Race to the Right: GOP Sweeps Governor Seats


In the first open gubernatorial election in South Carolina since 1994, Haley was a Tea Party favorite and dubbed one of Sarah Palin's "mama grizzles." Born Nimrata Randhawa in Bamberg, S.C., to parents who emigrated from India, Haley had been fighting an uphill battle with Sheheen for weeks.

Preliminary exit poll results found that among the 41 percent of South Carolina voters who support the Tea Party, Haley won by a thumping 85-12 percent over Sheheen.

Palin's support didn't help save Tom Tancredo in Colorado. Despite Palin's 11th hour endorsement, ABC News projected that Democrat John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, would win the governor's race.

Tancredo is a Republican, but he ran as the American Constitution Party candidate after failing to win the GOP nomination.

ABC News projects the Massachusetts governor's seat will go to incumbent Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama's who came to the state to stump for him.

Patrick narrowly beat out Republican Charles Baker in a race that was so tight that Obama worked hard to drum up support for the black candidate in a relatively white state.

What fueled this heated battle was the unprecedented number of independent voters. According to the Washington Post, a whopping 52 percent of Massachusetts' 4.2 million registered voters surveyed said they were undecided heading into the polls.

Three other incumbent Democrats -- Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Gov. John Lynch of New Hampshire and Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas -- also held on to their seats on a night that saw Republicans make gains across the country.

Lynch, who will be serving his fourth term, and Beebe both faced three-way races but kept a consistent lead in the polls, unlike most Democrats -- even other incumbents -- across the country.

ABC News projects that Democrat Andrew Cuomo will defeat Tea Party favorite Carl Paladino for the New York gubernatorial seat, in what has been a bitter campaign of mudslinging from both sides.

"I am blessed," said Cuomo in his victory speech, who acknowledged that voters were "angry with an economic situation they did not cause."

He also took a slab at his opponent's rough campaign, saying, "the campaign is over and the politics are over."

In what was once a close race, Cuomo, the current attorney general, slowly crept up in the polls to take a double-digit lead over Paladino, who was plagued by controversy in the final weeks of his campaign.

In his concession speech, Paladino said of the campaign, "When I say brutal I mean brutal ... it ain't pretty, and it sure ain't fair."

The Republican candidate was dogged by reports of racy emails he sent out containing inappropriate images and racial slurs. Paladino also made headlines when he threatened a New York Post reporter.

Cuomo will succeed the "accidental" Gov. David Patterson who did not seek re-election after Gov. Eliot Spitzer left office in 2008.

Hawaii also saw a strong Democratic win when exit polls projected U.S. Rep Neil Abercrombie beat out Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

It hasn't been an easy ride for the Democrats in the gubernatorial elections as several other states are coming up red. There has been resurgence in former governors looking to win back their stately mansions this year.

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