The fact that Chris Christie rolled to a second term in New Jersey and Terry McAuliffe won in Virginia wasn't a surprise. Public opinion polls have consistently shown both men in the lead.
But the exit polls showed two very different paths to victory, CNN's Mark Preston reports.
Christie steamrolled hapless Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, 60% to 39% with 80% of the vote counted, crushing her in almost every key demographic. It was the biggest victory for a GOP gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey since Tom Kean was running in the 1980s.
McAuliffe's victory was much narrower than most of the polls indicated, 48% to 46% with 98% of the vote in. He didn't win every key group - self-described independents broke for Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli - but he successfully stoked fears about Cuccinelli's strident brand of conservatism in an increasingly moderate battleground state.New York City voters Tuesday elected a Democrat to the mayor's office for the first time in two decades, giving progressive city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio a victory over Republican nominee Joe Lhota, Edison Media Research projects.
"Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city," de Blasio said in his victory speech.
As for ballot measures, voters in Colorado resoundingly supported taxing marijuana on Tuesday.
Voters in 11 counties in northern Colorado are also being asked if they want to secede from the state. Ten counties in conservative, rural northeastern Colorado would theoretically form a 51st state known as North Colorado. Moffat County, located in the northwest corner of the state, would become a panhandle for neighboring Wyoming.
The plan has no chance of becoming reality. Among other things, it would also require statewide and congressional approval. But approval or even a close vote at the county level would send a loud message of growing grassroots conservative anger toward a more liberal Denver-based Democratic establishment that has taken up controversial measures related to gun control, gay rights and green energy.
With more than 50,000 votes counted in Weld County, the most populated county of those trying to secede, 58% of votes were against secession and 42% were in favor of it. CNN, however, does not yet have a projection on this measure.