Voters on Tuesday, Nov. 4, elected governors in 11 states with Democrats adding one seat. The races were a prelude to 2010, when nearly four of every five governor’s posts will be on ballots.
Also decided were nearly 80 percent of all state legislative seats throughout the nation.
Democrats this week increased their lead in gubernatorial seats claiming a 29-21 margin. The party added Missouri to their column after Attorney General Jay Nixon defeated U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof for the open seat.
Before Election Day, Democrats had a 28-22 edge among governors nationally. The party gained the majority of seats in 2006 after a dozen years in the minority.
There were two governors’ seats open because the current officeholders were not on the ballots because of term limits. In both instances, Democrats held onto the suites.
In North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, defeated the Republican mayor of Charlotte, Mayor Pat McCrory. The race in Delaware was won by State Treasurer Jack Markell. The Democrat defeated Republican Bill Lee, a retired judge.
All eight incumbent governors who ran for re-election retained their offices, including four Republicans and four Democrats.
The winning Republican incumbents were the governors in Indiana, North Dakota, Utah and Vermont. The Democratic governors who prevailed in re-election bids were in Montana, New Hampshire, Washington and West Virginia.
With this year’s elections concluded, both parties turn their attention to 2010. At that time, 36 states will elect governors. Of those, 18 governors are term limited with eight Republicans and 10 Democrats not eligible to seek re-election.
State legislature results this week
In state legislative races, there was minimal change, with only a handful of chambers switching their majority control to the other party.
Democrats expanded their control of both chambers in 26 states – up from 23. The GOP control remained at 14 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Statehouses split between the parties dipped to seven from 12, with Montana too close to call.
Nebraska has a single-chamber legislature that is nonpartisan.
Notable gains were made for both parties. Democrats won new majorities in the New York Senate. The addition gives them control of the Legislature and the governor’s office for the first time in nearly 75 years.
Democrats also gained control of legislative chambers in Delaware, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Republicans won the majority in both chambers in Tennessee to claim the majority of the House and Senate for the first time in state’s history. In Oklahoma, Republicans claimed control of the House to go along with their majority in the Senate. The GOP victory puts the Legislature in that party’s control for the first time.
Also of note, New Hampshire voters made history by giving women a majority in the state’s Senate. Women now hold 13 of the 24 seats. It marks the first time a state legislative chamber is composed of more women than men.
Additional details for races across the country are available at ncsl.org.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor