In an intraparty ballot, Bradley Byrne, the pick of the
In Colorado, voters overwhelmingly rejected a nearly $1-billion tax increase to boost education funding but imposed statewide sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana. Texans turned down a plan to convert Houston's Astrodome into a convention hall, likely bringing on the wrecking ball.
The off-year election offered a few clues — though nothing certain — about the upcoming midterm campaign in 2014 and, beyond that, the wide-open race for the White House.
It was a good day for moderation, relatively speaking. The winners of the gubernatorial races and the Alabama contest shunned the hard-edged partisanship that has become the norm in Washington; attacks on the federal healthcare law failed to rescue Republican
In his victory speech Tuesday night in Asbury Park, Christie pledged to govern "with the spirit of
The most consequential results, though, may have come in Virginia, which has become a bellwether in national politics, perfectly matching the voting percentages in the last two presidential races.
Cuccinelli's positions — fierce opposition to
A prodigious fundraiser and close confidant of the Clinton family, McAuliffe was seen as a flawed candidate by many in his own party. He unsuccessfully sought the nomination for governor four years ago and was dogged by controversies surrounding his aggressive fundraising tactics and private business dealings.
But those negative attributes receded as Cuccinelli was tainted by a criminal investigation into gifts received by Virginia's Republican governor, Robert McDonnell — a form of guilt by partisan association — then buried in an onslaught of Democratic attacks over the government shutdown and issues like abortion and contraception.
Many of those voting for McAuliffe said they did so out contempt for his opponent.
"I was more excited to vote against Cuccinelli than for McAuliffe," Lauren Durden, a 41-year-old homemaker, said in Herndon, a Washington suburb. "Cuccinelli is way too socially conservative. He is an extremist."
In New Jersey, by contrast, Christie drew widespread praise as he cruised to a second term. Many cited his hands-on response to Superstorm Sandy, which battered the Jersey Shore a year ago. He also ran a decidedly nonpartisan campaign; his advertisements ended not with a reference to his party but simply the words "Chris Christie. The Governor." He repeatedly emphasized his work with Democrats, the state's majority party.
Drew Moss, 47, was campaigning for Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer when he paused Tuesday to praise Christie's fiscal conservatism and his willingness to ignore party labels, particularly when the state needed help from Washington.
"I appreciate that he reached out to Obama," said Moss, whose home was flooded in the storm. "I like the guy."
While that quality kept Christie's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, from ever gaining a toehold in the governor's race, it is not likely to help Christie with the partisans who rule the Republican presidential nominating process.
Among their grievances, Christie has called for in-state tuition for immigrants in the state illegally — a stance that bedeviled Republican Gov.
Christie seems ready to take on the purists in his party. "I think that the party's got to focus on winning again," he said Tuesday in a CNN interview before the polls closed and his reelection was formally sealed. "You know, sometimes, I feel like our party cares more about winning the argument than they care about winning elections. And if you don't win elections, you can't govern."
Next door in New York City, the race for mayor was another anticlimax, although it did deliver the first Democratic mayor in that Democratic bastion since the early 1990s.
The two candidates vying to succeed three-term incumbent