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(NEXSTAR) — While not all races have been called across the U.S., many high-profile gubernatorial elections have now come to projected ends.
Here are how the chips fell for some of the nation’s most recognizable candidates.
Controversial figures re-elected
One of the most anticipated governor’s races was in Florida — where polarizing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis faced re-election. DeSantis was projected the winner early in the night, with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist congratulating DeSantis on his win. In his victory speech, DeSantis, who’s widely speculated to run for president in 2024, promised Floridians “freedom” would be staying in Florida.
In Texas, incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott won a third term despite tough competition from a highly critical Democratic challenger in former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke. This past year, Abbott has been knocked for certain pieces of legislation, including Texas’ permitless carry gun laws.
With re-election, Abbott will become the second-longest serving Texas governor.
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won a second four-year term, defeating Republican Tudor Dixon amid unexpectedly high turnout. The campaign largely focused on the candidates’ opposing views on abortion.
Meanwhile, in California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was re-elected just over a year after an attempted ousting via recall vote in the summer of 2021. Newsom handily survived the recall, which GOP challengers had hoped would serve as a referendum on several policies implemented during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A first in Arkansas
Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary, has been declared the winner in the race for Arkansas governor, according to The Associated Press. She defeated Democratic nominee Chris Jones to nab the seat that her father, Mike Huckabee, held from 1996 to 2007. She is the first female governor elected in Arkansas.
Despite the projected win for his opponent, Democratic challenger Chris Jones had not conceded as of 9:30 p.m. local time, pointing to voters still waiting to cast their ballots. “It ain’t over, ya’ll,” Jones reportedly told supporters.
Republican incumbent Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams went head to head for the second time over the Georgia governorship. The pair previously faced off in 2018.
Kemp, who was a developer before serving as a state senator and secretary of state, clinched another term despite attacks from former President Donald Trump over his refusal to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election victory for President Joe Biden.
Abrams, a lawyer whose 2018 loss to Kemp helped launch her into Democratic stardom, would have been the first Black woman to serve as a governor in the United States if she had won.
Arizona too close to call
One high-profile race that remained too close to call Wednesday morning was the battle between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake for Arizona’s top office.
Hobbs, Arizona’s current secretary of state, had a slim lead over Lake, a former TV news anchor, as of 5:45 a.m. local time, but many votes remained to be counted.
Lake, who has cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election, is also known for antagonizing the media. She told reporters Tuesday, “I’m going to be your worst fricking nightmare for eight years,” referring to two potential four-year terms as governor.
It could be days before we know the winner in this gubernatorial race. Election officials in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, said they’d give a results update Wednesday evening.