Democrats battled for a sweep of top offices in Virginia that would put Terry McAuliffe in the governor’s mansion.
New Yorkers chose Bill de Blasio as mayor, electing the first Democrat since 1989.
Chris Christie easily won re-election as New Jersey’s governor.
In other, widely scattered off-year balloting, Colorado was setting a tax rate for marijuana, Houston was deciding the fate of the Astrodome and Alabama Republicans were choosing between two of their own — from different wings of the party — in a special congressional runoff election in a conservative state.
Across the country, voters also were choosing sides in a host of local elections and ballot initiatives. Turnout was expected to be relatively light — even in the most hard-fought races — given that it was not a presidential or congressional election year, and voters were primarily hard-core partisans.
Not on the ballot, President Barack Obama took a pass on wagering any guess on outcomes, saying: “Never predict elections. That’s a losing proposition.”
Taken together, the results in individual states and cities were expected to yield no broad judgments on how the American public feels about today’s two biggest national political debates — government spending and health care — which are more likely to shape next fall’s midterm elections.
Even so, Tuesday’s voting had local impact, and it mattered in ways big and small.
In Virginia, Democrats pushed to control all major statewide offices for the first time since 1970, a rejection of the conservatism that has dominated for the past four years. But Republicans were expected to hold the Legislature.
The state’s two U.S. senators already are Democrats, and McAuliffe was favored to win the governorship, a one-term limited office, four years after voters elected conservative Republican Bob McDonnell. Both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton made appearances for McAuliffe in the final weeks, and so did Obama over the weekend.