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First Read's Top 10 Governors' Races

Note: On Fridays during this month of August, we’re scaling back our morning note. But we’re still providing something to read as you head to the beach or take advantage (hopefully) of a long weekend.

*** First Read’s Top 10 governor takeovers: If it’s Friday, it’s time for another Top 10 list. Today, we look at what we consider the Top 10 states where a party will win/lose control of a governor’s mansion. The number in parentheses is our last ranking (from June).
1. Wyoming (1): Matt Mead won the crowded GOP primary on Tuesday, and he’s the overwhelming favorite to replace outgoing Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D).
2. Kansas (2): Hello, Gov. Sam Brownback (R).
3. Tennessee (3): It’s Bill Haslam (R) vs. Mike McWherter (D) to replace term-limited Gov. Phil Bredesen, and the moderate Haslam has the edge.
4. Iowa (7): When Gov. Chet Culver (D) is admitting to mistakes, as he did earlier this week, you know he’s in deep trouble. The GOP nominee is ex-Gov. Terry Branstad (R).
5. Michigan (6): Another GOP moderate, Rick “One Tough Nerd” Snyder (R), won the GOP nomination, and he’s leading in the polls by double digits against Virg Bernero (D).
6. Hawaii (5): Democrats have a crowded field for the Sept. 18 primary – led by ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie -- but they’re the favorites here.
7. Oklahoma (4): One thing we know will happen: The Sooner State is going to elect its first female governor -- either Mary Fallin (R) or Jari Askins. Fallin is the favorite in this red state.
8. Pennsylvania (8): Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) is the clear front-runner to succeed term-limited Gov. Ed Rendell (D).
9. Connecticut (9): Democrats got their stronger candidate, ex-Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy (D), who faces off against former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley (R).
10. Minnesota (10): Ex-Sen. Mark Dayton (D), who narrowly won this month’s Dem primary, probably has the edge against Tom Emmer (R), but the race to replace retiring Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) could be closer than people think.

*** First Read’s Gubernatorial ratings:
Toss Ups (11): CA, FL, GA, IL, MA, MN, NM, OH, WI, RI, VT
Lean Democrat (5): CT, HI, ME, MD, OR
Lean Republican (5): IA, MI, OK, PA, TX
Probable Democrat (1): CO
Probable Republican (6): AL, AZ, ID, SC, NV, TN
Solid Democrat (3): AR, NH, NY
Solid Republican (6): AK, KS, NE, SD, UT, WY