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Former Coca-Coca General Counsel Deval Patrick was among the Democrats who won governorships Tuesday. Patrick won in Massachusetts – he will be the first black governor of the state and the second elected black governor of any state. All in all, Democrats took the governorships Tuesday in Massachusetts, Ohio and New York and held a vulnerable seat in Michigan as elections for the top office in 36 states promised the biggest shakeup of state governments in years. In Ohio, Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland easily defeated Republican Ken Blackwell. New York, as expected, chose Democrat Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general who crusaded for Wall Street and corporate reform. Massachusetts and Ohio haven’t elected a Democrat since 1986. New York last elected a Democrat in 1990. In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, long targeted by the GOP, defeated millionaire Dick DeVos, even though he put more than $35 million of his own money toward his campaign. Democrats were in sight of winning a majority of governorships for the first time since the GOP sweep of 1994, if they could pick up one more GOP seat and hold their own in Wisconsin and Oregon. Though governors never enact national policy, they can organize state parties to rally around a White House race. In a bit of good news for Republicans, the Florida contest to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Jeb Bush saw Republican Charlie Crist, the state attorney general, leading Democratic Rep. Jim Davis 52 percent to 45 percent, with just over half of precincts reporting. In Illinois, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich won re-election in a contest that Republicans had at one time hoped would go their way. Elsewhere, Republican incumbents won in Connecticut, South Carolina, Nebraska, Georgia and South Dakota, as did Democratic governors in New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Pennsylvania, where Ed Rendell defeated former NFL star Lynn Swann. Also, early returns showed sitting GOP Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Jim Douglas of Vermont leading. Ten states had open seats because of retirements, term limits and primary defeat. In Massachusetts, Patrick trounced GOP Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey despite her support from outgoing GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential 2008 presidential candidate. The last elected black governor was L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia who left office in 1994. In Ohio, Strickland swept past Blackwell, the secretary of state who was criticized by Democrats for his role in overseeing the 2004 election in Ohio that was critical in securing President Bush’s victory. The biggest names were in some of the least competitive races. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California was safely ahead in pre-election surveys, while Spitzer had long been ahead in New York.

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