By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
Two gubernatorial races were decided Tuesday, Nov. 8. This week’s votes are a precursor to next year’s presidential election when one of every five states will cast ballots for governor.
Voters in Kentucky re-elected Steve Beshear, defeating Sen. President David Williams by a 56 percent to 35 percent margin.
During his first term the Democratic governor signed into law a bill to help the state pay for mega-transportation projects. The new law also opened up the door to the use of tolls to pay for new bridges.
He has since partnered with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to get work done on multiple bridges connecting the states.
In Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant defeated Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree claiming 62 percent of ballots. Replacing term-limited Gov. Haley Barbour, Bryant’s victory keeps the governor’s mansion in GOP hands.
Tuesday’s election comes just weeks after two other gubernatorial races were decided.
Louisiana voters re-elected Gov. Bobby Jindal on Oct. 22 during a primary election. Jindal secured nearly two-thirds of the vote – easily more than the majority needed to avoid a Nov. 19 runoff.
Jindal signed a bill into law this summer that enables the completion of the state’s portion of Interstate 49. He has also acted to forbid indemnification clauses in motor carrier contracts.
In West Virginia, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin narrowly defeated businessman Bill Maloney in a special election. Tomblin, a Democrat, received 50 percent of the vote to keep hold of the seat given to him a year ago when then-Gov. Joe Manchin stepped down after winning a U.S. Senate seat.
Maloney, a Republican, finished about 8,000 votes behind Tomblin, who is not assured of a long tenure. He must run for re-election next fall for a full four-year term.
The Election Day results keep the Republican lead in gubernatorial seats at 29-20. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an Independent.
The breakdown is sure to change next year when 11 states will cast ballots for governor. Seven Democrats and two Republicans can run for re-election. Only Indiana and Montana are assured new leadership because both governors are term-limited.
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