• The ski town of Breckenridge, Colo., voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana possession for adults. The measure is largely symbolic, because pot possession remains a state crime for people without medical clearance.
• Maine voters approved a referendum that stretches the state’s medical marijuana law by expanding the conditions under which people can be prescribed marijuana and by allowing for retail dispensaries from which the drug can be distributed to patients.
Washington Independents who swept Barack Obama to a historic 2008 victory broke big for Republicans on Tuesday as the GOP wrested political control from Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an important midterm election year.
Conservative Republican Bob McDonnell’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and moderate Republican Chris Christie’s ouster of unpopular New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was a double-barreled triumph for a party looking to rebuild after being booted from power in national elections in 2006 and 2008.
Democrat Bill Owens captured a GOP-held vacant 23rd Congressional District seat in New York in a race that highlighted fissures in the Republican Party and illustrated hurdles the GOP could face in capitalizing on any voter discontent with Obama and Democrats next fall.
California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, also a Democrat, won a special election to a vacant congressional seat, Ohio voters approved casinos and a slew of cities selected mayors, including New York, which gave Michael Bloomberg a third term.
The outcomes of Virginia and New Jersey were sure to feed discussion about the state of the electorate, the status of the diverse coalition that sent Obama to the White House and the limits of the president’s influence — on the party’s base of support and on moderate current lawmakers he needs to advance his legislative priorities.
The president had personally campaigned for Deeds and Corzine, seeking to ensure that independents and base voters alike turned out even if he wasn’t on the ballot — and voters rejected them.