Incumbent: Democratic Gov. Chet Culver
Republican: Former Gov. Terry Branstad
2008 Presidential Result: Obama 54%; McCain 44%
55+ Population (estimated 2009): 26.6%
Overview: Budgetary issues top the agenda in Iowa, where Chet Culver is in some trouble over his program-slashing budget and high unemployment. There also were floods and tornados that hit the state's budget. Culver, son of former senator and U.S. House member John Culver, was popular and the recipient of much good will because of his dad, and was trailing Terry Branstad mostly because of the economic disasters in the state. When Branstad left office in 1999, the state's unemployment rate was 2.5 percent.
50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.
Fun Fact: Culver was embarrassed during his first term when he was forced to stop payments to a consulting firm that was supposed to help the state cut costs, when an auditor found that the firm cost the state more money than it saved.
'Wild Card' Issue: Absentee ballots. As of September, the Iowa secretary of state reported that Democrats were lagging in the number of absentee ballot requests, as compared to the gubernatorial election four years ago. That's not good news for Culver, but Democrats were still requesting absentee ballots at a higher rate than Republicans.