Haslam’s job is a lot easier than Christie’s: Instead of overseeing 36 governors races, only three states — Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana — elect their governors in the year before a presidential election.
Two of those races already favor Republicans. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is likely to cruise to reelection, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (R) is the early frontrunner to replace retiring Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).
In Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is popular but term-limited, at least three Republicans are already in the race, and two more are thinking about entering. The winner will probably face Attorney General Jack Conway (D), the lone Democrat in the field.
Most of the money Haslam raises will carry over to 2016, when New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) takes over the RGA. Martinez, who just won reelection to her second term, won election as the RGA’s vice chair at this year’s meeting.
Many of the big names in the ranks of Republican governors opted not to seek the chairmanship. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) all stayed out after party insiders made clear that an RGA chairman would not be able to both run the organization and run for president at the same time.
Democrats will elect a new head of the Democratic Governors Association at their meeting next month in Los Angeles, where Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s (D) term will end.