With almost all races called, House Republicans had secured at least 64 of 99 House seats, more than the 60 votes needed to flex powers like overriding vetoes and more easily placing constitutional amendments before voters. The billionaire appears to have capitalized not only on Rauner's lack of popularity but broader dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump.
Democrats Andrew Cuomo in NY and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania easily won re-election, as did two Republicans in Democratic-leaning states - Larry Hogan in Maryland and Charlie Baker in MA.
While much of the focus on Tuesday is on which party wins control of the U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats are battling across the country for state-level power, which can help them support or resist Trump's agenda on issues such as healthcare, gun control and gay rights.
Kelly, who also overcame the candidacy of big-spending independent Greg Orman, which many Democrats had believed would siphon off anti-Kobach votes, ran on a moderate platform highlighting her years of work in the state Legislature.
In addition to Wisconsin, Democrats also won governor races in three other states - Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kansas - that supported Trump in 2016, bolstering the party's hopes of capturing those states in the 2020 presidential election.More news: Oshie toughs it out, nets winner for Caps
Voters in Colorado, Michigan and Missouri approved ballot measures Tuesday overhauling the redistricting process in ways that are meant to reduce the likelihood of partisan gerrymandering by either major party.
Republicans now control two-thirds of all legislative chambers and the governor's office in 33 states.
Democrats, playing catch-up after a net loss of 13 governorships and more than 900 state legislative seats during the eight-year Obama administration, fielded their largest slate of legislative candidates in more than three decades.
History suggests Democrats are likely to make gains during the first midterm election involving Trump.
The outcome of elections for state positions could also affect future control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats now have complete control of state government in Colorado, New York, Illinois, Maine and New Mexico.More news: Prince Louis Adorably Reaches for Granddad Charles in New Photo
Democrats also kept control of CT, a traditionally Democratic state that Republicans had hoped to pick up. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt conceded that the GOP would lose the majority that it held since 2015.
Still, their victories in Illinois, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, were balanced by Republicans holding on to one of the top prizes, Florida, and the governor's offices in OH and Arizona. All told, Democrats had flipped at least seven Republican-held governorships without suffering any losses as of early Wednesday morning. The rest have split partisan control. "If you can elect Democrats in a good portion of those states, you can prevent Republicans from doing the same kind of gerrymandering in 2021 that they did in 2011".
"Laura is the only choice to lead Kansas and end the Brownback-Kobach experiment for good", Sebelius said before the vote, tying Kobach to former Gov. Sam Brownback, whose administration dug the state into a deep financial hole before he left the post to become the U.S. ambassador at large for global religious freedom.
Although most state lawmakers responsible for redistricting will be elected in 2020, voters on Tuesday were electing more than 800 state lawmakers in about two dozen states to four-year terms where they could play a role in approving new congressional or state legislative districts.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Republican State Leadership Committee, which focus on state races, also set record fundraising targets.More news: Microsoft testing ‘to-do’ feature on Word