Political junkies don't have to wait until 2024 to see interesting statewide races: 2023 features three intriguing off-year gubernatorial elections.

Coming off a strong 2022 cycle in which they added two net governors to their ranks, Democrats are on defense in two red states they currently hold. In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear is running for re-election and starts in a strong position against a crowded field of GOP hopefuls.

However, the open seat in Louisiana will be very tough for Democrats to defend, with conservative Gov. John Bel Edwards term-limited. There’s a thin bench in the state, and Republicans are in a prime position to flip this seat.

Mississippi is the least interesting of the trio of contests, at least so far. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is likely to face several primary challengers, but the state should easily remain in GOP hands, especially with Democrats focused elsewhere in 2023.

Here’s our first snapshot and initial ratings of these off-year races. Our ratings of the other ten governorships on the ballot in 2024 will be released this Friday.

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