“We were always going to be on the offense this cycle.”

Newly minted Democratic Governors Association Chair Jay Inslee is staring out at a sea of red as he looks ahead to the governors’ races in 36 states this November.

The Washington state governor and others at the DGA are up against steep odds. Across the country there are currently 33 Republican governors, compared to just 16 Democrats (plus a lone independent, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker). Of these, Democrats are especially zeroing in on 13 in 2018.

This year’s midterms will be a pivotal test for Democrats. With an increasingly embattled Republican Party and an energized Democratic base, the political winds are looking favorable for them. Still, Inslee and others at the DGA recognize they have a lot of work to do to flip the seats.

The midterms will also have serious consequences for the future of the US House; whichever party wins more state legislative and governors’ seats will have the chance to influence legislative redistricting (also known as gerrymandering) in 2020, when new congressional voting districts will be redrawn. Republicans have benefitted from gerrymandering in the past, and if Democrats want to stop or change Republican redistricting, they must do well in 2018.

The high stakes are not lost on Inslee.

“This is a moment that’s a once in a 50-year opportunity, and it calls for maximum effort,” the governor said in a recent interview with Vox.

How the map is shaping up

Out of the 36 total governors’ races this year, 26 are held by Republicans. And of that number, 13 states were won by President Barack Obama in previous presidential cycles. That fact alone has Democrats feeling confident. Election Day 2017 was also an encouraging sign; they were able to hold onto the Virginia governor’s Read More Here