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W.Va. could see one of five best governor’s races

Charleston Daily Mail photo by The Associated Press Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., seen on Jan. 8, presents one of the country’s most interesting story lines should he decide to return home to run for governor.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by The Associated Press
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., seen on Jan. 8, presents one of the country’s most interesting story lines should he decide to return home to run for governor.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Newsflash: Republicans had a very good 2014 election. In fact, they are arguably more powerful in the states than at any point since the Great Depression.

This includes controlling 31 out of the 50 governorships — the fourth-highest total since 1929-30. And judging by the races that are up over the next two years, they’ve got a pretty good chance at eclipsing the previous high of 32.

But much of it depends on two people: Democrats Joe Manchin and Maggie Hassan.

There are 14 governor’s races over the next two years, and basically five of them are marquee (the ones listed below). Democrats have recruited sitting attorneys general for three of the races (Nos. 2 through 4), setting themselves up well in those races. The other two races will depend heavily on what Manchin and Hassan do.

Manchin is a popular former governor and current U.S. senator from West Virginia who has suggested he might run for his old job. If he runs, Democrats have a great shot at holding this open seat left by term-limited Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; if he doesn’t, it becomes much tougher in a state that is trending quickly toward Republicans…

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