In a year full of Republican stars in gubernatorial races, California Gov.-elect Jerry Brown (D) wins the "who'd a thunk it" award. The former governor was considered, well, a has-been at the beginning of the cycle and faced an uphill challenge against Republican Meg Whitman and her hefty check book. But Brown ran a surprisingly strong campaign, bolstered by particularly hard hitting ads. As a result, Brown earned an encore at the helm of the Golden State.
Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder, like Johnson, was another businessman who stepped up and ran a strong campaign. And, also like Johnson, Snyder ran particularly good ads that capitalized on his career outside the political world. In fact, Snyder's "One Tough Nerd" Super Bowl ad may be one of the best of the cycle.