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Republicans Sweep Key Governor Races

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner of Illinois celebrates his win over Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, in Chicago, Nov. 4, 2014.

The Republican Party swept governors' races across the United States on Tuesday, including hard-fought contests in the key states of Florida and Wisconsin.

Republican candidates also were victorious in at least three states that traditionally lean towards the Democratic Party: Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

The victories add to an already solid election night for Republicans, who also took control of the Senate and strengthened their hold on the House of Representatives.

In the battleground state of Florida, incumbent Gov. Rick Scott edged out Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, in what was among the most expensive, and many say the most divisive, race in the country.

In Wisconsin, Republican Scott Walker survived a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke. Walker is extremely popular among many conservative Tea Party voters and is viewed as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

In President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois, Republicans claimed the governor's office for the first time in a decade, with wealthy businessman and first-time candidate Bruce Rauner defeating Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

Republicans also won the governor's race in Maryland for the first time since 2002, as Republican challenger Larry Hogan defeated Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

In Massachusetts, health care executive Charlie Baker, a Republican, won an extremely tight race against the state's Democratic attorney general, Martha Coakley, who was trying to becoming the state's first female governor.

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

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 Arkansas, Republican Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman and official in President George W. Bush's administration, won the governor's race over Democrat Mike Ross.

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 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.

One bright spot for the Democrats was in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Tom Wolf defeated Republican incumbent Tom Corbett.