(USA TODAY) Terry McAuliffe ekes out victory in Virginia
Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the Virginia governor's race, squeaking by Republican Ken Cuccinelli with the help of voters in the predominantly blue Washington suburbs. McAuliffe's victory in the key swing state was an affirmation of his strategy to portray Cuccinelli, the state attorney general, as a Tea Party champion who is too extreme for Virginia.
Christie wins re-election; seen as prelude to 2016
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won re-election in a race seen mainly as the kickoff for the next one: the popular Republican is considered a good bet to run for president in 2016. Christie dominated in money, airtime and polls against his opponent, state Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono – but his real opponent may well be any other Republican considering 2016.
Christie's challenger blasts her own party
Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono used her concession speech to offer a blistering critique of her own party. She said: "We rose above the political system that too often requires surrendering one's values. A system where backroom deals fueled by greed and self-interest are just the order of business. The Democratic political bosses, some elected and some not, made a deal with this governor despite him representing everything they're supposed to be against. They didn't do it to help the state. They did it out of a desire to help themselves politically and financially. But we did it our way and I'm proud of that."
Bill de Blasio elected mayor of New York
Bill de Blasio was elected mayor of New York, signaling a new era for a city whose new leader promises to undo much of what Michael Bloomberg accomplished. De Blasio, who vowed to narrow the gap between the rich and poor and reform controversial policing tactics, is the first Democrat elected mayor of the nation's largest city since David Dinkins beat Rudy Giuliani in 1989.
Detroit elects first white mayor since 1974
Former Detroit Medical Center chief Mike Duggan consistently led Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in polls. Duggan will be the first white mayor since 1974 in the majority-black city. He faces hefty problems, not the least of which is the city's $20 billion bankruptcy, and will have little power until the tenure of an emergency city manager ends.
Warning flags for Tea Party
The staying power of the conservative movement that burst onto the scene four years ago was called into question in this year's marquee contests. Tea Party nemesis Chris Christie swept to a landslide re-election as governor in New Jersey, a case study in how more moderate Republicans can carry even Democratic-leaning states. Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli lost a closer race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor in Virginia, a contest establishment Republicans thought they could have won with a more mainstream candidate.
Colorado pot tax & secession
Voters approved a 25% tax on newly legal recreational marijuana to fund school construction. Opponents argued the tax rate would benefit black market sales.
Voters in at least six of 11 affected rural Colorado counties voted down a proposal night to secede from the state. Results were still being tallied.
Washington state rejects GMO labels
Washington state voters rejected 55% to 45% an initiative that would have required foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled. The initiative was part of an ongoing national fight by those opposed to genetically engineered crops to push for labeling. Food industry ads claimed that the initiative would raise food prices.
Houston Astrodome doomed
Texas voters rejected a plan to authorize bonds to turn the Houston Astrodome, the world's first multipurpose domed stadium, into a giant convention and event center and exhibition space. The outcome means the stadium is likely to be torn down.
New Jersey minimum wage increase
New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday toraise the minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and add automatic cost-of-living increases each year.
Election Day oddity
In Takoma Park, 16- and 17-year-olds hopped in line to vote. In May, Takoma Park City Council voted to become the first city in the United States to lower its voting age from 18 to 16.