GOP governors sweep into blue states Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama's home state of Illinois elected a Republican governor on Tuesday night. Massachusetts will have its first Republican governor since Mitt Romney.

Stunning Republican victories came in reliably Democratic states, including those won overwhelmingly by Obama in 2012.

Illinois ousted Democrat Pat Quinn in favor of Republican Bruce Rauner, while Maryland voters opted for Republican Larry Hogan over Democrat Anthony Brown.

Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general who lost a special Senate election to Scott Brown in 2010, was trailing Republican Charlie Baker. In Connecticut, the race was too close to project a winner, but Democrat Dannel Malloy trailed Republican Tom Foley.

Republicans also continued their dominance of governor's mansions on Tuesday when a number of GOP leaders fought off stiff challenges from Democrats.

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeated Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist in a very tight and hotly contested race.

Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Georgia's Nathan Deal both narrowly won re-election in the face of well-financed Democratic challenges, according to CNN projections. Ohio's John Kasich, Iowa's Terry Branstad and New Mexico's Susana Martinez also dispatched weaker Democratic challengers.

The lone bright spot for Democrats was in Pennsylvania, where Republican Tom Corbett was unseated by Democrat Tom Wolf.

The Republican Governors Association, the organization tasked with electing GOP governors, touted their victories on Tuesday night as proof their lawmakers have delivered "progress on jobs" and will take their states "in the right direction" for the next four years.

Many of these Republican lawmakers on the ballot tonight were swept into office in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party excitement. In the lead-up to Election Day, Democrats had hoped Republicans would not be able to match that excitement, leading their candidates to stem the tide of Republican victories across the country in Senate and House races.

As polls close across the country, that doesn't appear to be the case. Republican governors also held seats in party strongholds of Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

While Democratic governors in New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, California and Oregon all kept their seats, only one Democratic challenger - Wolf in Pennsylvania - unseated a Republican incumbent, according to CNN's projections.

Wolf's victory was somewhat a forgone conclusion by Election Day, however. Corbett had become increasingly unpopular in his state and backed by top surrogates and a self-funded campaign, Wolf cruised to victory.

"Never before has an incumbent governor in Pennsylvania been defeated for reelection, but that changed tonight. Tom Wolf inspired voters in every region with his tireless energy on the campaign trail and his vision for creating the fresh start that the people of Pennsylvania so badly need," Peter Shumlin, Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said in a statement on Tuesday.