NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour isn't buying the notion that this year's gubernatorial races are going to be boring. In remarks to the Republican Leadership Conference on Friday, Barbour said Republican candidates are going to win at least one of the two seats held by Democrats that are up for election this year.
Voters will elect governors in Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky. Republicans hold Louisiana and Mississippi, while Democrats control West Virginia and Kentucky.
Barbour predicted Republicans will end the year with "not just the two Republican governors we've got now, but at least three and maybe four Republican governors."
But that may be a stretch. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has a big 21-point lead over state Senate President David Williams, according to a recent poll conducted by Braun Research. And West Virginia acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who took over after then-Gov. Joe Manchin won election to the Senate, is seen as the overwhelming front-runner over businessman Bill Maloney.
Then again, Democrats don't have a lot of opportunities either. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn't even drawn a serious Democratic opponent, while Barbour's lieutenant governor, Phil Bryant, is the front-runner to replace his boss.
Barbour ran the Republican Governors Association in 2010.