(CNN) — A Republican Party that struggled in the wake of recent Democratic landslides sprang back to life Tuesday with wins in hotly contested races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, according to CNN projections.
In Virginia, 55-year-old former state attorney general Bob McDonnell will be the first Republican to win the state’s highest office in twelve years, CNN projects. Republicans will win races for Virginia’s lieutenant governor and attorney general as well.In New Jersey, former federal prosecutor Chris Christie will oust first-term Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, CNN projects. Christie will be the first Republican to win the top office in heavily Democratic New Jersey in 12 years.
Corzine will be the first New Jersey governor to lose a re-election bid since 1993, when then-Gov. Jim Florio, a Democrat, lost to GOP challenger Christie Todd Whitman.The two gubernatorial contests have been deemed by some analysts as the first major referendum on President Obama’s administration. Republicans leaders, demoralized after landslide defeats in 2006 and 2008, have been hoping to capitalize on wins in Virginia and New Jersey to help fuel a nationwide Republican resurgence