Voters in key states went to the polls Tuesday in the first major round of elections since President Barack Obama's win last year.
In the Garden State, Republican incumbent Chris Christie won and won big. The New Jersey governor used his 20-point victory to present himself as a potential U.S. presidential candidate to take back the White House in 2016.
"Maybe the folks in Washington, D.C., should tune in their TVs right now, see how it's done," Christie told supporters in his victory speech Tuesday night.
Exit polls show he got huge support from voters outside the traditional GOP base, including a majority of women, half of Hispanics, 1 in 5 black voters and even a third of Democrats -- all went for Christie who last night wasn't using the good numbers to talk about future aspirations.
"Whatever the future brings it will bring. But first things first here," Christie said.
In Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC chairman and a close confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, won an extremely tight race. He edged out Republican Ken Cuccinelli and a Tea Party favorite by merely 2 percentage points in the race for the governor's seat.
"There are a lot of proud Democrats here and aren't we proud tonight folks?" McAuliffe told supporters Tuesday.
Even though McAuliffe outspent Cuccinelli and held a double-digit lead in the polls for much of the race, exit surveys show voters who opposed Obamacare overwhelmingly backed the GOP candidate and that narrowed the margin in the last days.
"The rollout of Obamacare that has been disastrous, and now the thought in everyone's mind that this is really bad policy that's gonna hurt me, average American -- think it could helped Cucinelli a lot more if he had been harping on it from day one. If I were him I would really have made an issue on it from early on," said Dr. Paul Bonicelli, a professor of government and executive vice president of Regent University.
Cuccinelli told supporters Tuesday, "We said this race was a referendum on Obamacare, and although I lost, you sent a message to the president of the United States that you believe that Virginia understands that Obamacare is a failure and that you want to be in charge of your health care and not the government."
Meanwhile, the nation's largest city has a new mayor for the first time in 12 years.
Bill de Blasio is taking over from Michael Bloomberg, who's stepping down after three terms. Deblasio is the first Democrat to take the post in 20 years.
In Chicago, the mostly African American city of Detroit has elected Michael Duggan, its first white mayor in four decades. Duggan won by a wide 10-point margin. He faces a huge job: The city has massive debt, one of the nation's highest crime rates, and block upon of block of crumbling neighborhoods.
Tuesday's election results could prove to be an early barometer of the parties' support ahead of the midterm elections in 2014.