Democrats Gain One Governorship

Democrats made a net gain of just one governorship yesterday, with Jay Nixon's victory in Missouri. But they had surprisingly easy wins in two ...
by | November 4, 2008

Democrats made a net gain of just one governorship yesterday, with Jay Nixon's victory in Missouri. But they had surprisingly easy wins in two other competitive races.

Democrats now hold 29 governorships nationwide, compared to 21 Republicans. That represents their highwater mark since the Republican sweep year of 1994.

It was the year's only change in party control. In North Carolina, Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue will step into the state's top job, succeeding fellow Democrat Mike Easley. She beat Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, 50-47 percent. Perdue ran just a couple of thousand votes ahead of Barack Obama in the state.

She also ran just ahead of McCrory in Mecklenburg County. McCrory becomes the fifth straight Charlotte mayor to fall short in his bid for statewide office -- another victim of the so-called Charlotte curse.

In Washington State, Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire beat former state Sen. Dino Rossi in a rematch. Gregoire won their 2004 contest by just 133 votes, but is heading to a healthy if not overwhelming win.

Nixon, Missouri's attorney general, never trailed in his race against Congressman Kenny Hulshof. The unpopularity of outgoing Republican Matt Blunt, along with wounds from a contentious GOP primary, left Hulshof without a chance.

Vermont GOP Governor James Douglas won a clear majority against two opponents, Democratic state House Speaker Gaye Symington and independent Anthony Pollina. Douglas took about 55 percent of the vote, while his rivals each took about 21 percent.

Indiana Republican Mitch Daniels won a comfortable victory over Democratic former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson, 58 to 40 percent.

Democrat Jack Markell easily held the Delaware governorship, where Ruth Ann Minner is term-limited.

As expected, the other incumbent governors coasted to big wins, including Republicans Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah and John Hoeven of North Dakota, as well as Democrats Brian Schweitzer of Montana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and John Lynch of New Hampshire.

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