Democrats apparently won 27 of yesterday's 35 gubernatorial races, gaining control of five previously Republican statehouses.
By press time this morning, it appeared that 36 of the 50 states--and nine of the ten most populous ones--would have Democratic governors, the widest Democratic margin in governors since the 1930s.
When the final returns are counted, the Democratic victory could be even more extensive; three races in which Republicans had slight leads were still in doubt this morning.
California Secretary of State Edmund G. Brown Jr. recaptured the state's governorship from the Republicans, defeating state controller Houston I. Flournoy.
In Connecticut, Ella Grasso took over another Republican statehouse, defeating Rep. Robert Steel and becoming the fourth woman governor in U.S. history and the first who did not follow her husband to the office.
Governor William Millikenof Michigan, a Republican, held a slim lead in his fight for reelection against Democratic challenger Sander Levin. The race was one of the nation's closest.
In another tight midwestern race, the lead seesawed between John J. Gilligan, the Democratic governor of Ohio, and former Republican Governor James A. Rhodes.
Environmentalist Richard Lamm, a Democrat, unseated Republican Governor John Vanderhoof in Colorado by advocating tight conservation of the state's resources and resistance to federal use of Colorado's land for energy.
Conservative James Longley of Maine scored one of the night's biggest upsets by racking up a majority vote to beat Democrat George Mitchell and Republican James S. Erwin.
The only Southern Republican who led in a gubernatorial race last night was South Carolina's James B. Edwards, who was only slightly ahead of Democrat William Jennings Bryan Dorn. Last month's disqualification of Democratic nominee Charles D. Ravenel '63, a former Harvard quarterback, muddled the race.
Other winners in gubernatorial races were:
Alabama, George C. Wallace (D)
Alaska, Jay Hammond (R) led with only scant returns in
Arizona, Raul Castro (D)
Arkansas, David Pryor (D)