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Gov. Phil Murphy in Camden in 2022. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

Murphy’s job in 2023: electing Democratic governors in three red states

Democratic governor of Kentucky is top priority for DGA

By David Wildstein, December 29 2022 10:36 am

When Gov. Phil Murphy assumes the chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association in 2023, he’ll have three  red state governor’s races on his plate – Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.

One Democratic incumbent, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, is seeking re-election.  The Democratic governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, is term-limited.  Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, is up for re-election but has not yet announced if he will seek a second term.

Beshear remains popular with voters.  An October Garin-Hart-Yang poll put his approval ratings at 62%-36%, with 40% of Republicans giving him a positive job rating.   Eleven Republicans are running, including state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, State Auditor Mike Harmon, and Kelly Craft, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump.

Louisiana Republicans have rallied around Jeff Landry, the state attorney general.  So far, the only Democrat with an exploratory committee is former Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Shawn Wilson.

Democrats have not won a gubernatorial election in Mississippi since 1999.

The DGA post is primarily a fundraising one.

Murphy will become the first governor to serve a second term as head of the Democratic Governors Association since the precursor of the group was formed in 1965.  He previously held the DGA chairmanship in 2020.

The top Democratic priority that year, Gov. Roy Cooper, was re-elected with 51.5% of the vote  Republicans flipped Montana, when Republican Greg Gianforte, a New Jersey native, succeeded Gov. Steve Bullock.

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