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Election 2012: Governorships see little change
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters on Tuesday selected governors in 11 states with Republicans adding one seat. The races were a prelude to 2014, when more than two-thirds of governorships will be on ballots.

The governors will have a far-reaching affect on government, including transportation funding for the foreseeable future.

Before Election Day, Republicans held a 29-20 edge among governors nationally. The Rhode Island governor is an Independent. The GOP gained the majority of seats in 2010 after four years in the minority.

Republicans this week increased their lead in gubernatorial seats ,claiming a 30-19 margin with North Carolina voters electing Pat McCrory over the Democratic nominee and current Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton.

Of the 11 states voting for governor, five races were open seats from both parties, thanks to terms limits and incumbents choosing not to run for re-election.

Sitting Democratic governors in Delaware, Missouri, Vermont and West Virginia retained their offices. Incumbent Republican governors in North Dakota and Utah were also victorious.

With the exception of North Carolina, new governors elected in Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire and Washington held their party’s gubernatorial seat.

McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, is the first Republican governor in the Tar Heel State in 24 years. He replaces incumbent Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue who announced early this year she would not seek a second term.

Addressing funding needs to pay for road upgrades in the state, specifically Interstate 95, McCrory said during a debate last month that he does not support charging tolls to access the roadway.

Instead, he is touting the creation of a 25-year transportation and infrastructure plan that would connect all portions of the state. He has also called for a review and reform of the state’s transportation funding formula.

Transportation funding was also a campaign issue in Washington state. Democratic Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, a former congressman, said that he wants to come up with a transportation funding plan to put before voters in the next couple of years.

He also said that using public-private partnerships to get work done is an option that needs to be on the table.

“We should look at multiple avenues and decide the ones that work. And I’ve seen public-private partnerships work,” Inslee said during a debate.

In New Hampshire, Democratic Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan said on the campaign trail that she is committed to improving infrastructure and completing the widening of Interstate 93. The former state senator said that increasing the state’s 18-cent-per-gallon fuel tax is one option to help pay for the work.

With this year’s elections concluded, both parties turn their attention to 2014. At that time, 34 states will elect governors. Of those, four governors are term limited with two Democrats and two Republicans not eligible to seek re-election.

In 30 states, 20 Republicans, nine Democrats and one Independent can pursue another term.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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