Democrats wrest power away from Republicans at the state level

Some 250,000 jobs were created last month beating expectations

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has won the MI governor's race to break a Republican power bloc that had been a top target for Democrats.

In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum lost his attempt to become the state's first black governor, suffering a narrow defeat to Republican Ron DeSantis in a racially charged contest that drew national attention.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in IL lost his bid for a second term to Democrat J.B. Pritzker. The former legislative leader will become the second female governor in a state where Democrats heavily targeted other statewide and legislative offices.

Democrats now fully control 14 state governments, and while that represents a significant brightening of prospects from 2016, they are still well behind Republicans, who have full control of 22 states. Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas, in August defeated incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer in the state's Republican primary.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who unsuccessfully sought the presidency as a Republican in 2012, is trailing Democrat Tony Evers, the education superintendent, in the state's gubernatorial race. And Democrat Jared Polis is projected to win in Colorado to become the nation's first openly gay man to be elected governor.

Still, their victories in Illinois, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, were balanced by Republicans holding on to one of the top prizes, Florida, and the governor's offices in OH and Arizona.

"Polling shows that Democrats could have a good night, but there's no clear evidence of a blue wave", Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association, said ahead of the vote.

Democrats Andrew Cuomo in NY and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania easily won re-election, as did two Republicans in Democratic-leaning states - Larry Hogan in Maryland and Charlie Baker in MA. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a former Republican presidential candidate and Trump ally, was seeking a third term in a race that remained too close to call.

Republicans also scored a major victory in Ohio's governor race, where Mike DeWine, the state attorney general, defeated Democrat Richard Cordray, who served as the first director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Republicans in many competitive suburban districts have tried to focus their campaign messages on the robust economic growth, though in his campaign appearances Trump has also focused on his hard-line immigration stance as he looks to stem the illegal and legal flow of people into the United States.

The Democratic Party said it flipped at least six state legislative chambers on the strength of local races.

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.

Republicans had controlled the governor's office and both chambers of the Michigan Legislature since racking up big victories in the 2010 midterm elections during Democratic President Barack Obama's tenure. The GOP held a trifecta of power in 25 states, compared with just eight for Democrats.

The hotly contested race in Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams was seeking to become the first black woman to be elected governor of a USA state, remained too close to call early on Wednesday. The Democratic victories in Kansas and MI will break up Republican trifectas.

Democrats also kept control of CT, a traditionally Democratic state that Republicans had hoped to pick up.

Of the past 40 governors, 18 have been Democrats, but Democrats have only held the governor seat four years since 1991.

Governors and hundreds of legislators elected this year will be in office when congressional districts are redrawn after the 2020 Census.

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