Share This Page

GOP short of gubernatorial goals

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republicans who had lofty ambitions for taking over governors' offices this year fell short in another one of their targeted states Wednesday and clung to diminishing hope in another.

Democrat Steve Bullock was elected governor in Montana in a race that had been too close to call until returns from key counties were tallied. Washington state remained the only undecided governor's race, and Democrats there were in position to extend nearly three decades of control.

Republicans did pick up the governor's office in North Carolina — as expected — and defended the seats they already held. But the party had used its substantial cash advantage to target four particular contests, since most of this year's races were in states held by Democrats.

Still, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association was pleased to see the party gain North Carolina even as it lost seats in Congress.

Mike Schrimpf said the GOP sees governors as somewhat of a firewall against President Barack Obama's policies — a potentially important function as states make major decisions on the implementation of the president's health care law in the years ahead.

“Over the last few years, since Obama took office, you've definitely seen governors play a leadership role in pushing back against the Obama administration when it overreaches and really trying to encourage federal restraint,” Schrimpf said. “You'll see them continue to play that role.”

Republicans now hold 30 governorships after holding just 22 a few years ago. The North Carolina victory, in which former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, is the first GOP win in that seat in almost a quarter-century.

In Washington state, Republican candidate Rob McKenna held out the possibility that late votes would swing his direction. Because the state votes entirely by mail, and ballots only need to be postmarked by Election Day, many votes were still to be counted.

McKenna had been a major GOP investment, as both sides combined to spend more than $40 million in the race.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.