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Spate of Close Gubernatorial Races Across US

  • VOA News

Voters fill in their ballots as they vote in the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, Nov. 4, 2014.

Voters fill in their ballots as they vote in the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, Nov. 4, 2014.

Aside from midterm Congressional elections, there are 36 gubernatorial races under way in the United States, with many of them viewed as highly competitive.

In Alaska, what began as a three-way race for governor became a two-way race between Republican incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell and Bill Walker, an independent, when the Democrat dropped out in early September to join the Walker campaign.

In Arkansas, Republican Asa Hutchinson won the governor's race over Democrat Mike Ross.

In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a popular governor, was in a tough battle for re-election. He faces Republican challenger Bob Beauprez.

In Connecticut, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican Thomas Foley are in rematch of their 2010 race, which Malloy won by fewer than 6,500 votes. A troubled economy in Connecticut has put the typically Democratic state in play for the Republicans, according to political analysts.

In Florida, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott has edged out Democrat Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor-turned-Democrat, in one of the most closely watched contests and the most expensive races for governor this year. The Crist campaign requested that voting be extended by two hours in Broward County due to voting difficulties, but the request was denied.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal defeated Democratic challenger Jason Carter, the grandson of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, to win re-election. Deal's victory in Georgia appears wide enough to prevent a run-off election. The young Democrat campaigned actively with his famous grandfather.

In Illinois, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn faced a tough challenge from wealthy GOP businessman and first-time candidate Bruce Rauner. If Rauner wins, the victory would help complete a near-sweep of the Midwest by the GOP. Republicans saw Tuesday as a chance to reclaim the governor's office for the first time in more than a decade.

In Kansas, a state government revenue shortfall, due partially to controversial income tax cuts, and a split between conservative and moderate Republicans, have enabled Democrat Paul Davis to mount a serious challenge to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

In Maine, state officials worked to ensure that everyone could cast votes Tuesday, as thousands of residents remained without electricity from a storm last week, while voters were deciding whether to give Republican Gov. Paul LePage another four years in the governor’s mansion. The Republican governor is hoping to fend off a challenge from six-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

In Massachusetts, Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker vied to replace Gov. Deval Patrick. Baker is seeking to become the first Republican governor since Mitt Romney left office in 2007. Coakley, the state's attorney general, was seeking to become Massachusetts' first female governor.

In Michigan, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder remained in a tight race with Democratic challenger Mark Schauer.

In New Hampshire, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan won re-election against Republican Walt Havenstein. Hassan has only been governor since 2013.

In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich cruised to a second term early in the evening, in what is a key battleground state for his political party. Kasich's name has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf defeated Republican Tom Corbett, the incumbent, in the race for governor.

In Texas, Republican Greg Abbott defeated Democratic state lawmaker Wendy Davis in the race for Texas governor. Davis became nationally known literally overnight for her more than 12-hour filibuster in pink sneakers to temporarily stall new abortion restrictions. But she was unable to compete with her popular and well-funded Republican opponent.

In Wisconsin, Republican Scott Walker has survived a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke in Wisconsin. Walker remained locked in a tough re-election bid until late Tuesday night, but finally pulled through. After a divisive recall attempt in 2012 over his moves to limit collective bargaining for most public workers, polls showed the race against Democrat Mary Burke to be dead even. A victory offered Walker the chance to elevate himself to the top tier of potential 2016 presidential candidates.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.