GOP governors in a panic about damage Trump is doing to their re-election chances
President Donald Trump (AFP / Mandel NGAN)

Panic is spreading among Republican governors in the U.S. after candidate Ed Gillespie lost his race in Virginia to Democrat Ralph Northam and President Donald Trump's administration flounders, said on Friday.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Gillespie was "an exceptionally good candidate" who should have beat Northam handily, but the president's toxicity and the groundswell of anti-GOP sentiment among voters have the country's 26 Republican governors sweating their odds of re-election.

"Nearly 45% of votes cast in the Virginia gubernatorial race were from those who strongly disapprove of Trump and who supported Ralph Northam, according to exit polls," wrote Axios' Alexi McCammond.

"Just simply the intensity of the opposition — I think that's what was reflected in the Virginia vote,"said Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR). "That should be a wake-up call to all of our supporters in the elections next year."

Democrats are already reconfiguring their national strategy in the wake of Northam's win, said Democratic Governors of America political director Corey Platt.

The victory by Democratic candidate Phil Murphy in New Jersey's race for governor was another win that has Democrats emboldened and eagerly planning for the 2018 elections. Outgoing Republican Chris Christie was polling at the lowest job approval ratings ever recorded for a U.S. governor.