Election Day Live Updates: Voters Go to Polls for Off-Year Election With Major Stakes

A multitude of races across the country offer crucial signals for the fate of President Biden’s agenda, none more than the increasingly tight Virginia governor’s race between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe.,

Nov. 2, 2021, 2:07 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 2:07 p.m. ET
ImageIf elected, Eric Adams would become the second Black mayor in New York City's history. The possible milestone was on the minds of voters in several ways on Tuesday.
If elected, Eric Adams would become the second Black mayor in New York City’s history. The possible milestone was on the minds of voters in several ways on Tuesday.Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

As New Yorkers cast their ballots on Tuesday, a broad range of issues, from public safety to education, were top of mind. But some said what was most significant about the current moment was its potential to usher in history.

New York has had 109 mayors; Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee, would be only the second Black man to take the city’s helm if he wins.

To Djene Keita, 30, who is Black, voting for Mr. Adams felt like casting a vote for her young son’s future. “Just having someone for him to look up to and be inspired by would be great,” said Ms. Keita, who is from Harlem.

Mark Godfrey, 65 said Mr. Adams’s ascendance felt similarly personal, a sign of “subtle changes that are occurring in the U.S.” in racial equity and representation.

Mr. Godfrey, a resident of Ozone Park in Queens who said he was an independent, said Mr. Adams’ identity as a Black man and his experiences as a police officer and a victim of police brutality meant that he “understands what being profiled is like.”

Mr. Godfrey said he hoped those experiences would give Mr. Adams a unique and valuable perspective if he takes office.

David N. Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, was elected to a single term in 1989 and died in 2020. He has been remembered as a mentor who inspired other Black leaders to run for office.

Some voters like Esmirna Flores, 38, recalled watching Mr. Dinkins as mayor as they cast their ballots on Tuesday. The chance to elect a second Black mayor was “absolutely awesome,” said Ms. Flores, who is Latina and lives in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx.

“It’s about time that we have more Black representatives, more brown people representing,” she said.

Esmirna Flores said that it would be “absolutely awesome” to elect the second Black mayor in the city’s history.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Still, others like Mable Ivory, 45, a Black voter in Harlem, said they saw Mr. Adams’s history-making potential as something positive, but noted that it did not play a significant role in shaping their vote or compelling them to head to the polls.

There were also mixed feelings among some voters, who appreciated the possible landmark, but disagreed with aspects of Mr. Adams’s platform.

Gabriel Knott, 27, called the milestone an “important step forward.” But he said he remained unsure whether Mr. Adams was the best option for the job among the many Democrats he beat in June’s primary.

“It’s really key to kind of consider what is he going to do for those communities in New York City,” said Mr. Knott, who is from the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. “But I think that it’s really still significant.”

Jonathan Martin

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:58 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 1:58 p.m. ET
Terry McAuliffe is straining to motivate Democratic voters in the tight race for governor.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Though Virginia has been getting bluer, fatigue has been posing a challenge in recent weeks to the comeback attempt by Terry McAuliffe, the former governor, against his Republican rival, Glenn Youngkin.

Voters in the state say they are drained from the Trump administration’s round-the-clock drama, which they felt more acutely because of their proximity to Washington, where the local news is also national news.

Then there is the 19-month fog of Covid-19, which has not only disrupted jobs, schools and daily life but also diverted attention from state politics — which had already been dimmed by the decline of local news outlets and eclipsed by national political news.

“People are a little exhausted,” said Anne Holton, Mr. McAuliffe’s former education secretary.

Mr. McAuliffe, in his well-caffeinated way, has done all he can to sound the alarm.

He stepped up his appearances on national cable news programs and summoned the biggest names in his party to cross the Potomac.

The once and potentially future governor, who by state law could not run for re-election after his term ended in 2018, is also trying to rouse complacent Democrats by amping up his rhetoric against his Republican rival, Glenn Youngkin.

Mitch Smith

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:39 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 1:39 p.m. ET
In October, campaign workers sorted literature and flyers to be used in canvassing voters on whether Minneapolis should replace its Police Department with a Department of Public Safety.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Voters in Minneapolis on Tuesday weighed whether to keep or replace a long-troubled Police Department that became nationally infamous last year after the murder of George Floyd by an officer, which triggered worldwide outrage and protests.

