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May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Republican U.S. governors said they may add to their majority control of capitals in the November election by targeting Democratic-run states including Illinois, Arkansas and Connecticut.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, told reporters in New York that the party’s candidates are poised to capitalize on discontent with President Barack Obama’s policies as the group raises record sums to support its candidates this fall.

“You see us expanding the map every day,” Christie said at a press conference. “Not only are we successfully defending in the states where we have incumbents, but we’re expanding the map to traditionally blue states.”

Republicans hold 29 governorships and are working to protect incumbents in states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine where Democrats are seeking gains. There are 36 governor races in November, including 22 states now held by Republicans.

The Republicans singled out the open race in Democrat-led Arkansas and contests to unseat Illinois’ Pat Quinn and Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy, both Democrats who increased taxes.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said state races will also aid the party’s effort to win control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats in the fall.

“The pathway toward Republicans regaining the United States Senate is very much driven by the success of Republican candidates and Republicans in office,” Walker said.

Primary Elections

The governors’ comments at their conference, where they have been meeting with donors and business lobbyists, came a day after primary elections leading to the defeat of Senate or U.S. House candidates aligned with the Tea Party in Republican Party contests in Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Idaho.

The contests were viewed as a watershed in this year’s fight among Republicans between the party’s limited-government movement and business-backed groups. Those groups were frustrated by the political standoff in Congress that led to last year’s government shutdown and campaign missteps in previous elections that left Democrats in control of the Senate.

Besides selecting candidates with a better chance of winning in November, business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have been backing candidates who support its economic agenda.

Christie said he was encouraged by the results of yesterday’s election.

“Good Republicans won primaries all over the county last night and gave us a slate of really good candidates to run,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at Jeffrey Taylor, Stephen West

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