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Republican wins governor's race in North Carolina: Fox

By Colleen Jenkins

(Reuters) - Republicans increased their majority of U.S. governors' offices on Tuesday after voters in North Carolina chose their first Republican state chief executive in 20 years, according to Fox News and MSNBC.

In Delaware, incumbent Democratic Governor Jack Markell won re-election as expected, the Associated Press said.

Democrats were battling to keep control of governorships in close races in New Hampshire, Montana and Washington, which like North Carolina have outgoing Democratic governors.

Eleven governorships were in play on Tuesday, though only a handful of races were considered competitive and all were overshadowed by the White House and congressional contests.

Republicans looked to extend their 29-to-20 advantage over Democrats, who were on the defensive with four of the party's incumbent governors stepping down compared with just one Republican.

Rhode Island currently has an independent governor.

In North Carolina, former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory looked poised to notch a decisive victory over his Democratic challenger, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton.

McCrory had maintained a consistent lead this year over Dalton after losing to Governor Bev Perdue by a slim margin in 2008.

Perdue, the state's first female governor, decided not to seek a second term amid declining popularity.

Republicans are seen as likely to keep control in Indiana, where Governor Mitch Daniels is stepping down due to a term limit. The party's incumbent governors also are expected to prevail in North Dakota and Utah.

The Democratic governor in Vermont is expected to win re-election, and Democratic incumbents also are fighting to hold on to West Virginia and Missouri.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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