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McLEAN, VA - NOVEMBER 05: Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Virginia Terry McAuliffe and his son Peter leave a polling station after he casted his vote on Election Day November 5, 2013 at Spring Hill Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. McAuliffe is running against Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the current attorney general of Virginia, to succeed Bob McDonnell to be the next Virginia governor.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
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Josh Kraushaar
Nov. 5, 2013, 6:40 a.m.

Elec­tion Day is here, with a split ver­dict ex­pec­ted in the New Jer­sey and Vir­gin­ia gubernat­ori­al races. But even though Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Terry McAul­iffe (D) are heavy fa­vor­ites, re­spect­ively, there are many un­answered ques­tions we’ll be track­ing.

New Jer­sey: Will Christie hit the ma­gic 60% mark? He’s above it in two pub­lic polls re­leased this week, be­low it in two oth­ers. If he does, it would provide the gov­ernor with a power­ful talk­ing point look­ing ahead to 2016. As im­port­ant: Will Christie top 40% among His­pan­ic voters, a key vot­ing bloc in New Jer­sey, and a high-wa­ter bench­mark for George W. Bush‘s 2004 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign? Fi­nally, will New Jer­sey Re­pub­lic­ans pick up the five state Sen­ate seats ne­ces­sary to take over the up­per cham­ber? It’s a long-shot, but read Gov­Beat’s Re­id Wilson for the five races to watch — where the GOP needs a clean sweep.

Vir­gin­ia: McAul­iffe is lead­ing, but will he sweep the sub­urb­an strong­holds? Pay close at­ten­tion to Prince Wil­li­am, Loudoun Cos. (NoVa), Hen­rico and Chester­field Cos. (Rich­mond) and Vir­gin­ia Beach City and Ches­apeake City (Tide­wa­ter). Now-Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) won all of these counties by double-di­git mar­gins; Ken Cuc­cinelli (R) could lose all of them, ex­cept Chester­field (where Cuc­cinelli’s mar­gins will be a telling bell­weth­er). If that happened, it would sig­nal how off-kil­ter Cuc­cinelli’s mes­sage was to middle-of-the-road voters. Mean­while, pay close at­ten­tion to the AG race. If Mark Her­ring (D) de­feats Mark Oben­shain (R), Dems should hold every statewide of­fice for the first time since the Nix­on ad­min­is­tra­tion in what was re­cently a GOP-friendly state.

Oth­er races to watch: Will the busi­ness com­munity be able to help one of their own, Brad­ley Byrne (R), against an un­der­fun­ded so­cially-con­ser­vat­ive act­iv­ist Dean Young (R) in the AL-01 run­off? How will Wall Street re­act to an an­ti­cip­ated Bill de Bla­sio romp in NYC? In the Bo­ston may­or­al race, will a co­ali­tion of labor and minor­ity sup­port pro­pel Marty Walsh (D) to a come-from-be­hind vic­tory over more-mod­er­ate John Con­nolly (D)? And in Wash­ing­ton state, mil­lions of dol­lars are be­ing poured in­to a bell­weth­er state Sen­ate spe­cial elec­tion — which could of­fer clues about the na­tion­al en­vir­on­ment, and af­fect the bal­ance of power in a di­vided state le­gis­lature.

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