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Races for governor: Gianforte wins in Montana to end Democrats' streak

Races for governor: Gianforte wins in Montana to end Democrats' streak
A voter places his vote into a collecting machine at the Craig School in Creve Coeur, Mo., on Tuesday. Gubernatorial candidate and incumbent Mike Parson retained his seat on Tuesday night. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- All eleven races for governor nationwide have winners, but only one flipped parties -- as Montana's statehouse was won by a Republican for the first time in more than a decade.

Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte won Montana's race, ending 16 years of Democratic control of the office. He bested Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney in a race to succeed the term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock.

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The 59-year-old entrepreneur won 53% of the vote in one of the few gubernatorial races around the country considered to be competitive.

Cooney conceded around 2 a.m., tweeting, "I expect Mr. Gianforte to serve with the best interests of all Montanans in mind. Public service answers to public accountability, but accountability doesn't end here. It begins here."

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Gianforte has served as the state's sole House representative since 2017 and made national news during that year's special election after assaulting a reporter.

Nine of the 11 races involved incumbent governors.

In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper held onto his seat, defeating Republican Dan Forest with 51% of the vote.

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Forest had made Cooper's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic a major issue, but failed to overcome a big early lead held by the incumbent.

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"In order to move on in the coming weeks, we have a hard job ahead, and we have to get on with it," Cooper said in his victory speech. "We have to work harder than ever to understand each other's perspective, to strive to respect each other, even though our political beliefs may be different."

In another competitive contest, Republican incumbent Mike Parson of Missouri held off a challenge from Democrat Nicole Galloway, garnering more than 57% of the vote. Galloway conceded the race.

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Parson was diagnosed with COVID-19 in September, but that did not slow his campaign against Galloway, who sought to become the state's first female governor.

In Washington, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee easily beat Republican challenger Loren Culp for a third term in office.

The office of the state's secretary said Inslee earned more than 59% of the vote to Culp's 40%.

In West Virginia, Democratic challenger Ben Salango conceded the race to Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who was elected in 2016 as a Democrat.

In Utah, Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox grabbed 64% of the vote to best Democratic challenger Chris Peterson, who conceded.

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Republican incumbents also won re-election in Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont.

U.S. Election 2020

Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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