The lone bright spot for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Election Day came in North Carolina, where a fellow Republican, Pat McCrory, won the governor's race.
The victory gave McDonnell, head of the Republican Governors Association, the edge over his counterpart, Democratic Governors Association Chairman and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, in a 14-month battle over state executive seats.
Republicans now hold 30 governorships, the most held by one party since 2000.
"This is very significant, because at 30 Republicans now have 60 percent of the governors in the country," McDonnell said. "We have not lost a Republican governor since 2007 in a contested race."
The two governors associations helped raise the political profiles of McDonnell and O'Malley, both of whom are now set to step down from the jobs.
Their competing positions helped escalate a budding rivalry between the two governors, and for McDonnell, it was the sole victory in last week's election.
But O'Malley noted that seven of the 11 governor's seats up for grabs this November were in states where Democrats were in power. After starting his run with 21 governorships, he said he was happy to leave with 20 still in Democratic control.
"Look at how much more they raised and the terrain we were defending," O'Malley said. "But it was one of those classical battles. I couldn't have been more pleased."
- Steve Contorno