GOP captures governorships in at least 10 states

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By TOM RAUM
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 3, 2010; 2:53 AM

WASHINGTON -- Republicans captured Democratic governorships in at least 10 states on Tuesday, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains.

The same tide sweeping Republicans into office in Congress was leaving its mark on governors' mansions as well, especially in the nation's industrial heartland.

Changing hands in the GOP onslaught: governorships now held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In Ohio, a state viewed by both parties as crucial to the 2012 presidential election, former Rep. John Kasich defeated Gov. Ted Strickland. Republican Susana Martinez won the New Mexico governorship - she is the first Latina chief executive of a state - and will succeed Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

But there were a few bright spots for Democrats. In California, Democrat Jerry Brown coasted past former eBay CEO Meg Whitman to reclaim the post he held three decades ago. He will replace moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Democrats picked up another GOP seat in Hawaii as former U.S. Rep Neil Abercrombie defeated Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona to succeed Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the state where President Barack Obama was born. Lingle was term-limited.

Democrats also held onto governorships in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Colorado.

Further turnovers seemed likely. In seven states - Democratic-held governorships in Illinois, Oregon and Maine and Republican-held ones in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Vermont - the tally early Wednesday was still too close to call.

The gubernatorial races were especially important this year. There are a record number of them on the ballot - more than two-thirds of the states. Governors will play important roles in 2012 presidential politics, especially in swing states, and governors next year will participate in redistricting of congressional and legislative seat to reflect the 2010 census.

New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo surged past tea party Republican Carl Paladino to win the governor's seat, the same post his father, Mario, had held two decades ago. "The people have spoken tonight, and they have been loud and clear," Cuomo said standing alongside his father and mother. "They are angry."

In Massachusetts, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick won a second term, defeating Republican Charles Baker and two other candidates. Patrick and Obama share Chicago roots and Harvard Law degrees, and national Republicans tried hard to topple him.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley withstood a hard-fought challenge from his predecessor, former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich. And New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, both Democrats, were also re-elected.


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© 2010 The Associated Press

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