While disgust over Mr. Floyd’s murder is widely shared in Minneapolis, a heavily Democratic city, residents have been split on a ballot question: whether to replace the department with a new agency focused on public health. Progressive Democrats have pushed for the measure, which would go beyond what other cities have done to overhaul policing, while moderate Democrats and Republicans have expressed alarm about a rise in violent crime and called instead for improving the current system.

“They need to be restructured, but don’t get rid of them,” said Carman Mahone, a customer-service worker who opposes the amendment, calling it the most important issue on her ballot. “We need them. Have you seen all this shooting and everything going around?”

But patience with the status quo has worn thin in Minneapolis. Many residents share stories of unpleasant encounters with police officers, or of the fear they felt during the civil unrest that overwhelmed the city last year.

If the amendment passes, the Minneapolis Police Department would cease to exist, and the City Council would have more oversight of a replacement agency. That new department would almost certainly still employ armed officers to respond to some emergencies, but there would no longer be a required minimum number of officers.

Jason Chavez, a City Council candidate whose ward includes the site of Mr. Floyd’s murder, said he supported the ballot item and a public safety approach that focused more on addressing the root causes of crime.

“People oftentimes are like, ‘Look, I don’t feel safe when a cop is near me, but I also don’t feel safe walking outside,'” Mr. Chavez said as he and campaign workers held signs at a busy intersection on Tuesday morning. “We should not have a system that does that.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:21 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 1:21 p.m. ET

By The New York Times

Ellen Barry

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ET
Michelle Wu’s campaign has received nearly 19 percent of individual contributions from donors outside of Massachusetts.Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times

BOSTON — The women running for mayor of Boston, the city councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George, have each raised serious money, totaling $2.15 million and $1.94 million, respectively. But if you look at who is giving them that money, the differences are stark.

Out-of-state donors. Ms. Wu’s candidacy has attracted national attention, with nearly 19 percent of individual contributions to her campaign, totaling more than $400,000, coming from outside of Massachusetts. Out-of-state donations make up only about 7 percent of Ms. Essaibi George’s haul.

Environmental groups. Progressives, who once denounced the influence of super PACs, are now making vigorous use of them, said Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. The Green Advocacy Project, an environmental group based in Palo Alto, Calif., has contributed $250,000 to two super PACs supporting Ms. Wu, who has been leading in polls.

Police officers. Ms. Essaibi George, who was endorsed by the city’s former police commissioner, William Gross, has received more than 430 donations, totaling more than $150,000, from police officers and firefighters, according to state records. By contrast, Ms. Wu, who has pushed for cuts to the police budget, has received only 13.

Developers and builders. The candidates diverge sharply on development, with Ms. Wu favoring the return of rent control and the dissolution of the city’s planning agency. In the last weeks, Ms. Essaibi George has raised more than $38,000 from executives at building firms, the Boston Business Journal found. Ms. Wu took in less than half that much from such sources.

A conservative sneaker magnate. Jim Davis, the chairman of the sneaker company New Balance, has contributed $1,095,000 to a super PAC supporting Ms. Essaibi George. Mr. Davis is better known for funding Republicans, having contributed nearly $400,000 to Trump Victory, a super PAC supporting Donald J. Trump, the former president, in 2016.

Nov. 2, 2021, 12:49 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 12:49 p.m. ET
Gov. Philip D. Murphy cast his vote at a polling site equipped with e-voting machines in Long Branch, N.J., last month.Credit…John Jones/NJ Advance Media, via Associated Press

Election workers in New Jersey encountered problems on Tuesday connecting electronic polling books to the internet, resulting in long lines in some parts of the state as voters tried to cast ballots, including in the race for governor, officials said. The state is using the tablet-like devices for the first time in an election.

Known as e-poll books, the devices pull a list of eligible voters for each polling location from a statewide database. They were used at 139 early-voting sites in New Jersey. The e-poll books are used in tandem with electronic voting machines. It was not immediately clear how widespread the connectivity problems were or whether they were caused by technical issues or user error.

Some voters and elected officials expressed frustration over the delays, which they said had led some people to leave polling sites without voting. “I woke up to a phone call about it,” Mayor Jason F. Cilento of Dunellen, N.J., said in an interview.

