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Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
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Top 2018 Governor’s Races: Big War Chests, Wild Cards, Warring Dems

california candidates for governor 2018

Democrats are not going to be able to make up in the 2018 midterm elections all the ground lost at the state level during the years Barack Obama was in the White House. But Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics forecast this past November that they could make up some ground at the gubernatorial level.

He sees several state races for governor as too close to call including Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

Besides the competitive nature of those three races, they should also be entertaining. And there is one more gubernatorial contest to consider: California, where the only question is which kind of Democrat is going to win.

Michigan: ‘Knight on a White Horse’?

As in all things politic this coming year, money is a critical factor in the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial election. Those who want to be the state’s next governor are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars.

The Detroit Free Press reported Michigan’s elections next November could be the most expensive in history. Four candidates who have declared their desire to be the next governor had a combined $10.4 million available a year before the 2018 election.

Another candidate has another $1.2 million in the bank.

But who cares about the money when there is another factor that could actually trump cash — a sexual abuse scandal that could play into the race between former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, and the leading Republican candidate, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Schuette wants to find out who knew — and when they knew it —about former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several members of the USA women’s gymnastics team.

Nassar, while awaiting sentencing on the sexual assault charges, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges.

Here’s why this could become a significant issue in the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial election: While Nassar was working at MSU and for the USA Gymnastics team, Whitmer served for six months as the county prosecutor in Ingham County, Mich., the home of Michigan State University.

Although she approved search warrants related to the Nassar investigation, Whitmer did not investigate MSU because police were busy trying to arrest Nassar.

“Republicans are already whispering that she (Whitmer) took no action, and that Schuette has now ridden in like a knight on a white horse to get the truth out,” said Michigan Public Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry. “You can look for this mess to be further politicized as time goes by.”

Illinois: Massive War Chests

While Michigan’s gubernatorial election could be the most expensive in the state’s history; Illinois voters can expect the race for governor to be one of the costliest political contests America has ever seen.