A recent article in the Journal-World starts out saying that Republicans haven't lost an open Kansas governor's race in 66 years. That's confusing because we've had Democratic governors since then. What exactly was meant by that statement?
The Associated Press article meant that a Democrat has not won a governor's race in 66 years when there wasn't an incumbent Republican seeking re-election. Because Gov. Bill Graves is not seeking re-election, the seat is "open."
The implication is that in Kansas, a heavily Republican state, it is nearly impossible for a Democrat to win an "open" seat. The further implication is that Democrats have won election as governor when they have defeated unpopular Republican incumbents.