The first statewide elections since 2016 wrap up Tuesday, as well as ballot measures, county races and mayoral contests in every time zone. Here’s a guide to when the polls close (all times Eastern) and what to watch.
Virginia. No one needs a refresher here: The marquee race of the year pits Democrat Ralph Northam against Republican Ed Gillespie for control of the governor’s mansion during the next redistricting cycle. Democrats have been jittery about the race all year, never more so than during a final week that saw their poll lead fall to low single digits as Republican voters rallied.
Still, Democrats entered Election Day with some refreshed confidence and a three-point lead. They’re also cautiously optimistic about electing Justin Fairfax as lieutenant governor and retaining Mark Herring as attorney general. (Democratic attorneys general have been aggressive in challenging the Trump administration, perhaps the party’s strongest line of defense while Republicans control Congress.)
Neither party thinks that Democrats can take over the House of Delegates, which after 2011’s redistricting — and several bad Democratic years — has Republicans in command of a 66-to-34 supermajority. Both parties expect that advantage to shrink, even if Gillespie pulls off an upset, because of changing attitudes in Northern Virginia. A good Republican night might see Democrats win two seats; a bad night could see Democrats cut the Republican majority to 55 to 45.
Atlanta. In 2009, during the first trembles of the anti-Obama earthquake, Democrats nearly lost control of the mayor’s office here to Mary Norwood, a moderate Republican. This year, Norwood is almost certain to make a runoff against one Democrat in a crowded field. Late polling has found an advantage for Keisha Lance Bottoms, but progressive activists from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on down have rallied for Vincent Fort, a left-wing state senator.
Not far away, voters will elect a new state senator from the 6th District — one of several in Georgia that was drawn to elect a Republican but broke big for Hillary Clinton in 2016. If elected, Democrat Jen Jordan would single-handedly reduce the GOP’s advantage from a veto-proof supermajority to a mere majority.
Manchester, N.H. It’s been 12 years since Democrats won the mayor’s office in New Hampshire’s biggest city; they came close in 2015, when Democrat Joyce Craig fell fewer than 100 votes short. Craig is running again in a better climate for her party, and New Hampshire’s Democrats have been on a roll in state legislative races, especially in areas around Manchester that once voted solidly Republican. But Republicans hope Mayor Ted Gatsas will get a boost from another special election, on Republican turf, that cuts into the city.
St. Petersburg, Fla. Republicans were on track to beat Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) in the summer, until former president Barack Obama made one of his few post-presidential interventions, endorsed Kriseman and helped him win the first round of the race against Republican former mayor Rick Baker. Polling now shows Kriseman narrowly ahead, in exactly the kind of place where Republicans worry that their old coalition is being frayed by the unpopular decisions of President Trump.
Charlotte. The increasingly blue city had a Republican mayor as recently as 2009; Democrats have won close races ever since, despite scandal and struggles with turnout. Democrat Vi Lyles beat Mayor Jennifer Roberts in a primary and faces Republican Kenny Smith in a race that gives Democrats their second-best chance of showing life (for the first, see St. Petersburg) in urban areas that recoil from the president. (That story line will continue during Atlanta’s runoff and next week when Albuquerque voters pick between Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis.)
New Jersey. Both parties expect the Democrats to retake the governor’s mansion, with first-time candidate Phil Murphy — a former banker and party fundraiser turned ambassador — enjoying a steady double-digit lead over Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who has not been able to shake the toxic disapproval rating of Gov. Chris Christie (R).
There are just two questions about the result — how far Murphy’s coattails extend and whether he snipped them short. Like former senator and governor Jon Corzine (whom Democrats would prefer you forget), the wealthy nominee has spread cash and campaign help across the ballot, hoping to pull more Democrats into the state legislature and knock off suburban Republicans in places that broke for Clinton last year. But in the race’s last month, Guagdano has pivoted to attacking Murphy on his promise to make New Jersey a “sanctuary state,” warning that he would “violate his oath” and leave the state vulnerable to violent criminals.
Public polling has tightened since that pivot, although the Republican is still more than 10 points behind.
Maine. Voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid in a ballot referendum, an end run around Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vetoed five legislative attempts to get the state to take the money offered by the Affordable Care Act.
Pennsylvania. The whole state will be voting on whether to retain judges in the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts — sharp partisan races in which Republicans have outspent Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin. But for progressives and conservatives alike, the most watched race is the Philadelphia district-attorney fight between Democrat Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman. Krasner, a proudly left-wing lawyer who has represented Black Lives Matter activists and pledged not to pursue the death penalty, won the primary in an upset; establishment voices such as the Philadelphia Inquirer turned around and endorsed Grossman.
New York City. After four years of scandal, of police officers turning their backs and of unnamed Democrats trying to draft Clinton to replace him, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to win reelection by a landslide. The only drama in city elections — and it’s not much drama — comes in Manhattan, where late-breaking revelations that District Attorney Cy Vance may have dodged cases against Jared Kushner and Harvey Weinstein inspired a write-in campaign by socialist Marc Fliedner.
New York state. In 2009, Republicans won upset victories in the suburban counties bordering the city — Westchester and Nassau — that presaged 2010’s anti-incumbent wave. Democrats are trying to win back control of those counties, with a direct anti-Trump campaign against Westchester’s Rob Astorino and a well-funded campaign in Nassau for Democrat Laura Curran. (Last year, Westchester — adopted home of the Clinton family — got bluer, while Nassau joined the rest of Long Island in growing redder.) Democrats have also invested strategically in Syracuse, where Juanita Perez Williams is running for mayor.
Utah. The retirement of Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News pundit, opened up a race in the deep-red 3rd Congressional District. John Curtis, the center-right mayor of Provo, won a primary over two right-wing candidates and is favored over Democrat Kathryn Allen, a doctor who raised nearly $1 million — most of it when Democrats were giving to wound Chaffetz.
Washington state. The most expensive legislative election in this state’s history is taking place in the 45th Senate District, where Democrat Manka Dhingra is facing Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund. The race will decide control of the entire state government. A Dhingra victory would put Democrats fully in control of Washington, with an ambitious progressive agenda on deck.
Victories in New Jersey and Washington would put Democrats in control of eight state government “trifectas,” up from six after the 2016 election.
A Republican win in Virginia would give the GOP its 26th trifecta.