January 08, 2017

Experts view governor seats in Pa., N.J. as vulnerable in upcoming elections

Politics Elections
Primary stickers Pennsylvania Jacqueline Larma/AP Photo

Stickers for voters are seen on a table at a polling station in Wayne, Pa.

Looking ahead to the 2017 and 2018 elections, political experts believe Pennsylvania and New Jersey voters are most likely to see control of the governorship change parties.

Governing Magazine published Friday an analysis of the 36 gubernatorial races that will be on the ballot in the next two years, naming Pennsylvania and New Jersey as "vulnerable." The rankings were based on the opinions of national party strategists and political experts.

Although Gov. Chris Christie will not be on the ballot in November due to term limits, New Jersey's ranking as the most vulnerable seat on the list is no surprise. The political fallout from the Bridgegate scandal has sunk Christie's approval ratings to historically low levels and is expected to cast a shadow on the upcoming race.

On the Democratic side, former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy and state Assemblyman John Wisniewski have already announced bids to run. Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, an outspoken critic of Christie, is also running.

The outlet wrote about the race in the Garden State:

"While the Democratic nominee will be the favorite in the general election thanks to Christie fatigue, the race looks likelier to be competitive than a wipeout."

However, the primary fields are still taking shape and have yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile in the Keystone State, first-term Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf could face a difficult task securing another four years in office. Wolf has not officially announced he will seek reelection, but there is still time as Pennsylvania's gubernatorial seat won't be on the ballot until 2018.

In a somewhat surprising outcome, Wolf garnered 55 percent of the vote in 2014. to knock off incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett. Wolf has prioritized education, battling the opioid crisis and making state government work more efficiently to reduce the deficit.

Policial experts point to Pennsylvania voters' support for President-elect Donald Trump in November as a cause for concern for Wolf's reelection chances.

According to the magazine:

"Wolf is also not considered the most scintillating campaigner, and the prospect of trying to enact a left-of-center agenda against a solid Republican legislature could lead him to consider skipping a second term."

Wolf is widely believed to be seeking another four years in office.

Governing Magazine lists 12 governor seats as vulnerable in the next two years.