Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Run Away With Huge Election Wins In Blue States As GOP Solidifies Majority In Governors’ Mansions, Including Liberal Maryland, Illinois And Massachusetts – Daily Mail
Republicans danced Tuesday night to the tune of a new U.S. Senate majority, but governor’s mansions will also be redder in 2015 than they were this year.
Stunning upsets in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts – three of America’s more liberal-dominated states – left political consultants and commentators shaking their heads.
The strong GOP showing – they won at least six races in states with Democratic governors – will be seen as a repudiation of Barack Obama, who said in October that while he wouldn’t be on the ballot, his policies would be.
It also will cast doubt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ability to galvanize Democratic voters in states she would need to win in order to claim the presidency in 2016.
Clinton stumped for Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in October, carefully controlling events by limiting reporters’ access while playing to half-empty auditoriums.
Brown lost big to political newcomer Larry Hogan, known in real estate but not in Annapolis, in a 6-point upset that also brought first lady Michelle Obama out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to buck up Brown as his campaign flagged.
Maryland’s incumbent governor, Martin O’Malley, is also a potential 2016 presidential candidate. His stock fell Tuesday, too, as Democrats saw him surrendering the keys to the governor’s mansion to a Republican.
That sleeper race was one of Tuesday’s biggest shockers. Brown led in nine of the last 10 opinion polls covering the race, slipping behind just days before the election – and then only in a poll commissioned by Hogan’s campaign.
In June, Hogan faced a seemingly insurmountable 18-point deficit.
Five months later, he thanked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, for helping him seal the deal.
Christie, he told wildly cheering supporters, ‘was so excited that we had the biggest upset in the entire country, that he wanted to fly his helicopter down here to be with us tonight.’
He framed his victory as the ‘largest mandate for change in Maryland in 63 years.’
‘Tonight countless Democrats crossed over,’ he said, ‘and affirmed the wisdom of John F. Kennedy who said, “Sometimes party loyalty demands too much”.’
In Massachusetts, state Attorney General Martha Coakley crashed and burned at the hands of former state cabinet member Charlie Baker, who won in every county except those in the western part of the state plus Boston and the elite playground islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Coakley earned the sobriquet ‘Martha Croakley’ after losing a special election in 2010 that was called to fill a U.S. Senate seat after the death of Ted Kennedy. That seat had been in Democrats’ hands for ages, but then-unknown Republican Scott Brown trounced her.
Brown appeared to have failed in a bid to return to the Senate in a New Hampshire race on Tuesday, in a race he lost by less than one-half of one percent. He has not, however, conceded the race.
That’s one thing he and Coakley have in common: On Tuesday night, trailing by one and one-half percentage points, she sent her supporters home and said she wouldn’t admit she had lost.
Baker trailed all summer in the polls but held a consistent if narrow lead through October.
Christie, the pugnacious Garden State loudmouth who may fancy himself a presidential contender in just a few short months, also stumped for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who squeaked by Democratic former Gov. Charlie Crist by about 1 per cent of the votes cast.
President Obama, too, had a hard night at the polls as Americans saw evidence that his 39 per cent approval rating has rendered his coattails too short to grasp.
He personally campaigned for Democratic challenger Mary Burke in Wisconsin, only to see her fall to incumbent Gov. Scott Walker by a 7-point margin – in a state where every Democratic incumbent in the U.S House won another two-year term.
During an October 28 rally, cameras caught people leaving in droves as the president spoke.
In Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois, incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn lost by 5 points to Bruce Rauner. He, too, hadn’t conceded the race by the time Rauner delivered his victory speech.
‘There are a lot of votes still to be counted,’ Quinn said. ‘I don’t believe in throwing in the towel when there are that many votes still to be counted.’
But Rauner was romping, crediting his outreach to black pastors – a constituency that helped Obama launch his political career – with delivering crucial margins in nearly every county statewide.
‘Are you ready for a new direction? Are you ready to bring back Illinois?’ he asked a capacity crowd at his victory party.
‘This election is about bringing back our great state. This is a victory for our taxpayers who need to have a lower tax burden. This is a victory for our workers who deserve to have a booming economy.’
‘This victory is for our students, our children, who deserve the best schools in America. And this is a victory for our citizens who deserve a government without corruption.’
The win changes the political landscape in Illinois with an injection of Republicanism for the first time in a dozen years.
In Connecticut, Vermont and Colorado, incumbent Democratic governors held on in races that were too close to call.
Democrats’ only bight spot all night came in Pennsylvania, as Republican Gov. Tom Corbett lost his job to Democrat Tom Wolf.
Another closely watched race turned into a Republican landslide as Greg Abbott, the paraplegic state Attorney General, trounced state Sen. Wendy Davis by 20 points.
Davis is a freshly minted feminist icon known for filibustering an anti-abortion bill in pink sneakers.
Abbott had pulled away in recent days, enlarging a 6-point lead to an 18-point spread in the last two weeks – since Davis ran a controversial TV ad making a wheelchair the center of attention.
He won big on Tuesday, despite reports that his name never appeared on touch-screen voting machines in at least one polling place.
In her concession speech, Davis told her supporters to be disappointed, but not discouraged.
Accusations surfaced Tuesday afternoon that in the Lone Star State’s third-most populous county, Abbott’s name isn’t on at least one touch-screen ballot machine. Instead, an Instagram photo of a Bexar County machine shows, the Republican slot is taken by David Dewhurst, the 2012 failed GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.
Logan Churchwell, communications director at the conservative True the Vote organization, told MailOnline that his group had confirmed Bexar County has received ‘additional complaints’ and that ‘they are currently investigating how widespread the matter is.’
‘I think it’s a photoshopped deal but we are checking,’ Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen told the San Antonio Express-News.
The image, which shows clunky block-like sections of the video template out of place, could reflect a ham-fisted Photoshop attempt, a Republican campaign consultant in Washington told MailOnline.
‘Or,’ he said, ‘it could be that the voting machine’s software is messed up. If it’s pulling in candidates from two years ago, who knows what else is wrong in those computers?’
The campaign operative insisted, though, that Abbott would win Tuesday.
‘Not even the Democratic Party could buy enough votes or stuff enough ballot boxes to save Wendy Davis at this point,’ he said.
WOAI reporter Jocelyn Tovar posted the Instagram photo after she interviewed the woman who snapped it. It’s unclear how that voter could have edited the image so fast, and without leaving the polling place.
‘I don’t have time for that,’ the woman told her. Tovar posted a second photo on Twitter, showing the same kind of digital goof.