6 Biggest Election Day Races

Governor's races in Virginia and NJ, and more

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 5, 2013 7:46 AM CST

(Newser) – It's Election Day, and the media appear to agree that the biggest story is the Virginia governor's race. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is up against Republican Ken Cuccinelli; McAuliffe has been leading in the polls, but it's very close—we're talking a single digit margin, for the most part. McAuliffe has painted Cuccinelli as a Tea Partier, linked him to the government shutdown, and made hay out of his support of anti-abortion "personhood" laws. In turn, Cuccinelli has linked McAuliffe to ObamaCare and highlighted the federal investigations into an electric car company he co-founded. Libertarian Robert Sarvis has seen a significant amount of support in polls, and could act as a spoiler. If McAuliffe wins, it will be notable: Since 1977, no one in the same party as the sitting president has been elected governor in Virginia. More races to watch, by way of USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, and the Wall Street Journal:

  • New Jersey: The only other state to elect its governor the year after a presidential election. Chris Christie is overwhelmingly likely to win re-election, so the real story here is whether his 2016 presidential campaign will effectively be launched today. (If you absolutely need more details: Christie is running against Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, and he's hoping to become the first Republican in the state since 1985 to get more than 50% of the vote in a statewide race.)
  • New York City: With Michael Bloomberg leaving the mayor's office after three terms, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota are vying to fill his shoes. De Blasio has a huge lead in the polls, and would be the first Democrat elected mayor of the city since 1989. He's promising to raise taxes on those making more than $500,000 per year in order to fund a universal pre-kindergarten program and to put an end to the city's controversial "stop and frisk" searches.
  • Detroit: Another big mayor's race, particularly because of the city's financial struggles. Businessman Mike Duggan is leading over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon; Duggan would be the city's first white mayor since 1974.
  • Other notable mayoral races: Boston's longest-serving mayor, Tom Menino, is retiring; the city will choose its first new mayor in two decades. Two Democrats are in the lead. And in Minneapolis, "it's like mayor soup," says one voter, with 35 candidates on the ballot to replace RT Rybak, who isn't seeking re-election. Other large cities choosing mayors today: Seattle and Cleveland.
  • Alabama: The primary runoff for next month's general election, in which an open US House seat is up for grabs, is getting quite a bit of attention. Two Republicans are facing off, and they represent two different directions the party could take: Bradley Byrne is more of an establishment GOPer, while Dean Young is seen as a more extreme Tea Party conservative. Byrne has out-raised Young, but Young was leading in the most recent poll.
There are also 31 ballot measures being voted on in six states today; for the most interesting ones (secession, pot, GMOs, and more), click here.

Former President Bill Clinton, right, waves to the crowd along with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe during a rally in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.
Former President Bill Clinton, right, waves to the crowd along with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe during a rally in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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