This election year, everyone’s obsessing over Congress. Will the Democrats lose lots of seats in the midterms, or gajillions of seats? Will President Obama completely lose the ability to get legislation passed, or … yeah, OK, that one’s obvious. 

But there’s a more interesting narrative playing out in the shadows: state-level leadership. Thirty-seven governorships are up for grabs this year — three-quarters of all governorships in the nation. And 24 of those races are for open seats, so it’s very likely that more than half of all states will have new leaders after the midterms.

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With Congress having utterly failed, yet again, to make any meaningful progress on climate and energy policy, the states remain drivers of action on this front. Thirty-eight states have climate action plans in place or in process. Thirty-six states have standards or goals for use of renewable and alternative energy. Thirty-two states are involved to some extent with regional greenhouse-gas initiatives.

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The outcome of the 37 governors’ races this year will have a huge impact on how states address energy and climate issues — and, because the state level is where most action actually takes place, how much progress the U.S. makes as a whole. (Plus, governors will play a key role as states redraw district lines after the 2010 census, determining the makeup of the U.S. House down the line.)

We’ll be reporting on a number of these races in the weeks leading up to the election on Nov. 2. But we also need you to tell us what’s happening in your state.

  • What are the gubernatorial candidates saying about climate change, energy, transportation, and other environmental issues?
  • Are green or brown interest groups trying to sway the outcome?
  • Are you seeing green issues crop up in TV, radio, or internet ads?
  • How might your state’s climate-action plans or renewable-power mandates be affected by a new boss in the governor’s mansion?

Tell us in comments below. Or visit the election page for your state (see a list at right) and leave your comments there. Or email us at

Check out Grist’s gubernatorial race coverage so far:

  • State clean-energy plans are on track to create 2 million jobs, but a slate of Republican guv candidates want to repeal them
  • California: Democrat Jerry Brown has a long legacy of pushing clean energy
  • Colorado: A bike-hater Republican vs. the Democratic mayor of Denver vs. an immigration-obsessed independent
  • Colorado, again: An interview with Democratic contender John Hickenlooper
  • Florida: Energy-savvy Dem goes up against super-rich health-care exec
  • Illinois: Renewables advocate vs. Tea Partier and climate skeptic
  • Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick adopted a forward-looking energy plan, but it’s been constrained by economic calamity set in motion before he took office
  • Michigan: Rick Snyder, self-styled “tough nerd,” might be the elusive green Republican
  • Minnesota: Republican who doubts “Al Gore’s climate porn” wants to repeal significant clean-energy investment
  • Ohio: Gov. Ted Strickland has made factories more efficient and competitive, but he hasn’t told voters about it
  • Tennessee: Republican oilman is poised to win, but he may be greener than he appears
  • Texas: An interview with Democratic contender Bill White on wind, solar, and the daunting prospect of urban planning in Texas
  • Texas, again: Republican Gov. Rick Perry fights climate action but embraces wind power
  • Wisconsin: Milwaukee’s mayor and county executive face off, bringing very different visions for rebuilding the state’s economy


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