Moderate Republican Chris Christie easily won re-election as New Jersey governor, while a conservative Republican popular with the tea party movement narrowly lost his bid for the Virginia governorship, in two races closely watched for signs of voters' moods ahead of the 2016 presidential race.
Christie's broad, cross-party appeal sealed his status as a top contender if he decides to run for the White House in 2016, and the blunt governor addressed Americans' frustration with partisan stalemate in his victory speech.
``A dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say, 'Is what I think is happening really happening? Are people really coming together?''' Christie told supporters. ``Let me give the answer to everyone who is watching tonight. Under this government, our first job is to get the job done, and as long as I'm governor, that job will always, always be finished.''
Tuesday's results came less than three weeks after the 16-day partial government shutdown, a maneuver pushed by conservative Republicans seeking to delay or defund Democratic President Barack Obama's signature health-care reform law.
Christie for Governor Chairman William Palatucci hinted at possible national aspirations for his candidate. ``The governor's convincing win also sounds a note for our entire country—who you elect and how they govern matters,'' he said.
(Read more: How Chris Christie could save the GOP)
In Virginia, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe was elected governor, largely with the support of the heavily populated Washington suburbs that were hard hit by the government shutdown.