Race to the Right: GOP Sweeps Governor Seats

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Even President Obama's home state of Illinois has become a battleground, as GOP state Sen. Bill Brady remains in a dead heat with Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.

It wouldn't be an election year without a showdown in Florida. An air-tight race between multimillionaire Rick Scott and Democratic candidate Alex Sink, the state's elected chief financial officer, finally came to a close Wednesday morning.

Sink conceded to her opponent at a press conference, calling her chances of winning the race "a mathematical impossibility."

A huge campaign spender, Scott has drawn fire over a Medicare fraud scandal at a hospital corporation he once headed and has spent $60 million of his own money to stay in the race.

Other hotly contested gubernatorial results for Maine and Vermont also didn't come in until Wednesday morning.

Maine, another one of several states this election season where independents made a big difference, Independent candidate Eliot Cutler conceded to Republican Paul LePage. In Vermont, Republican Brian Dubie conceded to Democrat Peter Shumlin.

In a flashback from the past last night, former Gov. Jerry Brown won back the California governorship against the largest self-financed campaign in history: Republican candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Brown, who served as California governor for two terms beginning in 1975 and is currently attorney general, began to gain momentum leading up to the polls in what had been an incredibly tight race.

The only bump in what was otherwise a calm campaign came a few weeks ago when one of his staffers call Whitman a "whore" over pension reform. Brown quickly apologized, but never identified the staffer.

Outgoing Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted: "Just called to congratulate @JerryBrown2010. Looking forward to Maria & me getting together w/ him & Anne to talk abt a smooth transition."

This election season has shattered precedents in several arenas, not least of which was the size of Whitman's war chest.

The biggest spender of them all, Whitman poured more than $141 million of her own money into her campaign. It broke the record for the most expensive self-financed campaign ever, and she reportedly said she was willing to go up to $160 million if it could get her the win.

Another precedent broken, Rhode Island voters turned away from the two major party candidates to elect Sen. Lincoln Chafee, the state's first independent governor, after Democrat Frank Caprio lashed out at President Obama for not endorsing him.

The race swung Chafee's way when Caprio said Obama could "shove it" for endorsing the Independent candidate over him. Since then, Caprio fell to third place in a field that also included Republican John Robitaille.

Chafee pulled in 36 percent of the vote, with Robitaille drawing 34 percent. Ken Brock of the Moderate Party, another Independent candidate, also helped pull voters away from the major parties by taking roughly 8 percent.

In South Carolina, Tea Party favorite Nikki Haley rode the conservative wave to the governor's office, defeating Democrat state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

Haley, a former state representative, not only gives the Tea Party movement its first governor, she will become the first female governor of South Carolina and the first female Indian-American governor in U.S. history.

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