Election 2010: Brown defeats Whitman for Calif. governor | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Brown defeats Whitman for Calif. governor

Tom Raum
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON and#8212; Republicans captured Democratic governorships in at least 10 states on Tuesday, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains.

But there were a few bright spots for Democrats. In California, Democrat Jerry Brown coasted past former eBay CEO Meg Whitman to reclaim the post he held three decades ago. He will replace moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With nearly 90 percent of California precincts counted by 3 a.m. Wednesday, Brown had 3,726,549 votes, or 53.8 percent, to Whitman’s 2,850,200 votes, for 41.2 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The same tide sweeping Republicans into office in Congress left its mark on governors’ mansions as well, especially in the nation’s industrial heartland.

Changing hands in the GOP onslaught: governorships now held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In Ohio, a state viewed by both parties as crucial to the 2012 presidential election, former Rep. John Kasich defeated Gov. Ted Strickland. Republican Susana Martinez won the New Mexico governorship and#8212; she is the first Latina chief executive of a state and#8212; and will succeed Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

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Democrats picked up another GOP seat in Hawaii as former U.S. Rep Neil Abercrombie defeated Republican Lt. Gov. James and#8220;Dukeand#8221; Aiona to succeed Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the state where President Barack Obama was born. Lingle was term-limited.

Democrats also held onto governorships in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Colorado.

The gubernatorial races were especially important this year. There are a record number of them on the ballot and#8212; more than two-thirds of the states. Governors will play important roles in 2012 presidential politics, especially in swing states, and governors next year will participate in redistricting of congressional and legislative seat to reflect the 2010 census.

New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo surged past tea party Republican Carl Paladino to win the governor’s seat, the same post his father, Mario, had held two decades ago. and#8220;The people have spoken tonight, and they have been loud and clear,and#8221; Cuomo said standing alongside his father and mother. and#8220;They are angry.and#8221;

In Massachusetts, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick won a second term, defeating Republican Charles Baker and two other candidates. Patrick and Obama share Chicago roots and Harvard Law degrees, and national Republicans tried hard to topple him.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley withstood a hard-fought challenge from his predecessor, former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich. And New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, both Democrats, were also re-elected.

Denver’s Democratic mayor, John Hickenlooper, was elected Colorado governor despite a challenge from both Republican Dan Maes and immigration hard-liner Tom Tancredo, a former Republican House member. Hickenlooper succeeds Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, who did not run for re-election.

As Democratic gubernatorial and congressional casualties were piling up, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, head of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2012 presidential contender, compared the GOP victories to 1994, when Republicans seized control of both House and Senate.

and#8220;The stakes in this election were so much higher,and#8221; Barbour told a gathering of Republicans.