WASHINGTON -- Republicans had been predicted to take control of the Senate Tuesday evening, but Democrats hoped to do better in gubernatorial races. They were more than disappointed, as even candidates who had been expected to easily win in Democratic-leaning states were defeated.
In deep-blue Maryland, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown conceded to Republican Larry Hogan. In Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley suffered a crushing loss. And in Maine, deeply unpopular Republican Gov. Paul LePage beat back a challenge from Democratic Rep. Michael Michaud. In all three of those states, Democratic winners would have achieved milestones: Brown could have been Maryland's first black governor, Coakley could have become Massachusetts' first woman elected governor, and Michaud could have become the nation's first openly gay man elected governor.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, didn't even get the requisite 50 percent of the vote needed to win outright in his state. The Vermont legislature will decide the winner.
In five states where Democrats thought they could topple a Republican incumbent, there were no upsets. Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Michigan's Rick Snyder, Florida's Rick Scott, Kansas' Sam Brownback and Georgia's Nathan Deal all prevailed.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who was recognized as being in danger, apparently did get the boot from voters, who picked Republican Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist and self-proclaimed member of the ".01 percent." Quinn hadn't yet conceded as of early Wednesday morning.
The bright spots for Democrats were few and far between. Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo became the state's first female governor. Pennsylvania's unpopular Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, as expected, was defeated by Democratic businessman Tom Wolf. Democrat David Ige won in Hawaii. And three Democratic governors -- Minnesota's Mark Dayton, New Hampshire's Maggie Hassan and Oregon's John Kitzhaber -- all held on by narrow margins.
Connecticut's race between Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and GOP businessman Tom Foley was exceedingly close, and Colorado's race between Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Republican Bob Beauprez hadn't been called early Wednesday.
One of the only Democratic gubernatorial candidates who will sleep easily was California Gov. Jerry Brown, who was safely elected to a record fourth term.