In a highly polarized electorate, there's not a lot of room for third-party candidates to make a strong showing. Still, minor parties did see some bright spots on Tuesday.
Maine elected an independent to the Senate, former Gov. Angus King, while Vermont re-elected its independent senator, Bernard Sanders.
Both those victories may have been "idiosyncratic," says Cary Covington, a University of Iowa political scientist, having more to do with the personal popularity of the candidates than pointing to any wider desire for independent candidates.
Voters in North Carolina put a Republican in their governor's office for the first time in two decades, and New Hampshire elected a new female Democratic governor.
But the closely watched tossup races in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently serve as governors, remained too close to call late Tuesday.
Eight of the gubernatorial seats up for grabs are now held by Democrats; three are in Republican hands. Republicans currently hold 29 governorships, Democrats have 20, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an independent.
Exit polls showed the economy was Issue No. 1 with voters in this presidential election. And it didn't take long for labor organizers and business leaders to start offering their thoughts on the re-election of President Obama.
Because of White House policies, the U.S. economy is "beginning to pick up steam," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. He cheered Obama's win and put congressional Republicans on notice that Democrats will focus on "ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits."
Transcript of President Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Source: Federal News Service
Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!