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Democrats chip away at GOP dominance in state governments

Democrats chip away at GOP dominance in state governments

In New York, even a slight gain by Democrats could wrest the state Senate from Republicans and thus give Democrats a governing trifecta. In Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Kris Kobach, a staunch Trump ally, where outgoing Republican Governor Sam Brownback suffered from low approval ratings.

Democrats tried Tuesday to fight their way back to power in state capitols across the country by reclaiming governor's seats in key Midwest states, major steps in their nationwide strategy to reverse years of Republican gains in state capitols.

Republicans, however, could gain in Democratic territory and pick up a pair of governor's seats in OR and CT.

With Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine also retaining the party's control of the governor's office, outnumbered Democrats will continue to have little sway over state law-making.

In Georgia, critics have drawn attention to Kemp's dual role as candidate for governor and supervisor of the state's elections, in his capacity as Georgia secretary of state. Kemp is now at 50.5 percent; if he dips below 50, the race goes to a runoff.

Evers declared victory early Wednesday morning, but Walker held off conceding while his campaign investigated 2,000 absentee ballots in Milwaukee that were reconstructed due to damage or errors.

Another Democrat trying to make history, Ben Jealous, lost his bid to become Maryland's first black governor to incumbent Republican Larry Hogan. But their most promising gubernatorial candidates, Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, lost in Georgia and Florida, respectively.

Accusations of race-baiting dogged Kemp, 55, and DeSantis, 40, who denied the allegations. Obama swooped in to boost the Democrats, and media star Oprah Winfrey visited Georgia on behalf of Abrams.

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Republicans now control two-thirds of all legislative chambers and the governor's office in 33 states.

The Democratic Party said it flipped at least six state legislative chambers on the strength of local races.

Perhaps most significantly, Democrats added six states - Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Colorado and ME - in which they control both chambers of the legislature and the governorship.

Democrats, playing catch-up after a net loss of 13 governorships and more than 900 state legislative seats during Democratic President Barack Obama's years in office, are fielding their largest slate of legislative candidates in more than three decades.

The outcome of elections for state positions could also affect future control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Laura is the only choice to lead Kansas and end the Brownback-Kobach experiment for good", Sebelius said before the vote, tying Kobach to former Gov. Sam Brownback, whose administration dug the state into a deep financial hole before he left the post to become the USA ambassador at large for worldwide religious freedom. And it will nearly certainly influence how states redraw congressional districts after the 2020 census.

"Those states together are majority-makers in Congress", said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.