The president and his agenda were clearly on many voters' minds today. Wayne Rippy, a supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, wore an anti-stimulus "Tea Party" button to his polling place in Arlington, Va. -- a reminder of the anti-government fervor that's still simmering across the nation.
"We're looking for a change, but not the change Obama has brought us," Rippy said.
In other major races, New York City voters awarded a third term to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now an independent, despite voter anger over his successful effort to overturn term limits that would have forced him out of office, according to an Associated Press projection. Other cities including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Detroit, and Pittsburgh also chose mayors.
California's lieutenant governor, John Garamendi, is expected to a Northern California House seat in Democratic hands. And voters in Maine and Washington State are registering votes on same-sex marriage.
Gov. Corzine faced the kind of tight reelection race that -- unless the economy turns around fast -- incumbents of both parties may grow to expect in 2010.
Christie, the Republican candidate tapped into distaste for New Jersey Democratic machine politics and Corzine himself, in a race complicated by the presence of self-funded independent candidate Chris Daggett.
Christie surged in polls in the race's closing days, despite the heavy Democratic advantage in the Garden State.
And he swamped Corzine among independent voters, with 58 percent to Corzine's 31 percent, according to exit polls.
That more than canceled out any advantage Obama himself could confer on Corzine, his former Senate colleague who was elected governor in 2005.
The White House has put more on the line politically in New Jersey than in any other of the 2009 races, sensing an opportunity to register a blue dot in a red year.
"Here's the tough part," the president said at a Corzine rally Sunday. "Here's the time when it's not as sexy, it's not as flashy. You know, this is when governing comes in, and we've got to make tough choices. And progress isn't always as quick as we want it."
The president's victory in Virginia last year -- the first Democratic presidential win in the Old Dominion State in 44 years -- was hailed a potential turning point in the heart of the Deep South.
But after winning two straight gubernatorial races in Virginia, Democrats gave back ground with McDonnell's victory, in what appears to be a state-wide GOP sweep of major offices.
McDonnell outpaced Deeds among independents in Virginia, according to exit polls, despite Obama's strong showing among unaligned voters last year.
And Virginia voters expressed severe concerns about the economy: 85 percent of voters said they were worried about the direction of the economy over the next year.
McDonnell tapped into those concerns with a sharp emphasis on the economy and job creation, despite Democrats' efforts to make the campaign turn on social issues.
"There are a couple of things that transcends politics, and that's first and foremost, we're all Virginians, and we're all Americans," McDonnell said at his celebration event in Richmond. "We had independents and Democrats that came over to support us."