GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN PRESIDENTS’ FIRST YEARS

Two states — New Jersey and Virginia — elect governors one year into each presidential term. These elections can provide the first early indicator of voter satisfaction during a new president’s term. Virginia in particular — a swing state where governors are not permitted to succeed themselves, meaning every election is an open seat — is often viewed as a bellwether of presidential popularity.

 
In the first years of the last four presidencies, the new president’s party lost control of both the New Jersey and Virginia governorships in November.
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