These are the races to watch on Election Day 2017

Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Virginia's Democratic candidate for governor, Ralph Northam.

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Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor, Ralph Northam.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Several consequential elections will take place on Tuesday, including gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, the New York City mayoral election, and a Utah special election. Virginia’s contest has been the most closely watched and is widely viewed as a bellwether of Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump.

People in Virginia, New Jersey, Utah, and New York City will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in several consequential races.

Virginia’s competitive gubernatorial contest is widely viewed as an early test for Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump, while in New Jersey, Democrats are hoping to take back a blue state that has been in a Republican governor’s hands for the past eight years.

What you need to know about the four elections:



Virginia’s gubernatorial election

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Ed Gillespie, Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor.
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Julia Rendleman/Reuters

Virginia will hold its highly anticipated election to replace Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday.

The race has turned into a bitter feud, with Republican Ed Gillespie accusing his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam, of supporting gun rights for pedophiles, while Northam has labeled Gillespie a white supremacist.

McAuliffe hand-picked Northam, a physician who is his lieutenant governor, to run against Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee whom the governor recently accused of running “the most hateful, racist, bigoted campaign” he’d ever seen.

In a controversial tweet last month, President Donald Trump expressed support for Gillespie and wrote that he hoped the Republican would “save our great statues/heritage!” He was referring to Virginia’s Confederate statues, which were at the center of a deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August.


New Jersey’s gubernatorial election

New Jersey voters will elect a new governor on Tuesday in a race to replace Gov. Chris Christie, whose approval ratings have sunk into the teens, making him the most unpopular governor in the country in two decades.

Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Wall Street banker and ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama, is leading the race against the state’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno. Murphy’s campaign has tried to tie Guadagno to Christie, while Guadagno has attempted to keep her distance from her unpopular boss.

Democrats are in a good position to retake control of the solidly blue state, which has been in Republican hands for the past eight years.


New York City’s mayoral election

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Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor.
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio will face off on Tuesday against Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican assemblywoman representing Staten Island, and Bo Dietl, a former police detective running as an independent.

De Blasio, first elected in 2013, has campaigned on his most significant first-term achievements, which include universal free pre-K for 4-year-olds and creating or preserving thousands of affordable housing units.

Malliotakis has strongly criticized de Blasio’s approach to rising rates of homelessness and campaigned on tighter restrictions for immigrants, including stripping New York City of its “sanctuary city” status and denying undocumented immigrants financial aid for state colleges.

De Blasio is expected to win by a wide margin, but it is unclear what percentage of New York City voters will show up to the polls. In this year’s primary, 14% of the city’s 4.5 million registered voters cast ballots.


Utah’s special House election

Provo Mayor John Curtis, a Republican, is the favorite to win Utah’s special election to fill the House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz, who resigned from office in June.

Curtis, a former businessman who has largely avoided discussing Trump during his campaign, is being challenged by Democrat Kathie Allen, a physician who is polling ahead of Curtis only in liberal-leaning Salt Lake County.

Chaffetz, the former chairman of the House oversight committee who’s now a Fox News contributor and fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, easily won the district for five consecutive terms.

While Allen slightly out-fundraised and out-spent Curtis in the special-election campaign, Curtis is favored to easily win the seat, which hasn’t been held by a Democrat since 1994.