RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Voters in New Jersey and Virginia are choosing new governors Tuesday in contests that could be an early referendum on President Donald Trump.
In swing-state Virginia, most polls show a close race between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. New Jersey will get a successor to unpopular GOP Gov. Chris Christie in the race between Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Murphy holds a double-digit lead in polls over Guadagno.
The stakes are high as both parties seek momentum ahead of next year’s mid-term elections. Democrats haven’t won any special elections for Congress this year and the next Virginia governor will have a major say in the state’s next round of redistricting, when Congressional lines are drawn. Republicans are looking for a boost as their party is beset by intraparty turmoil between Trump and key Republicans in Congress.
Incumbent governors in both states, Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Christie in New Jersey, are term-limited.