Republican Mike DeWine wins OH governor race, CNN projects

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine appears on the first day of the Republican National Convention in July 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Ohio

Kevin Benson, a 38-year-old graphic designer from Westerville in central OH, said he's registered a Republican, considers himself an independent, and voted all Democrat on his polling place on Tuesday, mostly because of Trump.

Republicans last night continued their decades-long dominance of OH midterms.

Mike DeWine will keep the OH governor's office in Republican hands, CNN projects, defeating Democrat Richard Cordray in a race that tested whether the rightward drift that helped President Donald Trump win OH by 9 percentage points could last.

Democrats likely will gain full control in IL and New Mexico by winning the governor's races.

While much of the elections' focus was on which party would win control of the U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats were battling across the country for state-level power, including in three dozen governors' races. Like DeSantis in Florida, DeWine could be an important ally for the president in a state that's likely to be a key presidential battleground in two years.

Accusations of race-baiting dogged Kemp, 55, and DeSantis, 40, who denied the allegations. Democrats did win gubernatorial races in Kansas, Wisconsin and IL, as well as four other states.

But Republicans have plenty to celebrate in Ohio.

The Democratic gains amount to a mere "ripple" in Republican legislative control, said Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.

New Mexico also tipped into the Democratic column, as did ME, where Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills won the race to succeed combative Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who was term-limited after eight years in office. J.B. Pritzker is projected to topple Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in IL - one of the nation's least popular governors - after spending more than $170 million of his Hyatt hotel fortune on the contest. And the GOP easily defended the secretary of state seat in Kansas that had been vacated by Kris Kobach, who lost his bid for governor and whose tenure as secretary of state had been controversial for his pursuit of hard-line policies against alleged voter fraud. Meanwhile in Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis became the first openly gay male governor.

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In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds broke the Democrats' run of Midwest success by being elected to a full term. But Democrat Christine Hallquist lost her bid to become the first openly transgender United States governor in Vermont, where Republican incumbent Phil Scott won re-election.

During the first midterm election of Democratic President Barack Obama's tenure in 2010, Republicans picked up about 725 state legislative seats while flipping control of 21 chambers.

The political parties are trying not only to win now, but also to put themselves in strong position for the elections two years from now that will determine which party will have the upper hand in redrawing congressional and state legislative districts.

Voters in Colorado, Michigan and Missouri approved ballot measures Tuesday overhauling the redistricting process in ways that are meant to reduce the likelihood of partisan gerrymandering by either major party.

Among the issues at stake in the race was redistricting: The victor would sit on a state commission that draws state legislative and congressional districts, an authority that Republicans have used over the last decade to cement their majorities in what was, until 2016, a swing state in presidential elections.

Democrats had a few victories to celebrate. Sen.

As of mid-October, the Democratic Governors Association and its affiliated entities had raised $122 million during the past two years - a record outdone only by the Republican Governors Association's new high mark of at least $156 million.

Maine gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Janet Mills speaks to supporters at her election night victory party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Portland, Maine.

In Oklahoma, Republican Kevin Stitt defeated Democrat Drew Edmondson, dashing Democratic hopes that outgoing Republican Governor Mary Fallin's low approval numbers had provided a rare opportunity in a deeply conservative state. Griswold won by about five points as Democrats won the gubernatorial and state attorney general races.

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