Democratic predominance among the nation's governors will continue for at least the next two years. Come January, however, the ranks of Republican state chief executives will grow from the current low of 15 to at least 18 and perhaps 19.
Of the 13 governorships at stake in the Nov. 6 elections, the GOP won eight, Democrats four, and one is in doubt, with the unofficial vote tally showing a slight lead for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
The turnover of state executive-chair occupants, although a lot smaller than two years ago, is more than double that of 1980, the last presidential election year.
The widest margin of victory was scored by Democrat Ted Schwinden of Montana, who won a second term with 70 percent of the total votes over Republican state Sen. Pat Goodover.
Also reelected, but by smaller margins ranging from 52 to 67 percent, were Democrat Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Republicans Robert Orr of Indiana and John Sununu of New Hampshire.
The biggest gubernatorial upset was in Washington State, where incumbent Republican John Spellman lost to Democratic challenger Booth Gardner, 47 percent to 53 percent.
Washington's governor-elect, a businessman who has served as Pierce County (Tacoma) executive since 1981, is heir to a lumber industry fortune. He promised to run the fiscally squeezed state like a successful business enterprise.
In North Dakota, Democratic state Rep. George Sinner of Casselton turned the political tables on first-term GOP Gov. Allen I. Olson, 56 to 44 percent.
In Utah, where Democratic Gov. Scott Matheson is stepping down voluntarily, Republican Norman H. Bangerter, speaker of the state House of Representatives, bested Democratic former US Rep. Wayne Owens, 56 to 44 percent.
Rhode Island, where fourth-term Democratic Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy is retiring voluntarily from the executive suite, elected Edward DiPrete, Republican Mayor of Cranston, to succeed him. Mr. DePrete easily downed Democratic state Treasurer Anthony Solomon, by 60 to 40 percent.