1:06 AM Eastern: Austin Chambers, the president of the Republican State Leadership Commmittee, tweets, "Looking like Republicans will FLIP the NEW HAMPSHIRE Senate tonight from Democrat to GOP! Huge PICK-UP for @RSLC."
1:00 AM Eastern: Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte has captured the Montana governorship for the GOP. He beat Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, ending the Democrats' 16-year hold on the office. (Gov. Steve Bullock was term-limited.)
Gianforte touted his record as a job creator in the technology sector and promised to take a deregulatory approach. Cooney sought to portray Gianforte as an outsider, but Gianforte has now appeared on statewide ballots four times in four years. After losing to Bullock in the last gubernatorial election, Gianforte won his House seat in a special election and then reelection in 2018.
Montana represents the one change in party control among the 11 races for governor. Republicans now hold 27 governorships to 23 for the Democrats.
11:55 Eastern: Catching up on some ballot measures:
A measure to create a graduated income tax is losing in Illinois. Gov. JB. Pritzker had spent millions from his own fortune to promote it.
Louisiana voters have approved a measure adding language to the state constitution making clear that abortion is not a right. In Colorado, though, voters are rejecting a measure that would ban abortions at 22 weeks of gestation.
Colorado voters appear content to join the National Popular Vote Compact, which would devote the state’s electoral votes to the national presidential vote winner if approved by 270 electoral votes worth of states. The legislature had passed a bill to join the compact last year but voters could have overturned it through this referendum.
Massachusetts voters appear to be rejecting a measure that would move the state to ranked choice voting.
11:33 Eastern: Arizona voters join those in New Jersey in legalizing recreational marijuana.
11:01 Eastern: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has won a third term in Washington. Inslee ran an unsuccessful primary race for president last year but came home in plenty of time to win reelection without trouble.
10:53 Eastern: Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson has won reelection. Parson assumed the office after former Gov. Eric Greitens stepped down in 2018 amid scandal.
Parson defeated state Auditor Nicole Galloway, who made health care and the pandemic the central focus of her race. Parson had retained a single-digit lead throughout the campaign. In a presidential year, the now-solidly red state came in strong for the GOP.
10:37 Eastern: Florida voters have approved a statewide $15 minimum wage. Wages will rise to $10 next year and go up in steps before reaching $15 in 2026.
10:27 Eastern: Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has been elected governor, holding the seat for the GOP. He succeeds Gary Herbert, the nation's longest-serving current governor, who is retiring.
The outcome was never in doubt. Cox and his Democratic opponent Chris Peterson drew attention recently by cutting a joint ad in praise of civility.
10:23 Eastern: Democrats have taken one of the two seats they needed to flip control of the Minnesota Senate.
10:12 Eastern: North Carolina Democrat Roy Cooper continues the winning streak for incumbent governors.
When the year began, both parties expected his race against Republican Lt. Gov Dan Forest to be the most expensive and competitive race for governor in the country. Cooper won four years ago by 0.2 percent.
But Forest was unable to gain a foothold with the pandemic freezing the race and giving Cooper's numbers a lift.
10:02 Eastern: New Jersey voters have approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Similar questions are on the ballot in Arizona, Montana and South Dakota.
9:58 Eastern: St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is on his way to reelection. Page assumed office last year after Steve Stenger was convicted in a corruption case. This has been a Democratic seat for 30 years.
9:55 Eastern: Looking like North Carolina Democrats falling well short of the six seat gain they need to flip the state House.
9:41 Eastern: An approval voting measure is passing easily in St. Louis.
Under approval voting, citizens can vote for as many candidates as they'd like. Unlike the multiple choice method known as ranked choice voting, each vote would count the same. In St. Louis, the top-two finishers under this method in local primaries will proceed to the general election.
Fargo, N.D., passed an approval voting measure two years ago, the first in the country.
9:37 Eastern: A measure that would have moved Florida to a top two primary system is losing. It has 57 percent support, but needs 60 percent to win.
Under top two systems, as in California, the top two finishers move on to the general election, regardless of party.
9:34 Eastern: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is heading to reelection, despite winning just 33 percent against a big field.
9:29 Eastern: A redistricting measure is passing in Virginia. The ballot question shifts redistricting responsibilities for both Congress and legislative seats to a commission composed of legislators and citizens.
9:24 Eastern: In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has about 54 percent of the vote, running well ahead of Biden and Senate nominee Cal Cunningham. Election Day results (as opposed to early voting/absentee) have been running strongly in GOP's favor.
9:09 Eastern: Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota has won a second term. His reelection against Democrat Shelly Lenz, a veternarian and political newcomer, was never in doubt.
