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State Races

STATE GOVERNMENT The Florida State Capitol Complex is in Tallahassee, Florida. UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP—GETTY IMAGES

In the midterm elections, 36 states elected a governor. At press time, Democrats had won 16 governorships. Seven were elected in states that currently have Republican governors. But Republicans are projected to win in Florida and Ohio. Those are states Democrats had hoped to win.

A governor is the head of a state’s executive branch. He or she runs the state’s government and enforces its laws. Most governors serve four-year terms.

When a governor is elected, his or her party does not gain more power in Congress. But a governor can enact state laws that are in line with the party’s agenda. Tom Vilsack is a former governor of Iowa. “Winning the governorships is huge in beginning the process of changing the direction of our politics,” he told the AP.