The stakes were high and the mood tense as voters took to the booths Tuesday. Among the closely watched races were the gubernatorial battles in Virginia and New Jersey, and a gay-marriage ballot in Maine. Many speculated that the results of those votes would be read as an important indication of the public mood and Obama's influence just one year after his historic election, but early exit polls show Obama to be a nonfactor in race results. Though regional elections results aren't necessarily a sign of national sentiments, Obama did entrench himself in the local message by appearing in person to campaign alongside Creigh Deeds of Virginia and Jon Corzine of New Jersey. The races come at a crucial time, as lawmakers are trying to push through health-care reform before the end of the year, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hinted Tuesday that may not happen.
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