Mr. Cilento, a Republican, said he went to the lone polling station in Dunellen, a borough of 7,400 people in Middlesex County, in central New Jersey, where he found 30 to 40 people waiting in line as election workers struggled to get the system online.

“They were annoyed, of course,” he said. “Then there were reboots.”

Mr. Cilento said the state should consider extending voting hours beyond 8 p.m., although the problem seemed to have been resolved later on Tuesday morning, he said.

Speaking in Newark on Tuesday, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat who is seeking re-election, said that there were no immediate plans to extend voting, but that he would speak to his aides about the situation.

“Apparently in some places there was confusion,” Mr. Murphy said. “I don’t think it was widespread. And by the way, we got 207,000 people to vote early in person, which is far more than I thought we would on Year 1.”

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey’s secretary of state, the top election official, said in a statement that the problems were isolated.

“Most of the state’s approximately 3,400 polling locations have been operating since 6 a.m. without reported incident,” the spokeswoman, Alicia D’Alessandro, said.The affected sites have been or are being addressed. If any voters were unable to vote due to these issues, we encourage them to return to their polling location and cast a ballot.”

Some voters asked what steps the state was taking to address the problem.

“Hey @NJGov what’s with the crazy polling delays?” Carlton Haelig, a doctoral student at Princeton University, said on Twitter. “WiFi systems down at multiple locations. No one has voted at my location since they’ve opened. Polling volunteers telling people to go home.”

About 35 minutes later, he said that he was still waiting.

“They’re checking in one voter about every 15 minutes,” he said. “People clap with each successful attempt to use the check in computer. This is an absolute mess.”

Jennifer Medina

Nov. 2, 2021, 12:27 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 12:27 p.m. ET
Allison Russo received a last-minute endorsement from President Biden in a race for an Ohio congressional seat.Credit…Jay Laprete/Associated Press

Voters in congressional districts in Ohio and Florida are headed to the polls for special elections on Tuesday, in races that are unlikely to flip any seats but could provide clues for the future of the Democratic Party.

President Biden issued a last-minute endorsement in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, praising Allison Russo, a Democrat who has had an uphill battle against Mike Carey, a Republican and the chairman of the Ohio Coal Association. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald J. Trump won the district, which includes the outskirts of Columbus and the surrounding areas, by 14 points. Mr. Trump has endorsed Mr. Carey.

The outcome of the race could show whether Republicans have gained strength in the suburbs, and also help set the stage for the 2022 midterm elections.

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, which encompasses most of Cleveland and much of Akron, attracted big Democratic names and millions of dollars during the primary race earlier this year between Shontel Brown and Nina Turner, a former state senator and co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Ms. Brown narrowly won the primary and is likely to win the general election to represent the Cleveland district, replacing Marcia L. Fudge, who was appointed secretary of housing and urban development in the Biden administration. Laverne Gore is running as the Republican nominee for the second time in the district, after losing in 2020’s landslide for Ms. Fudge.

In southeast Florida, 11 Democrats are competing for the party’s nomination for the 20th Congressional District, which wraps in predominantly Black, largely Democratic communities in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The seat was left open when Alcee L. Hastings, a Democrat, died from pancreatic cancer earlier this year. The general election is not scheduled until January, and the winner of the Democratic primary will likely go on to capture the seat.

The candidates include threee state legislators: Bobby DuBose, Omari Hardy and Perry Thurston; two Broward County commissioners, Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief; a former Palm Beach County commissioner, Priscilla Taylor; and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a health care executive.

Unlike the race in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, national groups have largely stayed out of the Florida contest.

The race has instead focused on competing Democratic factions over the passage of President Biden’s budget reconciliation bill. Several candidates have also promised to help pressure the Biden administration over its policy toward Haiti and Haitian immigrants, including tens of thousands who live in the district.

Tariro Mzezewa

Nov. 2, 2021, 12:20 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 12:20 p.m. ET
Five major candidates are seeking to replace Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who did not seek re-election.Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

ATLANTA — On Tuesday, crime and policing were on the minds of Atlanta residents at the polls. City voters are choosing a mayor to replace Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in the spring that she would not seek re-election.

Five major candidates are in the race, including Kasim Reed, a former mayor. If no one receives a majority of the vote, the two top vote-getters will advance to a runoff on Nov 30.

Rachel Arney, who lives in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood, was voting at a library branch. She said she was frustrated that many of the candidates supported increasing the police presence in the city.

