With 37 governors seats in play in this election, Republicans made big gains on Tuesday and hoped for even more statehouse gains.
The GOP picked up at least 10 Democratic governorships, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming.
In Oklahoma, Republican Mary Fallin defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, becoming the first female governor in Sooner State history.
"The rest of the nation doesn't know Oklahoma is a great state," Fallin said in her victory speech. "By the time I'm through they will."
In South Carolina, Republican Nikki Haley defeated Democrat Vince Sheheen, capping an 18-month rise in which she defeated a host of establishment GOP figures. "To every citizen of South Carolina, regardless of how you voted, I'm going to get to work for you," she said. "You've taken a chance on me. I will never stop trying to make you proud."
In Texas, incumbent Republican Rick Perry defeated Bill White, while Republican John Kasich triumphed over Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio.
And in California, 72-year-old Democrat Jerry Brown coasted past former eBay chief executive officer Meg Whitman to recapture the governor's office.
"Who would have thought that Jerry Brown would be the fresh new face in the race for governor?" asked Jim Brulte, a former GOP legislative leader. "Who would have believed that?"
The governor-elects are expected to play a major role next year on issues like redrawing congressional districts, and implementing President Obama's health care overhaul.
"Republican control of the majority of 2012 swing states is a major roadblock to the president's re-election and a repudiation of his policies," Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour of Mississippi said in a statement early Wednesday morning.
"These states are the bellwethers of the nation, and they've sent a firm message to Washington that America wants smaller government and more freedom," he said.