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Republican Chris Christie has taken an early lead in New Jersey, leading Gov. Jon Corzine 52 to 42 with 35 percent of precincts reporting. Chris Daggett, the Independent candidate, trails with six percent of the vote.

The all-important Independent vote appears to be going to Christie, with an early CNN exit poll showing 58 percent of Independents voting for the Republican candidate and only 33 percent going to Corzine. According to the poll, 28 percent of New Jersey voters are Independents.

CNN's exit polling also shows that 38 percent of voters said they were looking for change as the number one quality in a candidate. Most of those voted for Christie.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), a leader among House Republicans and a potential national candidate in 2012, just finished telling the crowd at Bob McDonnell's victory party in Virginia that the GOP's clean sweep of statewide offices tonight signals the beginning of a new era for Republicans across the country.

"Tonight's great victories show we the people are fed up with the Obama, Pelosi, Kaine agenda," he told a cheering crowd.

"Thank you for supporting freedom," he added at the end of his remarks. "Because of you, the Republican resurgence begins here in Virginia."

The AP and MSNBC have called the Virginia gubernatorial race for Republican Bob McDonnell.

The unsurprising win keeps the Virginia tradition going - the party that controls the White House has lost the election for governor since 1977.

Though it came later than expected, it's bad news for Virginia Democrats, who are likely to lose House seats tonight and potentially the downticket races as well. The Democrats have held the governor's mansion since 2002 and have made gains in recent years.

President Obama was the first Democrat to win the state's presidential vote since 1964, and Virginia's electoral votes put him over the top to capture the presidency.

Creigh Deeds (D) had banked his entire strategy in the last few weeks on turning out Obama voters.

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Bob McDonnell's not the only Republican celebrating in Virginia tonight. Early poll results show the GOP has swept all three statewide races in Virginia by large margins.

This year's Republican ticket in Virginia was viewed as one of the most socially conservative in recent memory, with both gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and Attorney General nominee Ken Cuccinelli publicly opposed to abortion in all cases, including rape and incest.

As Virginia Democrats brace for a potential sweeping loss to Republicans tonight, Organizing for America chooses to reminisce.

The Barack Obama Twitter feed posted for its more than 2.5 million subscribers at 7:06 p.m.:

"Tomorrow will mark a year since our historic victory. Do you have a favorite 2008 Election Day memory? Share your stories via #Nov4"


Tonight the "By the People" documentary about the 2008 campaign is debuting on HBO, so Democrats who don't want to hear bad news can just change the channel and relive the good 'ol days.

As we reported yesterday, OFA is organizing campaign reunions.

Half an hour after polls closed and with less than 5 percent of precincts reporting in Virginia, gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R) is leading Creigh Deeds (D).

It's a better-than-expected result at this early hour, since Deeds had been trailing by double digits and many thought the race would be called in McDonnell's favor by this point.

The early exit polls suggest low turnout, a polarized electorate with Democrats favoring Deeds, Republicans backing McDonnell and McDonnell winning more of the indpendent voters.

Hotline OnCall has collected exit poll results.

Yesterday, we showed you this report by The Washington Independent that a whopping 95 percent of Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman's cash came from outside the district. Today, the Independent crunched some more numbers and found that Democrat Bill Owens also got most of his cash from outside the district -- 86 percent of it.

Only $121,596 of Owens' total (as of Oct. 15) $843,441 came from the district. The biggest donor, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, contributed about 11 percent.

By contrast, $12,360 of the $265,341 Hoffman raised by that same date came from inside the district. His biggest donor was the conservative Club for Growth, which raised more than a third of that.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told MSNBC's Ed Schultz today that a win for Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman in NY-23 would "spell big trouble."

"If the Conservative Party candidate wins, it will just further embolden the right wing, the far right extremes in all these Republican primaries that are going on around the country, which will determine what happens in 2010," Van Hollen said.

Video after the jump.

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The White House for more than a week has been saying today's elections don't reflect on the 2010 landscape for the Democratic party or President Obama.

That's been echoed by Democrats across the spectrum today as the party braces for a probable loss in Virginia, a possible loss in the 23rd Congressional district in New York and a toss-up in New Jersey.

"I don't think looking at the two gubernatorial races, you can draw with any great insight what's going to happen a year from now any more than if Jake's team wins tomorrow night I can tell who's going to win next year's World Series," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.

"We don't look at either of these gubernatorial races or the congressional race as something that portends a lot for our legislative efforts going forward or political prospects in 2010," he added.

"In 2001, President Bush lost Virginia and New Jersey. I don't believe that it impacted his legislative initiatives going forward," Gibbs said.

But TPM intern superstar Darius Tahir went searching, and found plenty of examples of Democrats saying Bush was doomed.

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