State Watch

Ricketts picked to lead GOP governors

Greg Nash

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) will lead the Republican Governors Association (RGA) for the next year, taking on a prominent role that will elevate the wealthy scion of an investment conglomerate in the eyes of national donors.

Ricketts, reelected to his second term in office this year by a wide margin, takes over for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R), who is leaving office at the end of the year.

{mosads}His number two at the RGA will be Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who also skated to reelection this year. Abbott is mentioned as a potential future presidential candidate.

The RGA is a fundraising powerhouse that routinely brings in twice what its Democratic counterpart pulls in. Serving on the committee’s executive board gives governors access to big donors, both to solicit contributions to the committee and to build a national fundraising network.

The governors of Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana and Kentucky will all hold seats on the RGA’s executive board next year.

Republicans still hold 27 governorships, a majority across the country. But the party suffered big losses this year when Democrats picked up governorships in seven states, including states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada that will be important to both parties in the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats also won Republican-held governorships in Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois and Maine. Republicans picked up Alaska’s governor’s office, which had been held by independent Bill Walker.

Next year, the two parties will battle over three red states. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) are running for reelection. In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, likely leading to a high-stakes showdown between Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Attorney General Jim Hood (D), the last Democrat elected statewide.

The Democratic Governors Association plans to elect its new leaders this weekend in New Orleans.

Tags Republican Governors Association Republican Governors Association Republican Party

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