Republicans, now projected to take control of the Senate and build on their House majority, also made a strong showing in gubernatorial races around the country. GOP candidates in Maryland, Arkansas, Illinois and Massachusetts all took control of governor's seats that were previously held by Democrats.
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The only upset Democrats were able to pull off was in Pennsylvania.
In a major upset, Republican candidate for Maryland governor Larry Hogan is now projected to win the state’s highest office, according to ABC News. Hogan, a businessman, will replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, representing a party switch for the state. In the last 45 years in the state, Robert Ehrlich Jr. was the only Republican to serve as governor and for only one term from 2003-2007.
Massachusetts’s highest office is now projected to switched party hands again. According to ABC News, Republican Charlie Baker will likely defeat Democrat Martha Coakley, and take over for outgoing Deval Patrick, a Democrat. The last serving Republican governor in the state was Mitt Romney, who was elected in 2002. Baker is a Massachusetts native from Needham, just outside Boston. He ran on a centrist platform, highlighting his previous business and management experience as both a former healthcare CEO and former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governors Weld and Cellucci in the early 1990s. Coakley, a two-term attorney general, also lost a statewide race for Senate in 2010 to Republican Scott Brown. Coakley and Baker came down on opposite sides of several key initiatives on the Massachusetts ballot this year, including a repeal of an incremental gas tax increase, a 5 cent plastic bottle deposit, and expanded requirements for paid sick leave.
In a surprising development, neither incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, nor Republican challenger Scott Milne in Vermont is projected to reach the 50 percent needed to win the election. The race will now likely be decided by the state legislature, which is currently controlled by the Democrats.
Shumlin was expected to win the election handily, coming in with a much stronger donor base and name recognition. According to the latest campaign finance report, Shumlin raised four times as much money as Milne. Polling throughout the election had Shumlin consistently ahead by a wide margin -- the latest poll by CBS/NYT/YouGov showed Shumlin with a 12-point lead. The day that Milne filed his candidacy for the governorship of the Green Mountain State, he put his chances of winning the election at 1 percent. Milne has never held elected office and is the president of his family-owned business, Milne Travel. Shumlin is seeking his third two-year term, as there is no term limit in the state.
Despite heavy storms and power outages across the state Tuesday, Mainers have voted and ABC News is projecting that the blunt and sometimes inflammatory Republican Gov. Paul LePage will win a second term. LePage faced a tough race with two challengers: Democratic candidate Mike Michaud and Independent Eliot Cutler. Culter was polling around 10 percent heading into Election Day and may have siphoned off enough votes from Michaud to help LePage secure a victory. In 2010, LePage won with only 38 percent of the vote. He faced tough criticism during the majority of his first term after making some large tax cuts.
Based on ABC's analysis of the vote so far, Republican Gov. Rick Scott is projected to fend off a tough challenge from Democratic candidate Charlie Crist. In a brutal and expensive campaign that will likely be remembered for how unpopular both candidates emerged from it, Scott defeated his Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat opponent Crist, ABC New projects.
Crist attempted to seize on Scott’s sagging poll numbers in the state, while Scott looked to paint Crist as a candidate who would take any position just to get a vote. One of the more memorable exchanges between the two came when Scott refused to debate for nearly 10 minutes over a fan that was set up below Crist’s podium. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will stay on as Scott’s lieutenant Governor.
ABC News can project that Republican Bruce Rauner has defeated Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, in a campaign that doubled fundraising records in President Barack Obama’s home state. Rauner threw millions of his own fortune into the race, running as a socially moderate anti-corruption businessman.
Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is now projected to secure a second term and defeat Democratic challenger Jason Carter, in a race that was neck-and-neck heading into Election Day. Deal suffered from low approval ratings for most of his first term after facing ethical investigations related to campaign finance rules. Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and a former state senator, was able to run a successful campaign and kept the race exciting until the end. He pitched himself as a defender of the middle class.
Walker, a possible contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, wins his third gubernatorial election in four years -- becoming the first governor to achieve the feat in U.S. history.
On Oct. 28 in Milwaukee, President Obama made a rare campaign appearance with Burke, a former business executive and commerce secretary under former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. Her loss is a major disappointment for state and national Democrats, who were hoping to take Walker out of the 2016 presidential conversation before it began.
The gubernatorial race in Texas has also made national headlines. The race to replace Republican Gov. Rick Perry was thrust into the national spotlight after Democrat Wendy Davis emerged as a star after her 11-hour filibuster to block an anti-abortion bill last summer. However, ABC News projects that the highest office in the Lone star state will stay in Republican hands with Republican Greg Abbott.
From the beginning, Davis faced a long uphill climb. The Lone-Star state hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1990, and Abbott made a name for himself among conservatives after battling to the Supreme Court to keep the Ten Commandments on display on the grounds of the State Capitol complex in Austin.
Democrats have already enjoyed one major upset in Pennsylvania. Democrat Tom Wolf is projected to beat incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in an historic election. In 40 years, since the state started permitting two gubernatorial terms, no sitting governor seeking re-election had been defeated before tonight.
Corbett was understood to be one of the most vulnerable governors this campaign season. He spent most of his term facing strong opposition to his dramatic cuts in the state's education budget and faced a gap in charisma and likeability compared to Wolf.
Republicans have also netted one party switch. Republican Asa Hutchinson is projected to beat Democratic candidate Mike Ross, and take over from outgoing Democrat Mike Beebe in Arkansas.