Democrats claimed the majority of the governors' offices
Tuesday, Nov. 7. Numerous outcomes in the 36 gubernatorial races are of
particular interest to those in the trucking industry.
Victories in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio, as well as an apparent win in Maryland, means Democrats control the top
political office in 28 states. Republicans went into Election Day holding a
28-22 margin in gubernatorial suites but Democrats were able to wrest away six
of those offices.
The day's gains give Democrats a majority of the governor's
seats for the first time in 12 years.
Pollsters said the unusually high turnout of voters during
the typically subdued midterm elections where the entire U.S. House and
one-third of the U.S. Senate seats were on ballots was largely spurred by the
contentious and bitter race for governorships.
There were 10 open governors' seats on Election Day due to
retirements, term limits or primary defeats of incumbents. Nine of those
offices had been held by Republicans and one was held by a Democrat. The only
states where the GOP held onto the governor's mansion were Alaska, Florida, Idaho and Nevada.
Democratic governors in Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wyoming appear to
have retained their offices. Incumbent Republican governors in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont also were victorious.
Notable governor's races for the trucking industry included:
- Illinois - Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich defeated
Republican Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer. During Blagojevich's
tenure he has twice vetoed efforts to eliminate the state's split speed
limit and dramatically increased numerous truck-related fees.
- Ohio - U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, defeated Ohio
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican. Strickland said during
his campaign that he is opposed to leasing the Ohio Turnpike to private
interests. Blackwell said he would seek a lease of the toll route.
- Pennsylvania - Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell topped GOP
candidate Lynn Swann, a Hall of Fame football player. Rendell has raided
highway user revenue for transit. His administration also has talked with
private investors on topics that include the possible lease of the
Pennsylvania Turnpike. Swann had also expressed an interest in
- Texas - Republican Gov. Rick Perry won re-election over a
quartet of challengers including U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, a Democrat. Perry
created the Trans-Texas Corridor plan that calls
for private contractors to build and operate billions of dollars of toll
roads in the state.
- By Keith Goble, state