The Trend Continues: Republican Governors Take Over

As was the case with the House and the Senate, the Democrats were the dominate party for governors across the country. But the trend shifted on Tuesday night as state voters moved to the right, electing a majority of Republican governors. If the Democrats are looking for a positive spin, they can point to their wins in the country’s two biggest states, California and New York. But that is the only way to make positive what was a terrible night for the party.

Looking at just a few states, California is obviously a state of national importance. The top job was up for grabs after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reached his term limits. Voters had to decide between former ebay CEO Meg Whitman and former Governor Jerry Brown. The race was very tight and Republican Whitman spent an unprecedented amount of her own money on the campaign. Whitman suffered under an image of an elite executive who was out of touch with regular Californians. She also had to answer questions about immigration and the status of her own housekeeper. Democrat Brown conversely struggled with his extensive political baggage from many years in office. Ultimately, Whitman was unable to derail Brown’s campaign. Jerry Brown will be headed back to the Governor’s mansion in Sacramento.

Meg Whitman, left Jerry Brown, right

Florida is another important state, and similarly to California had an open top job. Governor Charlie Crist vacated the position and ended up running for state Senate (which he lost to his Republican competitor). Fighting for the job were Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink. This was also a close race, closer than California in retrospect. The state was almost evenly divided behind Scott and Sink. The count went into Wednesday morning, but Sink conceded just after lunch on Wednesday. She stated there was no way she could catch Scott, and asked him to make sure he attempted to soften the divide amongst Floridians. She also stated that money was her ultimate downfall, as Scott outspent her quite a bit.

In New York, Democrat Andrew Cuomo easily beat Republican Carl Paladino. Paladino is another supposed Tea Party Republican and it was no surprise when Cuomo won. Paladino had lost his cool on the campaign trail and made some crazy accusations along the way. Cuomo cruised to the win in that state.

Carl Paladino, left Andrew Cuomo, right

The number of states welcoming new governors is extensive and include New Mexico (Susana Martinez), Iowa (Terry Branstad), Ohio (John Kasich), Oklahoma (Mary Fallin), Kansas (Sam Brownback), Michigan (Rick Snyder), South Carolina (Nikki Haley), Colorado (John Hinckenlooper), Hawaii (Neil Abercrombie) and many more. All except Hinckenlooper and Abercrombie are Republicans.

As well some states reelected their governors Texas (Rick Perry), Maryland (Martin O’Malley), Alaska (Sean Parnell), New Jersey (John Lynch), Idaho (Butch Otter), Arizona (Jan Brewer) and a few more as well. In this case all except O’Malley and Lynch are Republicans.

An interesting outcome in Rhode Island occured where an independent candidate won. Lincoln Chafee was not formally associated with either party formally. The Democratic candidate essentially shot himself in the foot when he made comments against President Obama. It was a close outcome, but Chafee beat Republican John Robitaille by a few percentage points.

And just in case anyone is keeping track of the female governors elected, as discussed in a previous post on TOP, there were 6 governors before the vote and there are 6 governors after. So while there was no improvement in female representation (in this case) there was no loss, so nobody can complain about that.

There are two outstanding races to be called. The votes in Minnesota and Oregon are too close to call at this point. Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton is currently leading Republican Tom Emmer by approximately 9.000 votes. In Oregon Democrat John Kitzhaber is leading Republican Chris Dudley.

While the races for governor are less indicative of the overall sentiment of the country, it can be used as representative of the overall feeling. There are individual factors in each state which lead to one candidate’s success over another, but there is no doubt that Democratic candidates faced a tougher time. While no Republican candidates lost their bid for reelection, a few Democrats did and many states moved from Democratic to Republican. This simply illustrates the overall trend of the evening, which if you haven’t figured out by this point, there may be no hope!


About Chris James

A student of political science at a Canadian University sharing stories of interest on Canadian and American political and social issues.

Posted on November 5, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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