“In light of last year’s protests and talk about social justice, I’m disappointed that it feels like everyone has gripped harder to loving cops,” Ms. Arney said. She voted for Antonio Brown, a City Council member, because of his involvement in the protests and his vote against building a new police training academy.

Rachel Arney.Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Her fiance, Taylor Shelton, had similar matters on his mind. “Everyone in our neighborhood has a Black Lives Matter sign in the yard, and right next to it is a sign for a City Council member who wants to increase support for the police, which is so hypocritical,” he said.

Shirley Ferguson, who voted at a library in the West End, said she was especially worried about public safety and increasing crime. She said she was looking for a candidate “who understands that I want to walk down the street at night without looking over my shoulder every minute.” She voted for Sharon Gay, a lawyer in private practice.

Jennifer Holbach, who voted at a library branch near Midtown, said that she thinks the crime problem in Atlanta has been misrepresented. Though crime is up, the solution is not to increase the police presence, she said, but to focus on housing and employment. She voted for Felicia Moore, the City Council president.

“The city is at a crossroads and needs to be led by someone who knows it and its problems well,” Ms. Holbach said.

At a Baptist church in the Atkins Park neighborhood that served as another polling place, Terri Russell, a retired county tax system employee, said that the election was too important to skip, even though she was feeling unwell with bronchitis and asthma.

She would not say which candidate she had voted for, but said she was looking for someone who would look out for all of Atlanta’s residents. “We need someone with the city’s best interests, not personal interests, at heart to guide it at this juncture,” she said.

Nov. 2, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ET
Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis, who is up for re-election on Tuesday, opposes an amendment that would abolish the city’s Police Department.Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

Days after a police officer murdered George Floyd, protesters gathered outside Mayor Jacob Frey’s home demanding that the Minneapolis Police Department be abolished. The mayor said no. The crowd responded with jeers of “Shame!”

On Tuesday, nearly a year and a half since Mr. Floyd’s death thrust Minneapolis into the center of a fervent debate over how to prevent police abuse, voters in the city will have a choice: Should the Minneapolis Police Department be replaced with a Department of Public Safety? And should Mr. Frey, who led the city when Mr. Floyd was killed and parts of Minneapolis burned, keep his job?

Minneapolis became a symbol of all that was wrong with American policing, and voters now have the option to move further than any other large city in rethinking what law enforcement should look like. But in a place still reeling from the murder of Mr. Floyd and the unrest that followed, residents are deeply divided over what to do next, revealing just how hard it is to change policing even when most everyone agrees there is a problem.

Many progressive Democrats and activists are pushing to reinvent the government’s entire approach to safety, while moderate Democrats and Republicans who are worried about increases in crime say they want to invest in policing and improve the current system. In one September poll, 49 percent of residents favored the ballot measure, which would replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety, while about 41 percent did not.

The divisions extend to the top of the Democratic power structure in Minnesota. Representative Ilhan Omar and Keith Ellison, the state attorney general, support replacing the Police Department. Their fellow Democrats in the Senate, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, oppose it, as does Mayor Frey.

Ellen Barry

Nov. 2, 2021, 11:23 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 11:23 a.m. ET

Ellen Barry

Boston will elect a woman to be mayor for the first time. The candidates are city councilors Annissa Essaibi George, a former schoolteacher, and Michelle Wu, who has galvanized young progressives.

Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times
Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times

Nov. 2, 2021, 10:57 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 10:57 a.m. ET

By Elliot deBruyn and Niko Koppel

We spoke with voters in Richmond, Va., to understand the issues that are getting them out to vote this year.

Nov. 2, 2021, 10:44 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 10:44 a.m. ET
By using Vote411 and entering your address, you can find out more about the elections where you live.Credit…Ahmed Gaber for The New York Times

Just because it’s an odd-numbered year — a hiatus from Electoral College math and midterm machinations — doesn’t mean that Tuesday’s elections are lacking national implications and drama.

There is an array of key races across the country, from gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey to mayoral elections in New York City, Boston and Minneapolis, where voters will also decide the future of that city’s embattled police department. In Pennsylvania, a state Supreme Court seat — an elected position — is at stake, as are a multitude of municipal school boards and other local offices.

Here’s a guide to where and how you can vote.

