Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Voters went to the polls on Tuesday for several US state elections seen by some as a referendum on the policies of President Barack Obama one year after his election (and by others as a purely local election). A few key races in the elections are in states the president carried last year.
In Virginia, results indicated that Republican candidate Bob McDonnell won over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the governor’s race. Polls suggested that many independent voters in the state who last year voted for Obama supported McDonnell.
Another race being closely watched was in New Jersey, normally a safe Democratic area. The New Jersey State Assembly remained Democratic, but the Republican challenger won the governorship. Democratic Governor Jon Corzine was competing with Republican challenger Chris Christie.
Obama has campaigned for both Democratic candidates, trying to avoid a result that Republicans would interpret as a rejection of his policies on the economy, health care and other issues.
Political analysts say Republican victories in both New Jersey and Virginia would energize the Obama administration’s opponents and set up a major battle for control of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections.
Elsewhere in the country, a closely watched special congressional election in upstate New York has exposed tensions between moderates and conservatives within the Republican party. A Democrat apparently won that seat, which the Republican candidate supported after retiring from the race.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to easily win a third term in office. (He won, but by a closer margin than expected.) Mayoral races also are on the ballot in the cities of Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
In a number of states, the public will vote on controversial issues such as legalized gambling, same-sex marriage (which lost) and allowing marijuana use for medical reasons (which won).