Eleven states are hosting governor's races, none hotter than the rematch in Washington State featuring incumbent Democrat Christine Gregoire against her 2004 rival, Republican Dino Rossi. She beat him four years ago by a mere 133 votes—out of 2.8 million cast. After the hard-fought contest, two recounts, and court rulings, Gregoire prevailed, but the GOP is eager to win back a seat it hasn't collected since 1980. Gregoire could be hurt by the state's budget woes, but she's expecting a boost from Barack Obama's candidacy.
North Carolina also has a too-close-to-call governor's contest. The race to succeed Democratic Gov. Mike Easley, who is forbidden by term limits from seeking a third term, pits Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue against Republican Pat McCrory, the longtime mayor of Charlotte. A win for Perdue would catapult a woman to the top job for the first time.
The other states that will pick governors: Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. Today, 28 Democrats and 22 Republicans serve as state chief executives.