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The GOP's down-ballot blues

<p>The 2012 elections didn't go as planned for Republicans, especially at the federal level.</p>
North Carolina Gov.-Elect Patrick McCrory (R)
North Carolina Gov.-Elect Patrick McCrory (R)

The 2012 elections didn't go as planned for Republicans, especially at the federal level. President Obama was easily re-elected; the Democratic Senate majority got larger; and the House GOP majority got smaller. These weren't the results Republicans had in mind.

But what about state races? The Republican Governors Associations raised more money than it's ever seen for the 2012 cycle, so maybe they have something to show for it? Well, the good news for the GOP is that they flipped North Carolina from blue to red.

AP has projected that Republican Patrick McCrory beat Democratic challenger Walter Dalton in the North Carolina governor's race. Gov. Bev Perdue (D), plagued by low approval ratings, announced in January that she would not run for a second term. Polls have always suggested that Dalton faced an uphill battle here.

The bad news is, that's it. Republicans successfully flipped one governor's mansion but made no other progress. Last night, Montana's Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock was named the winner of his gubernatorial contest, and though the race in the state of Washington has not yet been called, Democrat Jay Inslee appears likely to prevail. Republicans also came up short in New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, and Missouri.

Maybe GOP candidates had better luck in state legislative races? A little -- Republicans reclaimed the Wisconsin state Senate and Arkansas' legislature. But elsewhere, California and Illinois now have Democratic supermajorities in both chambers; Democrats flipped both chambers in Maine; Republicans lost their supermajorities in Arizona's legislature; and Democrats claimed new majorities in Colorado and Minnesota. [Update: Democrats also won a state House majority in New Hampshire.]

As the dust settles on the 2012 election season, it looks like a year Republicans will be eager to forget, up and down the ballot.