Stateline Story

GOP Wins Build Momentum for 2010

New Jersey and Virginia on Tuesday (Nov. 3) extended to 20 years their tradition of voting for the same political party in their off-year gubernatorial elections, as Republican Robert McDonnell easily won in Virginia and the GOP's Chris Christie unseated Jon Corzine (D) in New Jersey.

Corzine's loss - in a state that, like most, has been hit hard by the recession - portends badly for incumbents heading into next year's election season, when 37 gubernatorial seats will be contested, including at least 17 in which incumbents still are in the running. More broadly, the losses by Corzine and Virginia challenger Creigh Deeds spell trouble for Democrats, The New York Times reports.

Many states voted on ballot measures Tuesday, on questions ranging from gay marriage to state borrowing.

In a high-profile fight, Maine voters rejected a state law granting same-sex marriage rights, but a similar measure - offering gay couples "everything but marriage" - was on track for victory in Washington state. Both Maine and Washington also voted on - and rejected - tax-cap measures modeled after Colorado's controversial Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

In Ohio, voters approved casinos in four cities. Despite the tough times, Ohio and New Jersey also approved borrowing measures, with Ohioans signing off on $200 million for veterans' services and compensation, and New Jersey voters approving $400 million for land preservation.

Notable 2009 Ballot Measure

Maine

PASS: Repeal law extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

PASS: Expand existing medical marijuana program

FAIL: Cap government spending and require voter approval for certain tax increases

PENDING: Borrow $71 million for highway and other transportation improvements

FAIL: Reduce vehicle excise taxes and exempt hybrids and high-efficiency vehicles from sales taxes for three years

PENDING: Give local officials more time to certify signatures on direct initiative petitions

FAIL: Repeal school consolidation plan governor championed in 2007

New Jersey

PASS: Borrow $400 million for land preservation

New York

PENDING: Amend the constitution to allow prisoners to volunteer for work at nonprofit organizations

PENDING: Allow construction of a power line on currently protected land

Ohio

PASS: Legalize casino gambling

PASS: Borrow $200 million for veterans' services and compensation

PASS: Establish board to oversee livestock farming standards

Texas

PENDING: Ensure homeowners are taxed at residential and not higher, commercial property tax rates

PASS: Amend state constitution and limit local governments' power to take private property for public use for economic development purposes

PENDING: Amend state constitution to allow those enlisted in the military to hold office

PASS: Amend state constitution to protect access to public beaches bordering the seaward shore of Gulf of Mexico

PASS: Allow state money, in addition to federal funds, to help pay for veterans' hospitals

Washington

PENDING: Repeal law extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

FAIL: Cap government spending and require voter approval for certain tax increases