OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Republicans picked up a governor’s office Tuesday that has been in Democratic Party control, in North Carolina, adding to a streak of gains in recent elections that has given the party a strong majority in state capitals.
But Democratic incumbents held on in Delaware and Vermont in an election year when many voters were distracted from duels for governor by other races and issues — from the presidential race to the control of Congress. And Democrats also held onto the governor’s seat in New Hampshire, where a popular Democratic incumbent chose not to run again.
Pat McCrory, the longtime mayor of Charlotte, N.C., defeated the Democratic nominee and current Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, whose name was linked with Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat who chose not to seek a second term as her popularity sank with economic troubles and an ethics investigation of former aides.
McCrory, 56, is the first Republican elected governor of his state since 1988, and only the third Republican governor of North Carolina since 1901.
In Delaware, Governor Jack Markell, 51, a Democrat and former business executive who previously served as state treasurer, easily won a second term in office, as did Governor Peter Shumlin, 56, a Democrat in Vermont who partly made his name by his efforts to help students with learning disabilities succeed in college — work inspired, he said, by his early struggle with dyslexia.
In New Hampshire, a former state senator, Maggie Hassan, 54, defeated a Republican lawyer, Ovide Lamontagne, to replace John Lynch, the retiring Democratic governor.
Lynch endorsed Hassan, but her New Hampshire roots were also unquestioned: She was a longtime legislator and her husband is the principal of Phillips Exeter Academy.
By dint of math, Republicans had an edge right from the start this year, with eight of the 11 governor’s offices up for grabs in Democratic control going into Election Day.