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Data: NJ Secretary of State Office, AP, NYT; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Democrat Phil Murphy eked out a win to remain New Jersey's governor, yet most counties in his state swung right — just as in Virginia — when compared to 2020's Biden-Trump margins.

Why it matters: It was another unexpected alarm bell for Democrats nationally. Such massive swings at the state, county and state legislative levels suggest far more seats are in play in next year's midterms.

By the numbers: Republican Jack Ciattarelli outperformed Donald Trump in all but one New Jersey county, as of Thursday late afternoon, and flipped four counties that voted for Joe Biden a year ago.

  • The only county to vote for Murphy with the same margin as Biden was Hudson County, which includes New York City suburbs like Hoboken.
  • The counties to shift furthest were Atlantic and Somerset. Atlantic voted for Biden by 7 percentage points but Ciattarelli by 12. Somerset moved from Biden +21 to Murphy +2.

What to watch: The shift seen in the governor's race also played out down-ballot.

  • Republican legislative candidates outperformed Trump by a median of 10.8 percentage points in their districts, according to Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman.
  • If counties swung by that median margin across the country, Republicans would pick up 44 House seats in the midterms.

What they're saying: "Again, you had a Democrat who was running on anti-Trump themes, trying to tie his Republican opponent to Donald Trump the way that Terry McAuliffe did to Glenn Youngkin," Mark Rozell, founding dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, told Axios.

  • "And it appears the voters don't think that's all that important, now that Trump is out of office."

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin’s next blow to liberals

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

During his six years as governor, Sen. Joe Manchin developed a rough three-part test he's taken to Washington: Are proposed programs paid for? Do they have bipartisan support? And do they solve a specific problem facing his constituents?

Why it matters: The West Virginia Democrat wields unparalleled power in a 50-50 Senate, but in many ways he still thinks of himself as a state executive with a practical streak — and that may spell trouble for President’s Biden’s $2 trillion social spending plan as it moves to consideration in the Senate.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.