If you live in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia or Washington State, you have statewide elections on Tuesday. By using Vote411 and entering your address, you can find out more about more about the elections where you live.

Each state and many municipalities typically post copies of sample ballots online so that voters can familiarize themselves with the candidates and referendum questions. Vote411 also keeps a full list of races.

If you want to vote in person, each state has an online portal where you can look up your polling location and hours (and see if you have early-voting options).

Some states require voters to show identification. You can find out here whether your state has an ID requirement, and if so, what forms of ID qualify.

Most states are required to offer residents a provisional ballot if poll workers can’t find your registration, which can happen if there’s a clerical error. Be sure to ask for a provisional ballot, which will be counted once election officials verify your registration.

Many states require mail-in ballots to be postmarked by Election Day, so if you haven’t requested one by now, it may be too late. Depending on your state, you may be able to pick up and return a mail ballot at an election office.

You can contact the election office for your state or territory, or you can file a report with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. The Justice Department also runs a voting rights hotline at 1-800-253-3931. The American Civil Liberties Union runs a nonpartisan hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Votes cast in person on Tuesday will be counted by that night, though state laws vary for when election workers can start counting mail-in ballots. If a race turns out to be lopsided, a winner could be declared soon after the polls close. Be prepared to wait until late Tuesday night — or beyond — if it is a tight contest.

Jeff Mays

Nov. 2, 2021, 10:20 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 10:20 a.m. ET

Jeff Mays

Reporting from New York

New York City residents are poised to elect Eric Adams as the second Black mayor and Alvin Bragg as the first Black district attorney of Manhattan. Follow our updates.

Stephanie Saul

Nov. 2, 2021, 10:07 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 10:07 a.m. ET
Challengers are seeking to oust four incumbents on Tuesday in a special recall election for the Mequon-Thiensville School Board in an affluent Wisconsin suburb north of Milwaukee.Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

Local school board races are normally sleepy political contests that garner little attention, but not this year. School elections nationwide have become partisan contests with unusually high participation, sparked by debates over mask mandates and teachings on race.

Candidates have drawn money and help from politicians and outside groups — some hoping that these elections increase enthusiasm and turnout in next year’s midterms. Here are some of the races we’re watching.


This special recall election in an affluent suburb north of Milwaukee pits four incumbents against challengers, led by Scarlett Johnson, a local mother who claims the system of 3,700 school students is influenced by critical race theory.

While Wisconsin school board races are supposedly nonpartisan, it’s clearly red vs. blue in Mequon-Thiensville. Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican running for governor in 2022, visited to help get-out-the-vote efforts for the challengers, and Dick Uihlein, a wealthy Republican megadonor from Illinois, contributed money.


A slate of three candidates in this district southwest of Kansas City has support from the 1776 Project, a national political action committee that claims critical race theory is hostile to white people. The PAC has raised more than $400,000 to bolster more than 50 school board candidates across the country — focusing on campaigns in seven states.

Andrew Van Der Laan, a local business consultant running against one of the 1776 Project candidates, points out that there is no critical race theory in the district’s curriculum. “It does not seem to be a pressing issue,” said Mr. Van Der Laan, whose platform focuses on recovering from the coronavirus pandemic by measuring learning loss among students and figuring out how to make up for it.


This suburb west of Cleveland is home to one of the more hotly contested school board races in Ohio, where all 660 districts are holding elections. There is a statewide total of 2,628 candidates — a 30 percent increase since 2019.

In Bay Village, residents say they have received a barrage of literature and social media. One slate of three candidates is backed by a group called Ohio Value Voters, which opposes critical race theory and sex education in schools. Another group, Protect Ohio’s Future, which says it supports diversity and inclusion, has endorsed the other three candidates.


Charter schools — not critical race theory — are the big issue in this race that has drawn more than $800,000 in outside spending. Twelve candidates are running for four open seats on the school board, which serves 92,000 students, with most aligned with either teachers’ unions or so-called education reform groups that support the creation of charter schools.

Nov. 2, 2021, 9:28 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 9:28 a.m. ET

By The New York Times

Voters across the country — shown here from Georgia, New York, Virginia and Minnesota — woke up early to beat the lines on Tuesday.

Tracey Tully

Nov. 2, 2021, 8:54 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 8:54 a.m. ET
Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey has maximized the power of incumbency in his re-election bid.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey is hoping to do what the state’s last three Democratic governors have failed to accomplish: win re-election.

