GOP, Democrats splitting governor's races in key states

Lester Mason
November 10, 2018

Opinion polls show tight races in closely watched Georgia and Florida.

But in Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers pulled off a narrow win in unseating Republican incumbent Scott Walker, according to data provider DDHQ. Walker was a top target of Democrats and a polarizing figure in his state, sweeping into office during the tea party wave of 2010 and gaining national attention by leading a rollback of union rights that led to protests inside the state Capitol. The two-term governor, who also survived a Democratic-driven recall election in 2012 after ending collective bargaining for public workers, briefly ran for president in 2016.

"I still plan to be on the front lines alongside every one of you when it comes to standing up and fighting for what we believe in", Gillum, the 39-year-old mayor of Tallahassee, told supporters at his election night party, where small groups of people embraced, tears streaming down their faces.

"Laura is the only choice to lead Kansas and end the Brownback-Kobach experiment for good", Sebelius said before the vote, tying Kobach to former Gov. Sam Brownback, whose administration dug the state into a deep financial hole before he left the post to become the USA ambassador at large for worldwide religious freedom. The billionaire appears to have capitalized not only on Rauner's lack of popularity but broader dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump.

"The eyebrow-raiser will be if Democrats pick up a South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma - these sort of very, very red (Republican) states", Duffy said, noting local dynamics, rather than national politics, were mostly responsible for Republican weaknesses.

New Mexico also tipped into the Democratic column, as did ME, where Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills won the race to succeed combative Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who was term-limited after eight years in office.

While Rauner lost his bid for another term, voters opted to return other incumbent governors, including Democrats Andrew Cuomo in NY and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, and Republican Charlie Baker in MA.

Elsewhere, Republicans were celebrating the re-election of Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland, a Democratic state that nevertheless returned the popular moderate for a second term.

While much of focus of the elections on Tuesday was on which party would win control of the U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats were battling across the country for state-level power, which could have a major impact on issues such as congressional redistricting and healthcare. A redistricting ballot measure also was on the ballot in Utah.

Going into Tuesday, Republicans controlled 33 governors' mansions and two-thirds of state legislative chambers. That includes 25 states where they hold a trifecta of power, compared with just eight for Democrats. Some of Democrats' best chances at new trifectas were in IL and New Mexico, where they already control both legislative chambers and were attempting to flip the governor's office. All told, Democrats had flipped at least seven Republican-held governorships without suffering any losses as of early Wednesday morning. Republicans were largely on defense but also were angling for gains in a few traditionally Democratic states, such CT.

Governors and hundreds of legislators elected this year will be in office when congressional districts are redrawn after the 2020 Census.

Democrats were hoping enthusiasm among their voters also could flip governor's seats in Iowa and Kansas, as well as in the traditional battleground states of Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

She also had the support of former Republican Gov. Bill Graves, who joined her and former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on the trail during the final days of the campaign.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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