The first months of a governor’s administration are much like the launching pad for a rocket ship: it sets the trajectory for the rest of the journey.

If a spacecraft starts off in the wrong direction— even marginally—it’s unlikely to reach its planned destination. Similarly, if the early months of a new administration aren’t thoughtfully administered, and according to well-established principles, the new administration is unlikely to reach the results it desires.

Out of the 36 gubernatorial elections last November, 26 resulted in the return of an incumbent while only one, Nevada’s Steve Sisolak, lost. That left nine new governors taking office. Next comes the hard work for these governors and their teams of delivering results for citizens. Yet, gubernatorial teams have a short span of time in preparing to take the reins in their state capitals.

In this special report, Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene adapt the analysis and findings from our presidential transition series to the context of a state government. The authors use this information to develop recommendations for the new gubernatorial regimes that have taken power following the 2022 election.