From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The 2009 gubernatorial elections provided a much-needed momentum boost for Republicans after back-to-back election cycle drubbings.
But the GOP victories in New Jersey and Virginia don't necessarily tell us all that much about how the party will fare in next year's midterm elections: Gubernatorial races generally say less about the national dynamic than they do local issues, and that's certainly true this year.
In New Jersey, Chris Christie's win over Jon Corzine demonstrated that under the right circumstances the GOP can be successful in a blue state. He pulled it off by capitalizing on the state's troubled economic environment.
Virginia's gubernatorial race was for an open seat -- as it incredibly is every four years -- and it was an uphill battle for the Democrats from the beginning. Democrat Creigh Deeds was not a solid candidate, but there were few, if any, alternatives, who could have beaten Bob McDonnell, a solid candidate.
Upstate New Yorkers don't like carpetbaggers. The Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, didn't live in the district, became the national candidate, and didn't have a command of local issues. The local candidate who best understood that district -- Democrat Bill Owens -- won.