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Governors races a big win for Republicans

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Despite Democrat Maura Healey’s win in the Bay State, it was a great night for Republicans in other key gubernatorial races across the country, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu handedly beating back Democratic opposition.

Nine of the 13 governors races called by the Associated Press by 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night saw Republican wins.

In addition to DeSantis and Sununu, the Republican governors of Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Wyoming all overcame Democratic challengers to retain their seats for another term.

Healey made history in Massachusetts as the first elected female governor and Tuesday night found Sarah Huckabee Sanders as her Republican counterpart when she became the first woman elected governor in Arkansas. Sanders is a former White House Press Secretary in the Donald Trump administration for two years and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Elsewhere in New England, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, won his first full term on Tuesday night.

DeSantis’ win in Florida continues a rightward shift for what was once the nation’s largest swing state, as voters embraced a governor who reveled in culture war politics and framed his candidacy as a battle against the “woke agenda” of liberals.

In the lead-up to the election, DeSantis harnessed the power of incumbency to assemble media, often on short notice and far outside major markets, for news conferences where he would spend significant time honing critiques of Democratic President Joe Biden, liberal policies and the mainstream media, delivered before cheering crowds.

He gained significant national attention during the start of the coronavirus pandemic through his outspoken opposition to continued lockdowns and to mask and vaccine mandates, and eventually displayed an eagerness to wade into nearly any cultural divide.

In Arkansas, Sanders defeated Democratic nominee Chris Jones in the race for governor in her predominantly Republican home state, where former President Donald Trump remains popular. Sanders had been heavily favored to win the race, which also included Libertarian nominee Ricky Dale Harrington.

Sanders shattered state fundraising records with her campaign, which focused primarily on national issues. Sanders regularly promised to use the office to fight President Joe Biden and the “radical left.”

Sanders succeeds Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is leaving office in January due to term limits. Hutchinson, who endorsed Sanders’ bid, is considering running for president in 2024 and has frequently split with Trump.

Trump publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019 to return to Arkansas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

File photo

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was elected governor of Arkansas. (File photo)

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