Jack Ciattarelli, a Republican trying to deny Mr. Murphy that victory, reminded voters of the dry spell as he barnstormed in recent weeks, visiting diners, veterans halls and more diners, hammering home his campaign’s Wall Street-versus-Main Street theme.

“He’s taking us to a different place,” Mr. Ciattarelli said of Mr. Murphy, a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive and self-described progressive. “It’s not who we are.”

If public polling proves accurate, Mr. Murphy, 64, is poised to outrun state history and become the first Democratic governor that voters send back to Trenton for a second term since 1977, when Brendan T. Byrne was re-elected.

But with New Jersey’s one of just two U.S. governors’ races ahead of next year’s midterm elections, all eyes are on the margins and the clues they might offer about Democrats’ odds of moving President Biden’s ambitious agenda across the finish line and retaining their slim majority in Congress.

Every seat in the State Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, is also on the ballot on Tuesday, and voters will face two referendums, including one that would allow betting on New Jersey college teams and collegiate events held in the state.

New Jersey legalized sports betting in 2018, and in September became the first state in the country to rake in more than $1 billion in bets in a single month. But collegiate events held in the state, or those involving New Jersey teams playing elsewhere, were excluded because of concerns over cheating.

The 2020 presidential election was held predominantly using mail-in ballots to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But this year, for the first time, voters in New Jersey were able to cast ballots early — on machines.

Roughly 208,000 of the state’s 6.5 million voters took advantage of the nine-day early voting window, which included four weekend days.

Democrats have expanded their voting edge in New Jersey over the last decade, and now have nearly 1.1 million more people registered than Republicans do, widening the gap by roughly 400,000 voters since 2011. Mr. Byrne won re-election by just under 300,000 votes.

The final sprint to Tuesday laid bare one of the main differences in the two candidates’ campaigns.

Mr. Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman, crisscrossed the state in a black S.U.V., shaking hands at booths in at least 14 diners in the last week.

Mr. Murphy stumped with national Democratic luminaries, including former President Barack Obama, the first lady, Jill Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

He also maximized the power of incumbency, appearing with President Biden to discuss a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has been bogged down in Washington and its importance for fixing things like the Portal Bridge, an old and cranky movable rail span a few miles from Manhattan that regularly delays rush-hour commutes.

Four recent public polls showed Mr. Murphy ahead by a comfortable margin.

But at a get-out-the-vote rally with Mr. Murphy at Rutgers University on Thursday, Senator Sanders warned an enthusiastic crowd of students that turnout was expected to be low, and that victory would be in the margins.

“Let us win this election,” he said. “Let us win it in landslide proportions. And let us tell Republicans that their day is over in New Jersey.”

Ellen Barry

Nov. 2, 2021, 8:54 a.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 8:54 a.m. ET
Michelle Wu and her family arrive to vote in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood on Tuesday.Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times

Polls since the preliminary election in the Boston mayor’s race have shown Michelle Wu with a substantial lead over her opponent, Annissa Essaibi George. Both women are Democrats and at-large city councilors.

Though Asian Americans are the country’s fastest-growing electorate, Asian American candidates have not fared well in big-city races. Of the country’s 100 largest cities, six have Asian American mayors, all in California or Texas, according to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

Ms. Wu, a protegee of Senator Elizabeth Warren, began her political career in Boston as it was turning a corner, its electorate increasingly young, well-educated and left-leaning.

She proposes to make Boston a laboratory for progressive policy; to reapportion city contracts to firms owned by Black Bostonians; to pare away the power of the police union; to waive fees for some public transportation; and to restore a form of rent control, a prospect that alarms real estate interests.

“In nearly a decade in city government, I have learned that the easiest thing to do in government is nothing,” Ms. Wu said. “And in trying to deliver change, there will be those who are invested in the status quo who will be disrupted, or uncomfortable, or even lose out.”

Critics says Ms. Wu is promising change she cannot deliver, since several signature policies, like rent control, require action by state bodies outside the mayor’s control.

“Michelle talks, day in and day out, about things that are not real,” said Ms. Essaibi George, who has run as a pragmatic centrist and is an ally of former Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “My style is to be accurate in the things I say out loud, and to make promises I can truly keep.”

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