When it comes to this cycle's 36 gubernatorial contests, Republicans' Achilles Heel is their open seats. There are nine open GOP-held seats; five of which are open because of term limits.

Two of the nine seats - New York and Ohio - are lost causes for Republicans. In New York, Democratic Attorney General Eliot Spitzer holds an insurmountable lead over former state House Minority Leader John Faso. In Ohio, a combination of Republican scandals at the state level, the national political climate and a perception that he is too conservative are stalling Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's candidacy against Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland.

As the election cycle enters its final month, three more open seats have become more competitive as the Democratic nominees have solidified or are close to cementing their leads, making rating changes in order. And, one GOP incumbent finds his path to re-election more difficult than anticipated.

Not all the news is bad for Republicans as Alaska looks likely to stay in GOP hands.

AK GOV: Palin Rides a Wave

Alaska is one bright spot for

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