Oklahoma and South Carolina are not at the head of most rival governor races in 2018, but the Democrats are hoping to hit the governor's two mansions anyway this year – especially if the Republicans unpopular incumbents nominate incumbent-bound candidates Tuesday
The story here is not necessarily about President Trump.
Republicans may be victims of their own success in the governor's mansions. They hold an almost record number of them: 33 out of 50. In states like Oklahoma and South Carolina, the fact that they are in power could hurt them.
Voters in both states holding elections on Tuesday are unbelievably unhappy with their current governors. Some of this dissatisfaction is personal, as in South Carolina, where Governor Henry McMaster (R) has difficulty solving the label that his opponents have given him as a corrupt insider. His run-off against businessman John Warren on Tuesday is expected, even though Trump will go to McMaster on Monday night.
McMaster, who has seen a few weeks ago how much a Trump tweet can echo in his state, personally lobbied for Trump to come campaign for him. But people watching this race say some conservative voters dislike McMaster, which could make him a weakened electoral candidate.
In Oklahoma, Republican problems are more policy-driven. Temporary governor Mary Fallin (R) and the Republican-controlled legislature are calling on Conservatives to award millions of dollars in taxes this spring to increase teacher pay and school funding.
But an energetic left and center are frustrated The Republicans have not paid enough for the teacher. Even in a strongly republican state, this block could be enough to make a difference in choice. Oklahoma is one of the states with the lowest teaching salaries, and many of its teachers dropped out in April for nine days.
The mixed political reaction to this strike has led Republican candidates to replace Fallin in an uncomfortable place: Do they stick to traditional republican orthodoxy and disapprove of tax increases? Or do they support the tax increases that their own party has approved?
Lt. Governor Todd Lamb has decided to oppose the tax hikes, even though he is part of the government that signed them. He actually left Fallin's cabinet last year to secede from his boss as Fallin's popularity bottomed out as she contemplated other tax hikes to fill a budget deficit of $ 900 million.
Lamb is the most famous name in the 10-person Republican Governor Primary. But because of his connections to the governor, he may be the weakest in a general election. Republicans in Washington say they'll probably have to spend money in the parliamentary elections to bolster Lamb over a Democrat. That's no trifle considering that the state of Trump has voted for more than 35 points and Trump still 55 percent of the state.
Republican polls indicate that a more promising candidate for the election is former Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett. The Democrats acknowledge that it's hard to tackle as it's harder to capture Fallin's unpopularity.
Another candidate attempting to use anti-present sentimentality is Kevin Stitt, a mortgage lender least known when he entered the race, but spent more than $ 1 million of his own money, to change that.
If no candidate receives the majority of the election on Tuesday, the top two will go to a runoff in late August.
That's a likely scenario, and that means the Democrats could have another advantage in Oklahoma's governor's race: a push into the campaign. Former Advocate General Oklahoma, Drew Edmondson, is expected to win the Democrats 'First Governors' Congress on Tuesday
He will try to reactivate what the Democrats in Washington call "siren call" liberal voter enthusiasm in the Trump era Oklahoma during the Sermons and several notable state legislative victories for Democrats.
In November, Democrats won a state legislative seat in a district that voted for Trump with nearly 40 points. This is just one of four parliamentary seats in Oklahoma that have turned them so far, making the state one of the first Democrats to highlight the excitement of their side.
Democrats also feel pretty good about their governors' candidates in other red states. Stacey Abrams, the candidate in Georges Open Governor's Race, is one of her star recruits from 2018, though some wonder if she's too far left to win the state.
In South Carolina, Democrats nominate a veteran and Purple Heart recipient state Rep. James Smith, who has been able to camp while McMaster has focused on his runoff vote in recent weeks.
While Republicans recognize that all of these races could potentially be competitive in traditionally red states, they think (and hope) that Democrats have made mistakes in their choice. In particular, by nominating candidates who are not as socially or fiscally conservative as the rest of the states.
"Democrats can nominate the best person they have, but if they're a pro-choice and pro-tax increase" In a deep red state, the candidates are hard-fought, "said Jon Thompson, spokesman for the Republican Governors Association.
Nevertheless, the Democrats have reason to be in these states thanks to optimistic – even bordering on optimism – unpopular republican leadership and a wave of Democratic electorate enthusiasm that is already deepening the legislative seats of the state deep in the Trump country.