportunity to move the needle in our direction.
These early decisions and planning were the difference on election night, allowing us to defend and re-elect 11 of our 13 incumbents, win a majority of toss-up races, win a majority of our open seat races that we were defending, and win a majority of races where governors have an impact on redistricting. Despite their boasts and guarantees of picking up 10-12 governorships, Democrats failed to capitalize on their extremely favorable map. Republicans won incredibly close and important races in Florida, Ohio, Georgia and Iowa, and flipped Alaska to GOP control. This was a direct result of the RGA’s planning, spending and action. We held the line and fought back against the “blue wave” that Democrats promised was coming.
Republicans also made history in 2018, electing the first female governors of South Dakota and Iowa, the first female Republican governor of Alabama, re-electing the first Republican governor of Maryland in over 60 years, and electing the youngest governor in the nation in Florida.
With the Democrats’ favorable map in the rearview mirror, Republicans are poised to make gains in governors’ races in the next two years, and the path to 30 governorships or more is in sight. In 2019, the Democrat-held governorship in Louisiana is a top pickup-opportunity. In 2020, Montana and North Carolina are also top targets for pickup. The time is now to build the foundation, recruit candidates and raise the funds needed to defend our incumbents, win these states and expand our majority.
Republican governors are America’s doers. We are transforming our states for the better, driving economic growth, reinventing state government and getting results. The RGA continues to be the most effective political organization in America and Republican governors continue to be the best investment for advancing conservative policies across the country.
Governor Pete Ricketts, Nebraska