Given that Democrats’ majority in the Senate was in serious jeopardy and that there was no realistic chance that they would win a majority in the U.S. House, the nation’s 36 Governors races were supposed to provide a silver lining for Democrats on Election Night. As the votes started coming in, though, it became apparent that the wave that was washing ashore would also drown Democrats’ hopes of picking up more gubernatorial seats or of eliminating a potential 2016 Republican presidential hopeful or two. Democrats ended up losing seats as Republicans scored a net gain of two seats (Alaska is still pending).
In fact, Democrats had a lot going for them this cycle. Republicans had to defend 22 of the 36 seats that were up. Moreover, nine of those seats were in states that President Obama carried in 2012, seven of them by five points or more. Unlike the Senate class up this cycle that was last on the ballot in 2008, a very good year for Democrats, this class of Governors was elected in the Republican wave year of
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