Republican governors prevail

2014-11-05 08:21
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker gives a thumbs-up after speaking at his campaign party. (Morry Gash, AP)

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker gives a thumbs-up after speaking at his campaign party. (Morry Gash, AP)

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New York - Republican governors in Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin fended off Democratic challengers on Tuesday in three hard-fought contests among three dozen governor races shaped by voters' concerns about the uneven economic recovery.

The Republicans also won back the governorship in Illinois, according to projections, but handed Pennsylvania to the Democrats after the incumbent was punished for unpopular fiscal policies.

In Wisconsin, a political flashpoint in recent years, Republican Governor Scott Walker, a conservative Tea Party favourite considered to have presidential aspirations, defeated Democrat Mary Burke. He famously survived a recall election in 2012, beating back a labour-backed effort to oust him from the governor's office.

In Florida, one of the most important swing states in the nation, Republican Governor Rick Scott was the projected winner over Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor turned Democrat. Both Florida candidates struggled with low popularity during the contest that featured months of attack ads on both sides.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder prevailed over a Democratic political insider, former US Representative Mark Schauer, NBC projected. State finances improved under Snyder's watch and the bankrupt city of Detroit edged closer to getting back on course.

The big state wins for Republican incumbents and newcomers bolster an already very good night for Republicans across the country, with the party projected to win back control of the Senate.

"All the close races are tipping the GOP way, not only among the governors but in the Senate, we saw the same thing", said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist institute for public opinion.

"The Republicans are definitely having between a good and a great night, depending on how the remaining few states clock in", he said.

Incumbents from both parties were locked in tight races in Connecticut, Alaska, Colorado and Kansas.

Democrat loses in Obama’s state

In left-leaning Illinois, President Barack Obama's home state, Republican businessman Bruce Rauner defeated Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, NBC projected.

But in Pennsylvania, Republican Governor Tom Corbett lost to Democrat Tom Wolf, making him the first incumbent governor in his state's modern history to fail to win a second term.

In his concession speech to supporters in Pittsburgh, Corbett said he had made tough choices as governor knowing they would be unpopular.

"I said I might be a one-term governor, and I am. And I am proud", Corbett said.

Among other Democratic victories was Rhode Island, where state treasurer Gina Raimondo was the projected winner over Republican Allan Fung. Raimondo helped the state reach a critical 2011 deal to curtail spending on pensions, which lost her some union support.

But Democrats fell way short as expected in the state of Texas, where Republican Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general, defeated his Democratic opponent, state Senator Wendy Davis, who had become a party icon for a 10-hour filibuster against abortion restrictions.

In several races where projected outcomes were as expected, Republican Governor Nikki Haley won in South Carolina, Republican Governor John Kasich triumphed in Ohio and Republican Governor Bill Haslam defeated his opponent in Tennessee.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo was the projected winner in New York, and Republican Governor Robert Bentley was the projected victor in Alabama.

Read more on:    republicans  |  barack obama  |  us

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