FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — In Virginia and New Jersey, you might call it a tale of two Republican parties.
In Virginia, Republican Ken Cuccinelli (koo-chih-NEHL'-ee) is struggling against his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe (mih-KAWL'-ihf), who has tried to tie his opponent to the tea party and the 16-day partial government shutdown.
In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie holds a comfortable lead in polls in the Democratic-leaning state, where he is assembling a broad coalition of voters.
Both states will elect governors Nov. 5. Republicans are closely watching the races for clues to help craft the party's playbook in next year's midterm elections, where nasty GOP primaries already are shaping up as tea party-backed challengers prepare to take on congressional incumbents tied to the party's establishment.