Largely unnoticed in the aftermath of this year's four gubernatorial races is the fact that the party in power was thrown out every time.

The throw-'em-out trend began some time ago. In fact, in the 42 gubernatorial elections held since November 2001, an amazing 26 resulted in party switches.

Republicans lost 13 governorships to Democrats, who in turn lost 11 to Republicans. And each major party seized one of the two independent seats that came up for grabs in 2002. There's no evidence of any sort of partisan trend: Republicans simply had more governorships on the line during this time and, therefore, had more to lose.

Although it would be a mistake to read too much into these results, because each gubernatorial contest was unique in some way, the sitting party has gotten ousted too often for all of this party-switching to be a mere coincidence. Let's face it: This is a lousy time to be a governor or to be running to succeed a governor of your own party.

In California, the degree of anger at Democrat Gray Davis,

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