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US Local Elections Set for Tuesday

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Voters will be deciding a handful of key elections in the United States on Tuesday.

In the year after a presidential election in the U.S., there are not as many elections across the country. But two states in the eastern part of the country --- New Jersey and Virginia --- are electing governors. Numerous large cities, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Houston and Miami, are electing mayors.

Political analysts in the U.S. are looking for clues from Tuesday's results about congressional elections across the country one year from now, when all 435 members of the House of Representatives face voters and a third of the 100-member Senate does as well.

In New Jersey, a state that borders New York City, incumbent Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, is expected to cruise to re-election. He has emphasized his appeal across political lines to independents and Democrats, possibly with en eye to running for president in 2016.

In the mid-Atlantic state of Virginia, surveys show a staunch Republican conservative, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is fighting an uphill battle for the governor's seat against business entrepreneur Terry McAuliffe. He is a former national Democratic Party leader and close confidant of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The two statewide elections could give an indication of current voter sentiment.

Surveys show that voters opposed last month's partial federal government shutdown and mostly blamed Republicans for the Washington stalemate over government spending, rather than Democratic lawmakers and President Barack Obama.

But many voters are also angered over the widespread technological problems that have slowed the start of insurance sales that are part of Mr. Obama's signature health care reforms enacted three years ago. Some polls show his favorability ratings have dipped to the lowest point of his five-year presidency, in the low 40 percent range.

In the highest profile mayoral election, in New York, surveys show that Bill de Blasio, now the ombudsman between voters and the city government, is poised for an overwhelming victory. He would succeed long-time Mayor Michael Bloomberg, prohibited by law from running for a fourth term.

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