Oct. 29 (UPI) -- There are nearly a dozen governor's races that will be decided in the 2020 election, including a few that are turning out to be close contests.
In nine of the 11 gubernatorial races, an incumbent is seeking another term -- including Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. The other two, in Montana and Utah, are open seats.
Most experts agree that Republicans will likely keep governorships in Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. Democrats are expected to keep control of the statehouses in Delaware and Washington state.
The remaining three races are expected to be close:
Montana: Mike Cooney (D) vs. Greg Gianforte (R)
Democrat Steve Bullock has been Montana's governor since 2013, but can't run for a third term. Now running for one of the state's Senate seats -- after briefly flirting with a Democratic presidential bid -- Bullock is out of the governor's mansion.
Cooney was Bullock's lieutenant governor and is running on achievements of the last seven years. Bullock left a legacy of working with Republicans in a state where Trump won handily in 2016.
The Billings Gazette, one of the state's leading newspapers, however, has endorsed Gianforte.
Gianforte, the state's lone House representative since 2017, is perhaps best known for body-slamming a reporter during the special election that year.
Most analysts list this race as a total tossup. Montana hasn't had a Republican governor since 2005.
North Carolina: Incumbent Roy Cooper (D) vs. Dan Forest (R)
Cooper faces his lieutenant governor in one of the nation's top battleground states.
Four years ago, Cooper unseated Gov. Pat McCrory in a close race that took nearly a month to decide after orders for multiple recounts. The battle created somewhat of a divide between Cooper and the state's GOP legislature.
Cooper and Forest butted heads during debates over North Carolina's COVID-19 response, budget issues, hurricane recovery and Medicaid.
Trump, who won the state four years ago by about 170,000 votes, has endorsed Forest.
Most analysts and polling, however, slightly favor Cooper to win and hold onto control of the statehouse in Raleigh.
Missouri: Incumbent Mike Parson (R) vs. Nicole Galloway (D)
Parson tested positive for COVID-19 last month, but it didn't slow his campaign. Galloway, the state's auditor, is looking to become the first female governor of Missouri.
Although Parson is the incumbent, he's not been elected before. As lieutenant governor, he ascended to the post in 2018 when Gov. Eric Greitens resigned following revelations of an affair and criticism over ethics issues.
Galloway, meanwhile, has drawn scorn from some Republican lawmakers over her promotion of a statewide mask mandate to control the coronavirus, if she's elected. At age 38, she's one of the youngest gubernatorial candidates in the 2020 campaign.
Most experts and observers give Parson a slight edge in the race for the governorship in Jefferson City.