To recap results below, Republicans Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Phil Scott of Vermont, Jim Justice of West Virginia and Eric Holcomb of Indiana have all won reelection, as has Democrat John Carney of Delaware.
8:54 Eastern: Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has lost his reelection bid, losing to Republican Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung.
Mattiello has often conflicted with more progressive members of his caucus. Progressives ousted four incumbents in the September primary, including House Majority Leader John DeSimone.
It's been a tough year for chamber leaders. The state Senate presidents of West Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska all lost in primaries.
Fenton-Fung is a physical therapist longtime GOP activist and is married to Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a two-time gubernatorial nominee.
8:51 Eastern: Not a surprise but the early maps are showing a near-total split between urban and rural counties. Trump lost 87 of the nation's 100 largest counties in 2016, might lose even more tonight.
8:42 Eastern: Republican Phil Scott easily won reelection in Vermont. Despite the state’s blue leanings, Scott has among the highest approval ratings of any governor, holding the line on taxes but working with Democrats on issues such as gun control.
Scott has managed to separate himself from President Trump and the national GOP brand. He told reporters today that he had voted for Joe Biden.
Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman was the nominee for both the Vermont Progressive and Democratic parties. He pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy and address climate change.
8:37 Eastern: Democrat Sarah McBride has won election to the Delaware Senate. She is the first openly transgender individual in the country ever elected to a state Senate.
"Sarah's overwhelming victory is a powerful testament to the growing influence of transgender leaders in our politics and gives hope to countless trans people looking toward a brighter future," Annise Parker, president of the LGTBQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. "Her victory will inspire more trans people to follow in her footsteps and run for public office."
I profiled McBride in this article spotlighting this year's record number of LGBTQ candidates.
8:31 Eastern: If you're hearing commentary about Hispanics in Florida and other states coming in stronger for President Trump than four years ago, you might be interested in my piece looking at why many Latino voters like him.
8:18 Eastern: Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, used to be the closest big county in the country. In 2012, Barack Obama carried it by just 971 votes, but by 2016, Hillary Clinton carried it by 12 percentage points.
This year, Democrats are poised once again to sweep the countywide offices. District Attorney Kim Ogg and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez are both heading for reelection.
8:11 Eastern: Two years ago, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire was elected with 53 percent of the vote and looked like he might be more vulnerable during a presidential election year, with Democrat Joe Biden favored to carry his state.
Instead, Sununu won in a walk against Democrat Dan Feltes, a relatively little-known state senator who had to survive a late primary.
Sununu’s job approval rating at the start of the year was already high, notes Andrew Smith, a pollster at the University of New Hampshire, but it only increased thanks to his handling of the pandemic.
8:07 Eastern: Democrats get their first gubernatorial win of the night, with John Carney elected to a second term.
Carney defeated attorney Julianne Murray, who sought to make the race a referendum on his strict handling of the pandemic. She never had a chance in the overwhelmingly blue state, with particularly with favorite son Joe Biden on the national ticket.
7:50 Eastern: This night will see a lot of demographic "firsts." In Vermont, Taylor Small has become the first openly transgender individual elected to the state House (and one of the few in the country, although there will be more tonight).
7:43 PM Eastern: Jim Justice has been reelected governor of West Virginia.
Justice was elected as a Democrat but switched to the GOP in 2017, during an appearance with President Trump.
West Virginia has become one of the nation's reddest states. Democrats had hoped Sen. Jim Manchin, a former governor, might run for his old job against Justice, but he took a pass. Justice defeated Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango.
7:01 PM Eastern: All nine governors running for reelection are favored to win. Thanks to Indiana’s early closing time, Republican Eric Holcomb is the first to do so.
Holcomb ran four years ago as a late replacement for Mike Pence, who of course became Donald Trump’s running mate. Holcomb has generally enjoyed high approval ratings thanks to his prudent management of the state, although he received a scare from one poll in September when Donald Rainwater, the Libertarian candidate, received 24 percent due to dissatisfaction from voters who disliked Holcomb’s coronavirus restrictions.
That turned out to be a blip, although Rainwater was receiving double-digit support in early returns. Democrats suffered recruiting failures, with two candidates coming forward only to drop out. In the end, Holcomb easily beat both Rainwater and Democrat Woody Myers.
Like other governors, Holcomb benefited from being an incumbent in a year when “the campaign was effectively frozen in place for most of the year,” says Robert Dion, a political scientist at the University of Evansville.
“Woody Myers had a compelling story to tell,” Dion says. “He was a nationally recognized public health expert running in the middle of a pandemic, and he was the only black candidate running for governor this year at a time when the country was facing a time of racial reckoning. But he was never really able to raise enough money or generate enough interest to make a real race of it.”