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Republican wins governor's race in North Carolina

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.

In the swing state of New Hampshire, former state Senate majority leader Maggie Hassan won the gubernatorial election, keeping the seat in the Democratic column, ABC said.

Incumbent Democratic governors in Vermont and Delaware won re-election as expected, CNN projected. North Dakota voters re-elected Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple, the Associated Press said.

Democrats have battled 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.

Democrats were on the defensive with four of their party's incumbent governors stepping down compared with just one Republican.

Rhode Island's governor is an independent.

In North Carolina, former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory notched a decisive victory over his Democratic challenger, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, who conceded.

McCrory had maintained a consistent lead over Dalton during the race 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 governor also is expected to prevail in Utah.

Democratic incumbents are fighting to hold on to West Virginia and Missouri.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Richmond, Virginia; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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