The bad news for Iowa Democrats is that a poll by the highly respected Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register shows the incumbent Democrat Governor, Chet Culver, losing badly (by 24%!) in his re-election bid to former Republican Governor Terry Branstad, a likely candidate for the GOP. Iowa, is one of the real swing states in the country. It narrowly voted for Al Gore in 2000, and just as narrowly for George Bush in 2004. In 2008, it was the state that ignited Barack Obama's Presidential bid in the Iowa Caucuses, and Obama won the state last November by 9%. With independents moving heavily to the GOP (58%), and even a fifth of Democrats abandoning the Governor, the news from Iowa is hardly reassuring to Democratic incumbents around the country in other swing states or House districts
Governors' races are very important for the GOP in 2010. Having a Republican in office gives the GOP a voice in decisions that will be made on Congressional and state legislative redistricting after the 2010 census. If the GOP can win some of the Governors races in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in 2010 (now all held by Democrats), this could impact a few House seats for the next decade. Of course, if the Presidential race is close in 2012 in these states, having a Republican Governor won't hurt either.