GOP, Dems split hotly contested governorships
CNN projects Mitch Daniels, seen here, unseated Gov. Kernan.
The "Crossfire" team discusses election issues influencing voters.
CNN's Bill Schneider says New Yorkers' anger over Iraq won Sen. Kerry the state.
John Kerry won New Jersey despite a majority of voters' worries about terrorism.
(CNN) -- In one of the hottest gubernatorial races of the day, CNN projects that former Bush administration official Mitch Daniels trounced Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan.
With 93 percent of Indiana precincts reporting, Daniels led Kernan 54 percent to 45 percent.
Daniels, a former director of the Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget, got a major boost from President George W. Bush.
Bush personally weighed in on this race, campaigning for Daniels and referring to him as "My man Mitch." Democrats have resided in the Indiana governor's mansion for the past 16 years, making the state's voters vulnerable for Daniels' "time for a change" message. (Indiana results)
With 75 percent of North Dakota's precincts reporting, Republican Gov. John Hoeven was way out in front of his Democratic challenger Joe Satrom, 72 percent to 27 percent.
Vermont's Republican Gov. Jim Douglas was enjoying a sizeable majority in a field of six candidates. With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Douglas led his Democratic challenger Peter Clavelle, 58 percent to 38 percent.
And with 8 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Jon Huntsman Jr leads Democrat Scott Matheson Jr. 63 percent to 36 percent. (Utah results)
Democrats took an early lead in the race for governor's mansions, with victories in West Virginia and North Carolina, CNN projected.
With 69 percent of West Virginia precincts reporting, Joe Manchin had a 64 percent - 34 percent lead over Republican Monty Warner.
And in North Carolina, CNN projects that Democratic Gov. Mike Easley beat back a serious challenge from Republican Patrick Ballantine.
With 83 percent of the state's precincts reporting, Easley led with 55 percent of the vote to Ballantine's 43 percent.
Republicans held 28 governor's mansions and Democrats 22, and political pundits predicted there would be little if any shift in that balance of power. (Check the balance of power)
In another showcase contest, Missouri's Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt was leading in his battle against Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill for the right to replace incumbent Bob Holden in the top job. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Blunt led McCaskill 51 percent to 48 percent. (Missouri results)
Another gubernatorial race ranked by CNN as a toss-up is in Montana, where Republican Secretary of State Bob Brown is facing an uphill battle against Democrat Brian Schweitzer, a wealthy rancher and former U.S. Senate candidate who has never held elective office. With 74 percent of precincts reporting, Schweitzer led Brown 52 percent to 44 percent. (Montana results)
Other gubernatorial races:In New Hampshire, Republican incumbent Craig Benson was losing his re-election bid to Democratic businessman John Lynch. With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Lynch led Benson 51 percent to 49 percent.In Delaware, Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner was leading Republican challenger Bill Lee 51 percent to 46 percent, with 95 percent of precincts reporting.In the state of Washington, Democratic State Attorney General Christine Gregoire is running a surprisingly close race against Republican state Sen. Dino Rossi. With 12 percent of precincts reporting, Gregoire led Rossi 50 percent to 48 percent.