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Republican tide sweeps Great Lakes

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN
Republican Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk celebrates with supporters Tuesday night in Wheeling, Illinois.
Republican Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk celebrates with supporters Tuesday night in Wheeling, Illinois.
  • Wisconsin: Democrats lose Senate, governor races, both legislative houses
  • Ohio: Republicans sweep all statewide offices, state Senate
  • Michigan: GOP takes governor's mansion, legislature, congressional delegation
  • Illinois: Republican wins Obama's former Senate seat; governor's race a toss-up

(CNN) -- The Great Lakes became the Red Sea on Tuesday as Republicans steamed across the region with victory after victory.

Democrats took a beating in Ohio, losing races for governor, U.S. senator, all the state executive offices, five seats in Congress and numerous seats in the state legislature.

Gov. Ted Strickland was rejected for a second term, losing a close race to former U.S. Rep. John Kasich.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher was trounced by Rob Portman, another former congressman and Cabinet member for President George W. Bush, in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. George Voinovich.

The defeat of five Democratic incumbents in Ohio congressional races left the GOP with a 13-5 advantage in the state's delegation to the U.S. House. Ohio now is entirely red except for a narrow band of blue stretching across the northern part of the state from Youngstown through Cleveland to Toledo.

Former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine unseated incumbent Attorney General Richard Cordray, and Republicans took the races for secretary of state, auditor and treasurer and gained the majority in the state House and strengthened their grip on the Senate.

A similar tide rolled over Michigan, where political neophyte Rick Snyder was elected governor in a Republican sweep of statewide offices.

Snyder defeated Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero by a landslide while Republicans took control of the state House and increased their advantage in the state Senate.

Republicans were elected secretary of state and attorney general, and two Republicans won Supreme Court races, giving the GOP a 4-3 advantage there.

GOP takes Governor's mansion in Ohio
'On to the next fight' for Feingold
  • Elections and Voting
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio
  • Michigan

The vast northern congressional district represented by retiring Democrat Bart Stupak went to Tea Party favorite Dan Benishek. Although Democratic stalwart John Dingell withstood a strong challenge, Michigan's congressional delegation swung to a 9-6 Republican majority.

The wave of red crashed ashore in Wisconsin as well, as Republicans took over the governor's mansion, a Senate seat, two U.S. House seats and the state legislature.

Political newcomer Ron Johnson defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by a comfortable 5-point margin, and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker took the governor's office by a similar margin over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Republican Kurt Schuller defeated incumbent state Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass, and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was re-elected.

Secretary of State Doug LaFollette was the only Democrat left standing among statewide officeholders.

Democrats lost control of both houses of the state legislature, making Wisconsin the only state in the nation where Democrats lost a governor's office, a Senate seat and a complete legislature, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a bitter defeat for Democrats in Illinois, CNN projected Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk to win President Obama's former Senate seat over state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who had run at Obama's behest.

The race for Illinois governor was still up in the air Wednesday, as incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn was in a virtual tie with Republican challenger Bill Brady.

Republicans picked up three Illinois congressional seats, giving the GOP 10 seats to the Democrats' eight. One race, in the 8th District, hadn't been determined by midday Wednesday.

However, Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White turned back the red tide, holding off Republican challengers, and the Democratic Party retained its majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

In Indiana, voters gave Republican Dan Coats the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Evan Bayh. Coats defeated Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth.

Republicans also took two congressional seats away from Democrats, giving them six seats to the Democrats' three.

Minnesota, home of the months-long 2008 recount that gave Sen. Al Franken his victory over Norm Coleman, remained as divided as ever.

The governor's race between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer was too close to call, and the GOP picked up one congressional seat to leave the state's delegation split 4-4.

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