Why it matters: Governors do a lot. In most states, they put together the state budget, which funds health care, education, services for people with disabilities and many other things you probably care about. They can also veto bills passed by your state legislature. Your state senators and representatives, in turn, approve the budget and make the state laws. A lot of the issues we grill presidential candidates on play out heavily at the state level, including battles over reproductive rights, LGBT rights, police accountability, minimum wage, drugs and guns.
Voters in 12 states will elect governors, while 80 percent of all state legislative seats nationwide are up for grabs this year. Some states will also vote for lieutenant governor, attorney general and other statewide elected offices.
Get up to speed on who's running in your area here. You can check out candidates' public statements, voting and executive action records here.