Battles for a state's highest office are heating up across the country.
From New Mexico, where female candidates are poised to make history, to Rhode Island, where a former Republican senator is hoping to turn the tide towards independents, governor's races are attracting national attention as elections approach.
ABC News takes a close look at key governor's races around the country.
Women are poised to make history in Oklahoma, where the state will elect its first female governor. And in the final stretch of the campaign, the experience of motherhood has emerged as a contentious debating point.
Can Nikki Haley, who burst onto the national political stage four months ago as one of Sarah Palin's "mama grizzlies," make history as South Carolina's first woman and Indian-American governor?
In what could be one of their biggest upset defeats this election cycle, Democrats are fearful of losing the seat they have occupied for half a century.
In an election year dominated by polarized politics, candidates staking out the middle ground haven't gained much momentum with voters. But in Minnesota, an independent candidate for governor is bucking the trend.
Weeks before voters head to the polls, Catholic bishops in Minnesota have raised an issue that has largely taken a backseat to the economy and jobs this election season, renewing calls for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Even as Tea Party fervor spreads across the country, one former Republican senator, Lincoln Chafee, is looking to revitalize centrism and make history in his home state of Rhode Island by becoming the first independent governor in the state's history.
Democrats are eyeing the opportunity to recapture the Texas governor's seat for the first time in 15 years, in a race that could have an impact on national elections for decades to come as the state prepares to draw up new congressional district lines.
California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman faces allegations that she knowingly employed an undocumented immigrant housekeeper, failed to pay a portion of her wages and then fired her in an act of political damage control.
New Mexico Governor's Race Tests Depth of Voters' Anti-Incumbent Mood -- Sept. 28, 2010
The New Mexico race is only the third time in U.S. history two women have gone head-to-head for a state's top job. Democrat Lt. Gov. Diane Denish or Republican district attorney Susana Martinez are in a tight race to become the state's first female governor.
ABC News' Past Coverage of Gubernatorial Races:
Meg Whitman Smashes Record for Self-Financed Campaign in California -- Sept. 16, 2010
Nikki Haley Clinches South Carolina GOP Gubernatorial Nomination -- June 22, 2010
Jerry Brown Says He's Uncowed by Billionaire Contender -- June 9, 2010