US midterm elections: The key governor races to watch


US midterm elections: The key governor races to watch

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Image shows Sarah Huckabee SandersImage source, Getty Images
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Former Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders is projected to become Arkansas’ first female governor

As well as deciding which party controls Congress, the US midterm elections on Tuesday will also determine state governors.

These key figures have enormous power, as many aspects of American life – from education to abortion rights – are decided at the state level.

Some 36 states will decide their next governor in these elections. And some of them could have an impact on national politics – here’s why.

Ron DeSantis – Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s projected re-election has stoked further speculation that he could run for president in 2024.

He has positioned himself as an enthusiastic champion of conservativism, and is considered by many to be the most likely candidate to supplant Donald Trump.

Mr Trump – who is eyeing a return to the White House – warned his chief rival on Monday that he could “hurt himself very badly” if he joined the race.

Either way, his projected victory will only add to the expectation that he will challenge for the Republican nomination.

Maura Healey – Massachusetts

Massachusetts is projected to elect Democrat Maura Healey, who would become the first openly lesbian governor.

She defeated Trump-supporter Geoff Diehl, who had hoped to ride a red wave to the governor’s mansion in the largely blue state.

Ms Healey was previously the state’s attorney general, and has promised to aggressively tackle climate change, including a pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders – Arkansas

Former Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders is projected to become Arkansas’ first female governor.

While it’s a historic first, it is not the only record she has broken – during her campaign, she also broke her state’s fundraising record.

Mr Trump encouraged Ms Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019.

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Doug Mastriano – Pennsylvania

Doug Mastriano is one of the best examples of a candidate backed by a new religious right that some claim are driven by the idea of Christian Nationalism.

He casts himself and his followers as God’s chosen people who must take back the country, and erroneously claims the 2020 election was stolen. He is supported by a revivalist movement of self-proclaimed prophets and apostles.

He is projected to lose to Democrat Josh Shapiro, who served as the state’s attorney general and has promised to uphold abortion rights and defend democracy.

Brian Kemp – Georgia

The projected re-election of Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp could be a sign the state is ready to move on from the Trump era.

He earned the ire of the former president in 2020, when he refused to support his claim that the election had been stolen.

It was Mr Kemp’s opponent – Democrat Stacey Abrams – who helped deliver the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Although she lost the 2018 governor election by only 60,000 votes, she made a name for herself as a political fundraiser who helped get people to the polls.