Republicans see major wins in US governorships (Roundup)
Nov 3, 2010, 11:39 GMT
Washington - Republicans are set to control the majority of US state executive offices after Tuesday's elections, although Democrats did not end the day completely empty-handed.
Veteran politician Jerry Brown captured the California governorship for the Democrats in one of Tuesday's few bright spots for the centre-left party at the state level.
Brown, 72, the scion of a political family in California, became the state's youngest-ever governor when was he was first elected in the 1970s as Ronald Reagan's successor in Sacramento.
A free-spirited politician once derided as 'Governor Moonbeam,' Brown spent the decades since leaving the governor's mansion running for president, serving as mayor of Oakland, California, and, most recently, the state's attorney general. Now, he becomes the state's oldest governor, again succeeding a Hollywood actor, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
With the count nearly complete, Brown was leading with 53 per cent to 42 per cent over Republican nominee Meg Whitman, who conceded defeat. Whitman, former chief of internet auction giant eBay, spent an estimated 140 million dollars of her own money on the race in California's giant media markets.
With 37 of the 50 states electing governors in the mid-term elections, the centre-right Republicans Republicans captured governorships from the Democrats in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In addition to California, the Democrats gained a governorship in Hawaii.
In New York, Andrew Cuomo, who was state attorney general, easily defeated Republican Carl Paladino, a construction tycoon whose intemperate remarks on the campaign trail appeared to have alienated the independent voters he would have needed to win in a Democratic- leaning state.
Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, was a former New York governor and national star of the Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Democrats also held onto governorships in Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
In South Carolina, Republican nominee Nikki Haley was elected governor, becoming the first woman of Asian Indian descent to become a state chief executive in the United States. Republicans already held the South Carolina governorship.
Republicans also held onto governorships in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.
The Republican Party lost control of the governorship in Rhode Island. In a wide-open race without the Republican incumbent, independent candidate Lincoln Chafee captured the Rhode Island governor's mansion. A moderate former Republican US Senator, Chafee endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008 and quit the party to run for governor.
In an apparent nod to Chafee, Obama had declined to endorse a candidate in the Rhode Island race to the ire of Democratic nominee Frank Caprio, who said last week that the president could 'shove' the endorsement. Chafee won Tuesday with 36 per cent, with Republican nominee John Robitaille at 34 per cent and Caprio at 23 per cent.
Several governors' races were yet to be decided, including in the large states of Florida and Illinois. Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont remained too close to call early Wednesday.
Gaining governorships gives the Republicans greater influence in the pre-2012 redistricting process, which in most states is controlled by state legislatures. The 2010 census results will be used next year at the state level in redrawing congressional and state legislative districts.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Republicans were headed for historic control of state legislatures, and might reach or exceed a 60-year high in the party's nationwide total of statehouse seats.
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