President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are at the moment their parties’ leading candidates for 2024.
Should that change, count on a governor to be waiting in the wings.
There’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose decisive victory in Florida Tuesday night only added fuel to speculation about his national plans. Similarly, high-profile Democratic governors like Gavin Newsom of California and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois also had big wins. But more competitive midterm contests appear poised to inject a host of new prospects into the 2024 conversation for both parties.
For Democrats, that includes two from key presidential battlegrounds: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who won a second term following a tough and expensive re-election battle after previously making Biden’s short list for vice president in 2020, and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, who was already being hyped as the future “first Jewish president” before winning in a landslide Tuesday. Wes Moore, elected Tuesday as Maryland’s first Black governor, likewise won with lofty national expectations and has the added benefit of working in close proximity to the nation’s capital.
That governors would already find themselves in the 2024 spotlight comes as little surprise to political observers. With the onset of Covid in 2020, voters suddenly became more attuned to state-level policy being enacted by governors of each party who were on the front lines of the crisis. At the same time, governors could act decisively on many hot-button issues at the forefront of modern politics — abortion rights, education, voting rights and crime — that leaders in Washington have had little say on. [Continue reading…]