U.S. voters are casting ballots in a handful of key elections Tuesday.
The eastern states of New Jersey and Virginia are electing governors, while large and influential cities, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Houston and Miami, are electing 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 members of the House of Representatives and one third of the nation's 100 senators face voters.
But political strategists say Tuesday's elections are focused more on individual candidates and regional issues than national debates and trends that could influence next year's fight for control of Congress.
In New Jersey, a majority-Democrat state, incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie is expected to easily win to re-election (against Democrat Barbara Buono). He has emphasized his appeal across political lines to both Independents and Democrats and is widely believed to be planning a run for president in 2016.
Meanwhile in Virginia, surveys show Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a staunch Republican conservative and opponent of President Obama's health care law, fighting an uphill battle for the governor's seat against former national Democratic Party leader Terry McAuliffe.
He is a close confidant of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both Clintons, as well as President Obama and his wife, Michelle, lent their voices to McAuliffe's campaign.
In New York City, three-term mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Independent, is expected to be replaced by Democrat Bill de Blasio. Ironically, the majority-Democrat city has not elected a Democratic mayor since 1989. De Blasio has a wide lead over Republican Joe Lhota, a one-time deputy mayor to Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, is prohibited by law for running for a fourth term.
Americans are also voting on a variety of ballot initiatives Tuesday. In the western state of Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana last year, voters will decide whether to impose a 25 percent tax on the drug. The money would go toward regulating the marijuana industry and building schools.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, Nov. 5, 2013.
Virginia Democratic Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe greets supporters at his election night victory rally in Tyson's Corner, Nov. 5, 2013.
Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio embraces his son Dante, left, and daughter Chiara, center, after he was elected in Brooklyn, New York, Nov. 5, 2013.
A door clerk waits to hand stickers to voters after they cast their votes for the New York Mayoral Election at the Congregation Mount Sinai in New York, Nov. 5, 2013.
Thomas Paine re-enactor John Wallmeyer, a member of four different Tea Party organizations, waits with fellow Republican supporters for poll numbers and election results, Richmond, Virginia, Nov. 5, 2013.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his wife Teiro leave the polling station after casting their votes at Brentsville District High School in Nokesville, Va., Nov. 5, 2013.
Election workers put up a sign in the library of Spring Hill Elementary School, which is being used as a polling station in McLean, Virginia, Nov. 5, 2013.
New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono leaves her polling place after casting her vote in Metuchen, Nov. 5, 2013.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poses for a photo during a campaign stop at the Nutley Diner in Nutley, Nov. 4, 2013.