One Out of Three Governorships Isn't Bad, Democrat Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - With state and local elections over, the spin begins.

The chair of the Democratic Governors Association is hailing the "impressive" victory of Steve Beshear, the Democratic governor-elect of Kentucky, who defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Tuesday. Fletcher was Kentucky's first Republican governor in more than 30 years.

DGA Chair Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas said Beshear has continued the "Democratic momentum from 2006."

"Steve brought forth a message of restoring honesty and integrity to government, and voters overwhelmingly responded to his brand of leadership. We look forward to welcoming him to the ranks of Democratic governors," Sebelius said.

In the other two races for governor this year, Republican Haley Barbour was re-elected on Tuesday in Mississippi, and Republican Bobby Jindal replaced a Democrat in Louisiana in the election two weeks ago.

Gov. Sebelius noted that all three states holding gubernatorial elections this year voted for President Bush by double-digit margins.

"The story of 2007 is about Democrats waging strong campaigns deep in Bush territory," Sebelius said in a news release on Tuesday night. "The landscape this year was formidable, but tonight voters reaffirmed that their appetite for Democratic leadership reaches into every corner of the country."

Except in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Sebelius said the DGA is "in a great position" for 2008 and beyond.

"The national trend is clear. Democrats are winning in 'red' and 'blue' states," Gov. Sebelius said.

Republicans pleased

With two out of three gubernatorial wins this year, Republicans also claimed "momentum heading into 2008."

Following the 2006 elections, many were predicting a Democratic sweep of this year's races, the Republican Governors Association said. Instead the GOP won the majority of the races (two out of three).

"Bobby [Jindal] and Haley [Barbour] should be commended for running outstanding campaigns focused on their ideas for the future," said RGA Chairman Governor Sonny Perdue. "Their elections show that voters trust Republicans to guide their states through the most difficult challenges."

Republicans now hold the governorships of the five states most affected by Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Georgia. The RGA called it a "sign of renewed faith in the Republican Party."

RNC Chairman Robert "Mike" Duncan said Democrats had targeted Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher "from day one."

And while Beshear won Kentucky's gubernatorial race, Democrats "could not stand in the way of the Republican Party's fundamental strength in the state," Duncan added.

Republican successes in the Bluegrass State included the re-election of Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer -- making it "very clear that the Commonwealth is and will remain a Republican state" -- where voters will continue to support lower taxes, limited government, strong national defense, and individual responsibility, Duncan said.

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