Without a president or senator
on any ballots for Election Day this year, local elections and ballot referendums
are making national headlines.
Voters in both Virginia and
New Jersey replaced Democratic governors with Republicans and New York City's
billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent a record amount of his own money to
win a third term.
Meanwhile, Maine voters repealed a state law that
would have allowed same-sex couples to wed.
Virginia & New Jersey
Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Creigh Deeds lost to Republican Bob McDonnell
Democrats in both Virginia and
New Jersey were worried about losing control of their governor seats in races
where President Obama's presence at Democratic campaign rallies did not help in
Republicans campaigned against the White House's health care
reform efforts and Democrats' handling of the economy.
a Republican stronghold, Virginia became an important battleground state in the
2008 presidential election and ultimately voted for Obama. While Virginia's past
few governors have been Democrats, Republican candidate Bob McDonnell led Democratic
state senator Creigh Deeds by a wide margin in the polls all the way up to election
"My promise to you as governor," McDonnell said once the
results were clear, "is to strengthen the free-enterprise system, to create more
jobs and opportunity so that every Virginian can use their God-given talents to
pursue the American dream and liberty here in this great commonwealth."
New Jersey's incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine failed in his bid to keep
his seat against Republican candidate Chris Christie.
hope victories in both states will galvanize a base that has been disappointed
with the election results of recent years.
GOP In-Fighting in New
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has become a vocal conservative figure in the Republican
But Republican in-fighting may
have lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives when moderates and conservatives
squared off over a special election to fill New York's 23rd Congressional district
The House seat became vacant when President Obama chose Republican
John McHugh to become Secretary of the Army.
Moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava
unexpectedly stepped out of the race days before the election and endorsed Democratic
candidate Bill Owens after Republican conservatives such as former Alaska Governor
Sarah Palin and talk show personalities Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck criticized
her stance on abortion and gay rights. Palin endorsed Conservative Party candidate
Owens won 49 percent of the vote to Hoffman's 46
Republicans hope wins will continue in 2010
President Obama hit the campaign trail for Democratic candidates this election
Voters in both states remained
strongly supportive of President Obama, exit polls conducted by Edison Research
showed, but the majority of independent voters went for the Republican candidates.
White House officials insist that the 2009 election is not a reflection of President
Obama's policies, politicians considering whether to run next year are analyzing
the results carefully to see which messages resonated with the public and which
ones drew voters to the polls.