This fall, in a strange aligning of the electoral stars, Republicans will defend governorships in several key presidential swing states: Florida, Iowa, Nevada and Ohio. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could also be added to that list, which expands the proverbial map a little bit more.
One might think that, if the GOP manages to hold onto those seats, they'd be setting themselves up to take back the White House in 2016. In conversations TPM had with a few independent strategists, that conventional wisdom was the norm. It feels like it makes sense: Why wouldn't holding the state's highest office help? Especially if the governor is popular, he can show up at campaign events with the presidential candidate and mobilize the ground game.
Flip five of those six states in the GOP's favor on the 2012 map, and we'd currently be in the 15th month of the Mitt Romney administration. So Republican wins in 2014 should therefore give the party a better chance of seizing the White House two years later, right?
But it doesn't. In fact, according to the same kind of political analysis that shattered the horse-race perception of the 2012 presidential race, the opposite is true: GOP gubernatorial wins this year would actually hurt the party's chances of reclaiming the presidency in 2016.
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