Democrat Stacey Abrams Refuses to Concede Georgia Governor's Race

Ron DeSantis the Republican candidate for governor in Florida attends a campaign rally in South Daytona

Ron DeSantis the Republican candidate for governor in Florida attends a campaign rally in South Daytona

Opinion polls show tight races in closely watched Georgia and Florida.

Democrat Laura Kelly waved to the crowd in Topeka on November 6, 2018, after she was elected governor of Kansas.

While much of focus of the elections on Tuesday was on which party would win control of the U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats were battling across the country for state-level power, which could have a major impact on issues such as congressional redistricting and healthcare.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in IL lost his bid for a second term to Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

New Mexico also tipped into the Democratic column, with voters choosing Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Republicans won single-party control in Alaska; Democratic victories in legislative and gubernatorial races restored two-party governance in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas.

She also had the support of former Republican Gov. Bill Graves, who joined her and former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on the trail during the final days of the campaign.

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.

Democrats were hoping enthusiasm among their voters also could flip the governor's seat in Iowa, as well as in traditional battleground states Nevada and Wisconsin.

Voters also were deciding ballot measures in four states - Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah - that propose to overhaul the redistricting process and reduce the likelihood of partisan gerrymandering by either major party. The Democratic victories in Kansas and MI will break up Republican trifectas. That power was largely accumulated during the eight-year presidency of Barack Obama, during which Democrats lost 13 governorships and 968 legislative seats.

The Democratic Governors Association has focused on nine swing states - Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - where it believes the governorships could be pivotal in congressional redistricting.

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.

"The eyebrow-raiser will be if Democrats pick up a South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma - these sort of very, very red (Republican) states", Duffy said, noting local dynamics, rather than national politics, were mostly responsible for Republican weaknesses. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, has pumped additional money into state races viewed as critical in future redistricting decisions. And it will nearly certainly influence how states redraw congressional districts after the 2020 census.

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