Gubernatorial Races to Watch in 2016

Democrats in North Carolina are hoping McCrory has overplayed his hand. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Despite Democrats' surprising victory last week in Louisiana — where state Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican Sen. David Vitter in the runoff –  they hold only 18 gubernatorial seats, compared to the 31 held by Republican governors.  

Next year, Democrats will defend eight seats, including ones in targeted U.S. Senate battle grounds such as Missouri and New Hampshire, while Republicans will defend four.  Missouri: With incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon on his way out,  Republicans believe one of their top pickup opportunities is in Missouri, where the chief executive's office has been held by Democrats for all but four of the past 22 years.  

Rove-Aligned Group to Spend Early for Roy Blunt

Blunt is being challenged by Democrat Kander. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than a year before Election Day, Republicans in Washington are already spending big to assist Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt.  

One Nation — a nonprofit organization with ties to Republican strategist Karl Rove's web of political groups — has plans to launch an $800,000 statewide television and radio ad campaign to boost Blunt’s image on veterans and military issues, the Springfield News-Leader reported .  “In Missouri, $800,000 is a sizable buy at this stage in the election cycle,” said James Harris, a Show-Me State Republican strategist. “Holding the Senate is a top priority for Republicans, and it is not surprising that One Nation would jump in the race to help Sen. Blunt.”