What's at Stake in Tuesday's Elections

By Staff | November 3, 2009 | 5:26 AM EST

Voters in two states, New Jersey and Virginia, are electing governors.
--The New Jersey race has centered on the economy and the state's highest-in-the-nation taxes. Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, the billionaire former Wall Street executive, is fighting to earn a second term. His opponents are Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie and an independent candidate, former state environmental official Chris Daggett.
--In Virginia, where Democrats last year handed the GOP its first presidential defeat in 44 years, the GOP is trying to stage a comeback. Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, a state senator who narrowly lost the attorney general's race to McDonnell four years ago, are running to replace the term-limited Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.
Mayors are being elected in several major cities.
--In Atlanta, six candidates are seeking to succeed term-limited Mayor Shirley Franklin in an election that is expected to lead to a December runoff. The top contenders include City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who was trying to become the city's first white mayor in a generation.
--In New York, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to spend more than $100 million of his fortune in a bid for a third term, the most expensive self-financed campaign in American history.
--In Houston, four candidates were competing to succeed three-term Mayor Bill White, including city Controller Annise Parker, who would be the city's first openly gay mayor.
--The mayors of Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh are up for re-election.
Two special elections, one in northern California and one in upstate New York, won't change the balance of power of the 435-member House, where Democrats hold 256 seats. Both seats were vacated when the incumbent took a job in the Obama administration.
--A special election in New York's rural and strongly Republican 23rd Congressional District highlighted divisions in the GOP when some prominent Republicans, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. The defections lead the GOP candidate, Dierdre Scozzafava, to bow out and support Democrat Bill Owens.
--Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi faced off with Republican attorney Dave Harmer for a Northern California congressional seat.
--Voters in Maine have the opportunity to make it the first state to approve gay marriage at the ballot box with a referendum on whether to accept or reject a same-sex marriage law approved by legislators in May.
--In Washington, voters will be deciding whether to keep a Legislature-approved "everything but marriage" domestic partnerships law, which grants registered partners the same legal rights as married couples.
--Ohio voters will decide whether to bring casinos to the state.