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Democrat McAuliffe Elected Virginia Governor

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has won the Virginia governor's race, in a close victory over Tea Party conservative Ken Cuccinelli.

With 97 precincts reporting late Tuesday, McAuliffe edged out Cuccinelli 47 to 46 percent.

The only other U.S. state selecting a governor Tuesday, the northeastern U.S. state of New Jersey, has chosen Republican and possible presidential contender Chris Christie, who handily defeated his Democratic opponent, state Senator Barbara Buono.

In his victory speech, Christie declared himself "the luckiest guy in the world."

The popular Christie became a national figure when Superstorm Sandy devastated his state last year. He pleased liberals but angered conservatives when he became friendly with President Barack Obama in working to clean up storm damage.

Meanwhile New York City is getting its first Democratic mayor in more than 20 years. New York's public advocate Bill de Blasio won by a big margin over Republican Joe Lhota, who is a former chairman of the city's transportation authority. Three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, is barred from a fourth term



Voters in several other major cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Houston and Miami, also elected mayors.

U.S. political analysts are looking for clues from Tuesday's results to help predict the outcome of next year's congressional elections, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the nation's 100 Senate seats are up for grabs.

Commenting on the election results from Virginia, Democratic strategist Tad Devine says the ultraconservative Tea Party voters' refusal to compromise may have swayed the outcome of the gubernatorial race.



"They basically said, listen, we're not compromising, even if it means defaulting on the debt of the United States, even if it means shutting down the government of the United States, we're not compromising. And now that reality of the Tea Party proposals has met the practical reality of running a government and dealing with an economy."

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says Cuccinelli's appeal to ultraconservatives in the Virginia race may have been his downfall.

"
Terry McAuliffe was a very flawed candidate, and Ken Cuccinelli had a great chance of winning this race, but unfortunately his appeal was limited solely to the conservative Tea Party base, and he could never get out of his own way and move forward and appeal to a broader set of voters."

He says if the Tea Party wants to influence politics in the future, its members need to think past the politics of opposition.

"
2014 is going to be a make or break year for the Tea Party, particularly with the issues that are on the minds of the American voters: jobs, debt, and Obamacare. And if the Tea Party doesn't want to sort of die on the vine, it has to basically come up with a long-term strategy. Which means, it has to find a way to win elections and govern, as opposed to just trying to topple what it sees as mainstream GOP defectors."

Americans also voted on a variety of ballot initiatives Tuesday.

In the western state of Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana last year, voters approved a measure to impose a 25 percent tax on the drug. The money would go toward regulating the marijuana industry and building schools.

Voters in the state of Washington were asked whether to require genetically engineered food to be properly labeled.

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