The race for the nation's statehouses got less attention than the battle for the House and Senate, but the Democrats swept to a victory there too. Needing to take four governorships away from the Republicans for their first majority since 1994, Democrats took six away to exactly reverse the GOP's 28-22 advantage.
Democrats won Republican-held governorships in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Ohio, Arkansas and Colorado. In all of those states except Maryland, the seat was open as a result of retirement or term limits. Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, defeated by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, was the only incumbent in either party who lost.
All 13 Democratic incumbents won their races. Republican incumbents went 12-1.
"Dominance among state chief executives holds particular significance in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election," writes national correspondent Lisa Anderson in the Chicago Tribune. "Governors, with their ready-made political organizations and fundraising operations already on the ground, can play a major role in aiding candidates' efforts in their states."
But as John Hood points out in the National Review Online, "The news is actually better than that for Democrats, since seizing populous states like New York and Ohio is of greater significance than the GOP retaining the top jobs in places such as Alaska and Vermont (no insult intended to my friends in the far corners of the country)."