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Democrats projected to win governor's races in Virginia, New Jersey

November 07, 2017 - 9:27 pm

(NEW YORK) -- Democrats are projected to score a pair of major gubernatorial victories Tuesday, based on ABC News' analysis of the exit poll and analysis of the vote, landing new governors in New Jersey and Virginia as they attempted to showcase party resilience one year after President Donald Trump's surprise election victory.

In Virginia, which was expected to be the closer of the two races, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is projected to prevail over former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, based on ABC News' analysis of the vote, while in New Jersey, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy is projected to beat Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, based on ABC News' analysis of the exit poll.

The Virginia race, in particular, took on the air of a referendum on Trump throughout the campaign. The state's status as a swing state in presidential years and the stark divide between its suburban northern region and rural Appalachian southwest turned it into a representative test case on the country's response to the two major political parties a year after electing the former real-estate mogul.

In New Jersey, sweeping backlash to the deeply unpopular Gov. Chris Christie became the driving force behind Murphy's election campaign. The former ambassador's first run for elected office found him tying Christie to his lieutenant governor, Guadagno.

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