This year’s elections had been seen as an opportunity for Democrats to chip away at near-historic levels of Republican control at the state level. (Republicans currently lead 33 of 50 states.) Of 36 gubernatorial seats up for reelection this year, only nine were held by Democrats. Republicans were defending 26, and Alaska has an independent governor.
The stakes were especially high this year in states where governors have veto power over congressional maps, which will be redrawn after the 2020 Census.