Democrats see chances for gains in governor races

      By KEN THOMAS and STEVE PEOPLESAssociated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats face a tough map in the Senate and House in the 2014 elections but see opportunities to pick up seats in three dozen governors' races this year.

      As a bonus, they hope to score an early knockout against a potential 2016 presidential contender.

      Republicans hold 29 of the nation's 50 governors' mansions but will have a large map to defend this year. Six of the competitive races are in states that President Barack Obama carried twice.

      Part of the Democratic strategy aims to undercut GOP governors looking at national office.

      Democrats have sought to tarnish New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was re-elected last year and dealing with a home-state scandal. Other Republicans facing scrutiny from Democrats include Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.