Democrats win governors' races in Virginia, New Jersey

RICHMOND, Va. The Latest on the races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey who sought to tap into anti-Donald Trump sentiments have won contests to become their states' next governors.

In Virginia's closely watched contest, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. In New Jersey front-running Democrat Phil Murphy topped Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Tuesday to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Northam rode to victory in part by tapping into voters' regret at Trump's victory in last year's national election.

Murphy had an easier pathway in New Jersey, where Guadagno contended with Trump's and Christie's unpopularity.

Democrats were eager to show they could harness anti-Trump energy into success at the polls, while Republicans hoped to prove they could put together a winning blueprint in blue-leaning states.

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8:12 p.m.

Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia's race for governor.

Early unofficial results show Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie on Tuesday.

Virginia's hard-fought race was closely watched as a swing-state test of President Donald Trump's popularity. Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the state's lieutenant governor, repeatedly tried to tie Gillespie to the president during months of divisive campaigning overshadowed by racial overtones and attack ads.

Northam's victory was in large part due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race.

Gillespie kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president's supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

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8 p.m.

Polls have closed in New Jersey, where voters are picking GOP Gov. Chris Christie's successor.

Democrat Phil Murphy has led Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the polls and fundraising. Murphy steered the campaign toward the unpopular term-limited incumbent, linking Guadagno to Christie frequently. He also tried to rouse Democrat-leaning New Jersey's dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and vowed to block Trump on immigration policies if elected.

Guadagno has focused on lowering property taxes, which are the country's highest, but she also tacked toward Trump's messaging when she called for banning sanctuary cities.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states electing governors on Tuesday. The race is being analyzed for signs on how next year's midterm elections could go, and on how voters view Trump's administration.

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7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Virginia's hard-fought governor's race. But in New Jersey the polls remain open until 8 p.m. as voters in both states choose new governors.

Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam have been locked in a heated race in Virginia to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cannot seek a second term. The contest is viewed by many as a referendum on President Donald Trump and a possible preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

Virginians also cast votes for state attorney general and lieutenant governor, as well as in all 100 state house seats.

New Jersey voters were choosing a replacement for Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who cannot seek a third term. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democratic former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy are the leading candidates.