The brackets are set (for the time being) for the big contest. The seeding is in place. The committee adjusted the seeding based on chance to win and likelihood to compete—with a couple of whimsical, but interesting, selections thrown it.

The contest is on. Make your bets. The next Governor of California will be: (click to enlarge)

gov bracket

Instant analysis:

All four number one seeds have what it takes to make the finals. In the Newsom led bracket he should breeze, assuming rich environmentalist Tom Steyer doesn’t jump in with an open checkbook to tell his story the way he wants to tell it and bloody his opponents in the process.

The Chiang bracket should also go smoothly unless Anne Gust Brown decided to enter with the backing of Gov. Brown. The governor’s popular right now and if he tells the voters if they want to maintain his approach to government, then AGB is the best choice. That could go a long way. But so should the expected financial backing John Chiang’s candidacy brings to the table.

The Villaraigosa bracket might be the most competitive. Betty Yee is probably a cycle or two early to mount a full campaign but she is building a foundation for a run to the top spot. Meanwhile, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer might be the strongest second seed in the field–should he go all out for the prize.

The Eric Garcetti bracket is wide open. Will he or won’t he run? If Xavier Becerra decided to take a shot, he could be a formidable candidate, but its early for him, and unlikely. Then there is U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Sure, her age works against her running, but she has long been one of the most popular politicians in the Golden State. Whether she would still serve in the minority in Washington after the 2018 election is an open question, but she could come home and be an executive. She wanted to be governor (remember 1990) and the commute to work in Sacramento would be a lot easier.

It’s going to be an interesting contest.