FACTBOX-Top U.S. races for state governors

Oct 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Republicans appear headed for big gains
in state governors’ races on Nov. 2, dealing President Barack
Obama and his fellow Democrats a blow that could echo through
next year’s once-a-decade redrawing of congressional district
boundaries and the 2012 U.S. presidential race.

Republicans are expected to win a majority of the
governorships at stake in 37 of the 50 U.S. states.
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Democrats, battling a difficult political climate and
historic voting patterns that inflict losses on the party in
the White House, hope to capture Republican-held governorships
in big battlegrounds like California, Florida and perhaps even
Texas.

Here is a look at some of the top governors’ races.

CALIFORNIA – Democrat Jerry Brown, a former governor and a
fixture in state politics for decades, holds a slight poll lead
over Republican Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, in the
race to replace Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whitman has
been on the defensive over reports that she hired an illegal
immigrant as a housekeeper, but Brown had to answer questions
about an aide caught on tape calling Whitman a “whore.”

FLORIDA – Wealthy conservative Rick Scott has poured his
own money into a tight race with Democrat Alex Sink, flooding
the airwaves with ads. Scott has had to answer questions about
his leadership of Columbia/HCA, a hospital chain that paid $1.7
billion in fines to settle the largest Medicare fraud case in
U.S. history. Medicare is the federal health insurance program
for the elderly and disabled. Scott, who was never charged in
the case, has branded Sink an Obama liberal who oversaw huge
losses in Florida’s pension fund as the state’s chief financial
officer.

OHIO – Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland has closed the
gap in polls on Republican John Kasich, a former U.S.
congressman. Strickland has slammed Kasich’s for his work on
Wall Street and accuses Kasich of supporting policies that
would shift U.S. jobs overseas. Kasich has attacked
Strickland’s stewardship of Ohio’s struggling state economy.

TEXAS – Incumbent Republican Rick Perry has opened a slight
lead on Democrat Bill White in a heavily Republican state that
will play a crucial role in the redrawing of congressional
district boundaries that begins next year. Texas is projected
to gain four congressional seats in redistricting, the most in
the country and a potential windfall for the party that
controls the process.

ILLINOIS – Democrat Pat Quinn, who took over when former
Governor Rod Blagojevich was removed from office, has struggled
to overcome the state’s struggling economy and the stain left
by his predecessor. Republican Bill Brady has led polls in the
heavily Democratic state although Quinn has made recent gains.

RHODE ISLAND – Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee,
making an independent bid for governor in perhaps the most
heavily Democratic state in the nation, is in a tight four-way
race. Chafee has been hammered by his chief rival, Democrat
Frank Caprio, over his plan for a 1 percent sales tax on
currently exempt items.

(Reporting by John Whitesides in Washington, additional
reporting by Tom Brown in Miami; editing by Will Dunham)
(For more on the U.S. midterm elections please click:
http://www.reuters.com/politics/elections-2010)

FACTBOX-Top U.S. races for state governors