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Both parties eye governor gains

Both parties eye governor gains
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Both parties are hoping for a good night when it comes to gubernatorial races across the country.

Republicans have the bigger challenge, as they are defending 22 of the 36 mansions up for grabs.

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On a night where Democrats expect to lose House and Senate seats, they hope their silver lining will be defeating high-profile GOP governors such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida and Rick Snyder in Michigan.

Republicans, meanwhile, are poised for gains in the Northeast, where Democrats are defending mansions in five New England states.

The races could usher in major policy changes at a time when Washington is gridlocked.

Six states with tight races — Kansas, Florida, Maine, Alaska, Wisconsin and Georgia — have rejected ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. If Democrats win in the six states, Medicaid could be expanded.

Major tax cuts are also on trial, nowhere more so than Kansas, where Democrat Paul Davis is running against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s large tax cuts and is unexpectedly close.

The biggest prize of the night is Wisconsin, where Walker, seen as a possible presidential contender in 2016, would have any hopes dashed by a reelection loss.

Walker has fallen short in his goal of creating 250,000 jobs, and Democratic businesswoman Mary Burke has made this the centerpiece of her campaign. polls.

In Florida, former Gov. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Anna Paulina Luna wins Florida GOP primary in bid to unseat Charlie Crist The feds should not spend taxpayer dollars in states that have legalized weed MORE has switched parties to become a Democrat, and has a slight lead in polls. 

Walker is polling ahead of Burke, and Snyder is in front of former Rep. Mark Schauer (D) in Michigan.

Snyder, who paints himself as a technocrat with the slogan “one tough nerd,” has signed a minimum wage increase and accepted Medicaid expansion. Schauer has latched on to business tax cuts as a line of attack. 

If Republicans win governorships in the Northeast, it could be a sign that they are in for a big night across the board. 

In Massachusetts, Republican former health insurance executive Charlie Baker is polling slightly ahead of Democrat Martha Coakley, famous for her stunning 2010 loss in the Senate race to Scott Brown.

Coakley has made a point of showing she’s campaigning hard this time, but Baker has highlighted management problems in state government, including a faulty ObamaCare website, and played up his liberal social views. 

Maine Democrat Mike Michaud has a chance to become the first openly gay governor elected in the U.S.

He’s running against controversial Republican Paul LePage.

Connecticut is one of the closest races in the country, with a post-Sandy Hook gun control bill factoring into the matchup between Democratic Gov. Daniel Malloy and Republican private equity manager Tom Foley. 

Another blue state, Maryland, could be a bellwether.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown once was seen as having a safe race, but polls show that lead has narrowed as Republican businessman Larry Hogan has hammered Brown on tax increases. 

Another interesting race is in Georgia, where former President Carter’s grandson Jason is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), once thought to be safe, has been painted as indecisive by former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), who points to a reprieve Hickenlooper granted to a convicted murderer on death row. 

Alaska’s race pits Bill Walker, a former Republican running as an independent, with a Democrat backed by Sarah Palin as a running mate, against Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

A good showing by Republicans would be good news for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Conversely, it would be more bad news for President Obama, who has focused on the gubernatorial contests.