Should Kasich look more seriously at a bid for president, being a swing-state governor who was reelected by double digits and who helped improve the state's economy is a great talking point on the campaign trail. The higher that margin is, the better it is for Kasich.
8. Florida Governor
Florida is a perennial swing state, and who's in charge there plays a big role in presidential election years. This year's matchup, an expensive, nasty brawl between GOP Gov. Rick Scott and Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, will determine who sits in the Governor's Mansion during the 2016 election.
If Crist wins, he can help build up the state Democratic Party ahead of the presidential year—a big boon to the eventual Democratic nominee. Thinking even further down the line, a Democratic governor could help negate the advantage a Florida presidential candidate, like Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, would have in a 2016 general election.
9. Nevada Lieutenant Governor
Nevada's race for lieutenant governor, between Democrat Lucy Flores and Republican Mark Hutchison, has been described as a proxy war between GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: If Hutchison wins, it could clear the way for Sandoval to challenge Reid in 2016. If Sandoval has a Republican lieutenant governor who could take over for him if he runs for the Senate, he'd be much more likely to seek out that race than if he'd be handing the Governor's Mansion to a Democrat.
Reid knows that, which is part of the reason he's putting his formidable political machine to work for Flores. Unlike in 2010, when Reid faced a weak opponent in Sharron Angle, a Reid-Sandoval matchup would be the race to watch in 2016.
Flores has a compelling biography, as a Latina who overcame personal difficulties (she was once in a gang) to become a top elected official. For a Democratic Party struggling to recruit Hispanic leaders, she's exactly the kind of politician that could rise quickly.
10. Kentucky State Legislature
It's not often a handful of state legislative races have huge national significance, but the race for the Kentucky state House is one of them. Under the state's current law, Sen. Rand Paul, an all-but-certain 2016 presidential candidate, must choose whether to run for president or run for reelection to the Senate. The GOP-led state Senate has passed a bill that would allow him to run for both, but the Democratic-led House is holding out—meaning that the only way for Paul to run for both offices is for the House to flip to Republican control.
Paul is determined to secure both spots on the ballot, and he has been working to support GOP state House candidates in competitive districts: Democrats currently control 54 of the 100 seats so the margin isn't huge. Plus, the budget for state legislative races in Kentucky is small enough that Paul, by fundraising for a candidate or donating from his PAC, can have a real impact.