Polls are closed in Virginia and less than one hour of voting remains in New Jersey for a pair of gubernatorial races on a relatively quiet Election Day, but one that promises to be a gauge of the electability of Democrats and Republicans a year after President Donald Trump’s surprise election victory.
In Virginia, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie faces off against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for the opportunity to lead the commonwealth. In New Jersey, Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno attempts to succeed her boss, Gov. Chris Christie, against former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy, a Democrat.
While the statewide races have not attracted the level of attention that might accompany elections in a presidential or congressional midterm year, each has been marked by its own defining factors. Check back throughout the night as the ABC News team provides the latest updates on all the major races:
Other races to watch:
In addition to the marquee races in Virginia and New Jersey, elections at the state and local levels are being held across the country. Here are a few to keep an eye on:
Virginia House of Delegates
All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election. Republicans hold 66 out of 100 seats in the chamber and Democrats are not expected to be able to take back the legislature, but there are a number of higher-profile races that garnered national attention. The exact number of seats that Democrats are able to pick up could be a good indicator of the strength of the party’s brand in different parts of a swing state like Virginia. Forty-three of the 88 Democratic candidates running for the House of Delegates are women.
Virginia races of note:
13th district – Roem (D) v. Marshall (R): Danica Roem would be the state’s first openly transgender elected official if she wins, and Democrats have been gunning hard to unseat 13-term incumbent Bob Marshall. Marshall is a hardline conservative that entered politics as an anti-abortion activist.
12th district – Hurst (D) v. Yost (R): Chris Hurst’s life was flipped upside down after his girlfriend Allison Parker, a journalist at WDBJ, was murdered on live television in 2015 by a former co-worker. Now Hurst is running for political office and hoping to unseat Joseph Yost, who has held this district since 2011.
31st District – Guzman (D) v. Lingamfelter (R): If elected, Elizabeth Guzman would be the first Latina elected to the Virginia statehouse, and this district in suburban Prince William County outside of Washington D.C. is another competitive race that Democrats are hoping to pull out.
Washington state senate district 45
If Democrat Manka Dhingra is able to defeat Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund, it would give the Democrats control of the Washington State Senate, which would mean complete Democratic control of the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) in every state legislative body and governor’s seat.
The suburban and wealthy district east of Seattle was won handily by Hillary Clinton during the general election, and a win there has Democrats in the state eager to begin enacting an even more progressive agenda in the state, spearheaded by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Kentucky Rowan County clerk election
Kim Davis, who was sent to prison in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is running for re-election for the first time since she was jailed.
Utah’s 3rd congressional district
The race for Utah’s 3rd congressional district is not expected to be competitive with the Republican nominee, Provo Mayor John Curtis, primed to take over the seat after Jason Chaffetz resigned from Congress back in May. The district is reliably red, and even with some pushback in the state, Donald Trump won it in 2016 by 18 points. Chaffetz cruised to re-election by almost 50 points in 2016.
Curtis is taking on Democrat and physician Kathie Allen, who has not attracted much support from national Democrats, as well as Jim Bennett, a third party candidate and son of former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, and grandson of former U.S. Sen. Wallace Bennett.
New York City mayoral election
Incumbent Democrat Bill de Blasio is poised to sail towards re-election as the mayor of New York City, despite the fact that his approval ratings dipped to as low at 50 percent in a July 2017 poll from Quinnipiac.
De Blasio did not face any major resistance in the Democratic primary over the summer, and none of his challengers in the general election appear to have made much headway in challenging him. The Republican candidate is state assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Trump robocall on behalf of Gillespie
“I need you to vote for Ed Gillespie to be your new Governor of Virginia. If you let Ralph Northam be governor, he will be a total disaster for your state. Northam is weak on crime and weak on immigration, and as your Lieutenant Governor Northam has driven your economy right into a ditch.” – robocall recorded by President Donald Trump for Ed Gillespie
Trump’s presence hangs over the race in Virginia where he has been actively tweeting on Gillespie’s behalf in recent days. He weighed in on the election early this morning amid his 13-day trip to Asia.
“[Gillespie] will totally turn around the high crime and poor economic performance of VA,” Trump tweeted. “MS-13 and crime will be gone. Vote today, ASAP!”
What you need to know about the Virginia governor’s race
What you need to know about the New Jersey governor’s race
Though Trump has not personally campaigned for the Republican, Northam’s campaign has attempted to tie the president to Gillespie, banking on Trump’s unpopularity in the state to help secure what would be the fourth gubernatorial victory for Democrats in the past five Virginia races.
The New Jersey election has been dominated by talk of Christie, who is among the least popular governors in U.S. history, based on polls of his job approval. Murphy has argued that a Guadagno’s governorship would represent a continuation of Christie’s tenure, while Guadagno has pointed to moments of disagreement with her boss to attempt to distance herself from the two-term governor and former Republican presidential primary candidate.
Washington Post via AP, FILEIn this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, Gubernatorial candidates Republican Ed Gillespie, left, and Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam debate in McLean, Va.
Trump has been notably quiet on the race in the traditionally blue state where Murphy has led Guadagno by consistent double-digit margins in polls ranging back to the spring. Recent polls show the Democrat with a lead of between 10-15 points.
Surveys of Virginia voters show a markedly closer race, with Northam outpolling Gillespie by as much as 9 percentage points in one poll, while falling within the margin of error of another.
Polls close in Virginia at 7 p.m. EST and in New Jersey at 8 p.m. EST.