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Ratings Changes in Two Governors' Races

Indiana's Pence angered both moderates and conservatives over how he handled the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (File Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Gubernatorial races don’t get a lot of coverage in the nation’s capital, but based on the field of presidential contenders, the chief executive of each state can be a consequential figure.  

Republicans are looking to sweep Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana this year for the first time in history. And the GOP is largely playing offense next year including Montana, where wealthy tech entrepreneur Greg Gianforte announced his candidacy against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.  

Bullock narrowly won his first term in 2012 and might be restricted by the contribution limits in the state ($650 maximum from individuals) when going up against a potential self-funding challenge from Gianforte.  

Gianforte still might have a primary and could flame out as a first-time candidate, but this could also develop into a serious headache for Democrats. We’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating from Democrat Favored to Leans Democratic .  

Republicans are on the defensive in Indiana, where GOP Gov. Mike Pence is seeking re-election. The incumbent managed to upset both moderates and conservatives during his actions on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But even during the middle of the media storm, Pence’s polling numbers weren’t terrible.  

Even GOP strategists admit that Pence’s race against 2012 nominee/former House speaker John Gregg is likely to be close next year. We’re changing our rating of the race from Republican Favored to Leans Republican .  

Related: 2015-16 Gubernatorial Overview from The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.