On the Trail: Lieutenant Governors Update

October 30, 2018 by Erin McPike
At a volunteer gathering in Woodbridge, Va. on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, House of Delegates candidate Elizabeth Guzman applauds the audience. To the left is Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. On her right are Del. Michael Futrell and Justin Fairfax, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. (Cathleen Decker/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is barnstorming the country to boost Democratic lieutenant governor candidates – going so far as Hawaii earlier this month to campaign with state Sen. Josh Green, who is seeking to replace current Lt. Gov. Doug Chin.

It’s a part of a large campaign among Democrats to increase their power in statehouses around the country and build a bench of potential future governors.

Fairfax relaunched the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association (DLGA) over the summer to help his party win more statewide races and build a farm team of Democrats around the country. While there are just 13 Democratic lieutenant governors in office today, the party is poised to pick up nearly a dozen LG seats on November 6.

“We are expecting a big night on November 6 for Democrats running for lieutenant governor,” Fairfax said. “The wildfire of progressive change that began with Virginia’s 2017 elections will continue to move across the country. It will be an overwhelming rejection of Donald Trump’s actions and an affirmation of hope and of our remarkably diverse group of outstanding candidates.”

Diversity is a hallmark among this growth area for Democrats. There two five African-Americans, five women, one Chinese and one Native American lieutenant governor among the 13 current officeholders.

That number is certain to climb. Of the 30 races for lieutenant governor on Election Day, Democrats are fielding seven African-American, three Hispanic, one Native American and an eye-popping 17 women candidates.

There is wide geographic diversity as well. Democrats are set to come roaring back in the Midwest, gain ground in the West, and post upsets in the South.


Top pick-up opportunities include:

Florida’s Chris King

Georgia’s Sarah Riggs Amico

Illinois’s Juliana Stratton

Iowa’s Rita Hart

Kansas’s Lynn Rogers

Nevada’s Kate Marshall

New Mexico’s Howie Morales

Michigan’s Garlin Gilchrist

Minnesota’s Peggy Flanagan

Ohio’s Betty Sutton

South Dakota’s Michelle Lavallee

Wisconsin’s Mandela Barnes


“Our diverse and dynamic candidates will bring real change to their states across the country,” said DLGA Executive Director Roshan Patel. “This doesn’t stop on November 6. Lieutenant governors can play a key role in helping advance state economies, which this innovative group will do.”

For his part, Fairfax will continue his tour in the final week leading to Election Day with a bus tour in Denver on November 2 with Colorado Democratic candidate Dianne Primavera, followed by an event with Nevada Democratic candidate Kate Marshall and stops the following days in Georgia with Amico and Florida with King.

Erin McPike is cofounder of Swann Street Strategies. She has been on national TV thousands of times – as a reporter, an analyst and a guest. She’s appeared on everything from Morning Joe on MSNBC to Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News to Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.

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