Gov. John G. Rowland (R) won reelection with 56 percent of the vote in his race against Bill Curry, a former Clinton White House domestic policy aide. Rowland will enter his third four-year term in the national spotlight as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a perch from which he has doled out money and stumped for fellow candidates.
At home, Rowland has focused on urban redevelopment with plans for a hotel and convention center in Hartford, although he failed to secure a new stadium for the New England Patriots. Rowland is known as a political consensus builder and has presided for most of his administration over a budget surplus. Like many governors, he raised taxes for the first time last year.
A redrawn district in the southwest part of the state pitted Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R) against Rep. James H. Maloney (D). Johnson, a moderate with 20 years of experience to Maloney's six, won with 54 percent of the vote. She is known in the House as an expert on health issues who has sponsored bills to protect children's health and to combat online sex predators. She has a seat on the Ways and Means Committee and is chairwoman of its Health subcommittee.
Rep. John E. Baldacci (D) captured the open governor's seat with 48 percent of the vote, defeating former state representative Peter Cianchette (R) despite a fair showing by Green Party candidate Jonathan Carter. In his four years in the House, Baldacci had a liberal voting record on social issues such as health care and welfare. His campaign focused on helping small business owners and promoting growth in eastern and northern Maine.
Sen. Susan Collins (R) won reelection against former state Senate majority leader Chellie Pingree (D) with 58 percent of the vote in the most heavily financed race in Maine history. The moderate Collins has a reputation for independence that gained her some Democratic endorsements, though she has supported many of President Bush's priorities, from tax cuts to war with Iraq. She comes from a prominent political family in Maine and often harks back to her Maine values; her Web site photo shows her kayaking on a local lake.
Baldacci's open House seat was won by state Senate President Michael Michaud (D). Michaud, who got 52 percent of the vote, is an abortion opponent known for mastering the minutiae of state government and for being a skilled negotiator. He ran as an environmentalist, saying he first entered politics because of his desire to clean up the Penobscot River. He defeated Kevin Raye (R), longtime chief of staff to Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R) and an abortion rights supporter.
Business executive Mitt Romney (R), with 50 percent of the vote, beat state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien (D), with 45 percent. Romney returned to Massachusetts after burnishing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics' tarnished image and promised to do the same for the state -- to "clean out the mess at Beacon Hill."
Romney ran as a fiscal conservative, promising to avoid a tax hike, but a social progressive, supporting abortion and gay rights. His conservatism became an issue because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, and donated $1 million to Brigham Young University in Utah. Although he is the son of former Michigan governor and presidential candidate George Romney, he ran as an everyman, staging "work days" in which he hauled garbage, drove a tractor and cleaned fish.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D) ran with only Libertarian opposition and won 81 percent of the vote.
After six years out of power, Republicans recaptured the governorship with the election of Cabletron founder Craig Benson (R), who won 59 percent of the vote to beat former state senator Mark Fernald (D). Benson touted his experience in building a $1.6 billion company from scratch; he also pumped at least $10 million of his own money into the campaign. On the stump Benson stuck to a traditional Republican anti-tax message.
Rep. John E. Sununu (R) won one of the tighter Senate races in the country with 51 percent of the vote, topping Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), who had 47 percent. Sununu, son of former governor and White House chief of staff John H. Sununu, ran on his conservative credentials and loyalty to the Republican Party.
Shaheen was the first woman elected as New Hampshire governor. She made strides on health and education issues, but they were overshadowed by a struggle over a 1997 court mandate to find a fairer way to pay for schools.
Sununu worked for several high-tech firms before being elected to the House in 1996. As one of the few elected Arab Americans, he has served as an informal adviser to the White House on the Middle East peace process.
Incumbent Gov. George E. Pataki (R) handily beat State Comptroller Carl McCall (D), who was seeking to become New York's first African American governor. McCall had attacked Pataki for his failure to improve school test scores, but his poorly financed campaign lost by a 16-point margin, with 33 percent of the vote to Pataki's 49 percent.
When he first won in 1994, Pataki had promised to bow out after two terms. But after Sept. 11, 2001, he said he wanted to stay on to help the state. Recession and terrorism wiped out the budget surplus created in his first two terms, but his approval ratings soared anyway as he made joint appearances with former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Retired business executive Don Carcieri (R) was elected governor with 55 percent of the vote after a campaign misstep by former state senator Myrth York (D), who was making her third run for the statehouse. York attacked Carcieri's company for despoiling the Brazilian rainforest and causing deaths, but his popularity grew with the backlash.
Carcieri ran as an outsider, calling himself an "agent of change" and tapping into disillusionment with the Democratic grip over the state's political establishment He is a former banker and CEO of Cookson America, a subsidiary of London-based Cookson group. He put $1 million into his own campaign. On the stump, he promised to trim the fat from state spending.
Sen. Jack Reed (D) won reelection to a second term in a 78 to 22 percent landslide over Bob Tingle (R), who lost a bid for a House seat two years ago. Reed has seats on the appropriations and armed services committees, and has secured millions of dollars in federal projects for the state. He supports abortion rights and is a strong advocate of gun control measures. He also supports the death penalty for terrorists and drug kingpins.
State Treasurer Jim Douglas (R) claimed victory after Lt. Gov. Douglas Racine (D) conceded the close race for governor yesterday. He will succeed 11-year Gov. Howard Dean (D).
Douglas won 45 percent of the vote. Since he didn't hit 50 percent, Vermont's constitution would have required the state legislature to choose the governor if Racine had not decided to concede the outcome.
Democrats strengthened their hold of the state Senate but control of the House was unclear; Republicans had controlled the chamber going into the elections.