With every day this unpredictable presidential race careens out of control for Republicans, Democrats predict their chances to grab unexpected victories in the House and Senate — and maybe control of both chambers — get better and better. But when it comes to governors' races, Democrats are playing defense this year. They hold eight of the 12 contested seats this year, and five of their governors are retiring or stepping down, putting at least three Democratic-controlled seats in play for Republicans. That means Republicans have a chance to add to their already cushy majority. Republicans currently dominate the governors' mansions, controlling 31 of the 50. A few vulnerable GOP incumbents aside, if Republicans can win just one of the contested open seats, they will match their post-World War II record of controlling 32 governors' mansions. (Democrats are looking forward to the 2018 map, where Republicans will be defending 12 seats in states Obama won twice.) But some Republicans on this list haven't helped their cases after stepping into national controversy by signing religious freedom or bathroom bills that have stirred up the ire not only of Democrats but also of the business community. Enough chatter; here are the top five governors' races. They're listed in order of least likely to most likely to flip parties in November, with No. 1 being tops. To the line!

5. Indiana (Republican held): Indiana wouldn't have made our list had everything gone according to plan for Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who is running for a second term in a red-leaning state. But Pence saw himself at the center of a national controversy last year when he signed a religious freedom bill that opponents claimed would codify discrimination. Pence eventually signed a revised version banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. But not before his approval ratings plummeted, and the state's largest city, Indianapolis, was estimated to have lost $60 million in economic investment in the aftermath. Republicans say his approval ratings have the potential to slowly climb back up, but Democrats say his job approval ratings are still upside down and getting worse. Either way, they're not where they need to be to take him off this list. A weakened Pence will face a rematch with Democrat and businessman John Gregg, who has described himself as a "gun-totin,’ Bible-quotin,’ Southern Indiana Democrat." Gregg lost to Pence in 2012 by 3.2 percentage points in an election in which Pence failed to get 50 percent of the vote. Republicans plan to go after Gregg hard this year, but Democrats are celebrating just-released fundraising numbers that show Gregg raised nearly $1.9 million the first quarter of 2016 to Pence's $1.5 million — the second cycle in a row he has outraised the incumbent governor. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. New Hampshire (D) OPEN: This is another race that wouldn't have made our list but for the actions of the current governor. Popular Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has decided to leave her seat to challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) in what will be one of the Senate's marquee 2016 races. The race to replace Hassan is a toss-up, but it's turning into Republicans' best chance to secure the governor's mansion in at least a decade. Republicans have won just one governor's race in the past two decades (and that's in a state that has them every two years). They're hopeful to take back the seat with none other than the son of a former governor, Executive Council member Chris Sununu. (He's first got to win a primary against state Rep. Frank Edelblut and two other candidates who have entered the race.) Democrats have their own primary with another Executive Council member, Colin Van Ostern of Concord, who is popular with progressive groups in the state. He'll be facing Mark Connolly, the former New Hampshire deputy secretary of state and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand who recently entered the race. Both primaries are late in the season, so this race has yet to shape up. But like the Senate race, what happens will probably be guided by the winds of the unpredictable presidential race. For now at least, it's a pure toss-up. (Previous ranking: 3) 3. North Carolina (R): Republican Pat McCrory was already on this list as he aims for a second term in a state that tends to get slightly more blue in a presidential year. But he's been moved up a spot after taking tons of heat across the nation for making North Carolina the first state to restrict where transgender people can use restrooms in addition to limiting localities' ability to make their own LGBT anti-discrimination laws. The backlash — especially among big business — appeared to catch McCrory off guard. This week, he tried to reaffirm North Carolina is still open for business in an awkward executive order that didn't change much but only added to the appearance that he was backing down. His Democratic challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper, has pounced on the missteps by accusing McCrory of making policies that are bad for business. Cooper was already a formidable challenger, having outraised McCrory 14 months in a row. Republicans say there's still time for McCrory to recover and improve his image as a jobs governor. But his actions of late have helped put this race in reach for Democrats. (Previous ranking: 4) 2. Missouri (D) OPEN: Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is term-limited, and Democrats are turning to state Attorney General Chris Koster, a former Republican, to keep the mansion in Democratic hands. It's going to be tough, given Missouri's governor's race is a toss-up in a state that, notably, has voted for the Republican candidate for president since 2000. But Koster's chances are getting better with each passing day that Republicans muddle through a primary with four solid candidates, all of them viable: Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former state House speaker Catherine Hanaway, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, and businessman and former Senate candidate John Brunner. Each has their own advantage, whether it be money or résumé. As such, the August Republican primary risks damaging the eventual nominee just two months before the general election. In addition, all of them have to be careful to avoid any political third rails when it comes to controversial legislation to give businesses and individuals the right to refuse service to same-sex couples. (Some of Missouri's biggest businesses are opposed to the law.) If this seat does go red, Republicans have good reason to think it will stay that way for a while. But Missouri voters are famously hard to pin down, and they have a few more months to watch Republicans battle it out. (Previous ranking: 1) 1.West Virginia (D) OPEN: An open seat in a conservative-leaning state? Republicans are chomping at the bit to continue their steady march of painting the state red, much like they have in neighboring Kentucky. Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is term-limited, and Republicans want to elect West Virginia's first GOP governor in 16 years. Their hopes are in state Sen. Bill Cole, who is without a primary challenger. Democrats, meanwhile, have a three-way primary that could get messy, but billionaire Jim Justice is the most likely candidate. He has the support of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D). Justice fits the profile of a West Virginia Democrat — i.e. he could be confused for a Republican in some bluer states — and can conveniently self-fund his campaign. But Republicans say the state's richest man's myriad business deals is an opposition researcher's dream — already stories are popping up about his various entities' tax delinquencies. Democrats are in as good of a position as they can hope to be in, but for now, this race looks the most likely in the nation to flip parties. (Previous ranking: 2)