US elections: Big winners but only one with eyes on greatest prize

There are several political winners overnight in America. But only one has his sights on the greatest prize of all.

The pragmatic Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, swept to a big win.

His re-election in a traditionally Democratic state propels Christie to being a extremely strong Presidential contender for 2016.

It wasn't just that he won. It is how he won.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie greets supporters after his election night victory speech. Credit: Reuters

Christie did surprisingly well with women and Latinos - even 20 per cent of African-Americans deserted the Democrats.

These are all constituencies that Republicans need to reach.

And now Republicans know that in Chris Christie they have a politician who can reach deep into enemy terrain.

So watch Christie - he's going places. Whether the destination is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will remain the story line for the next three years.

Bill de Blasio celebrates with his family after his election victory. Credit: Reuters

But elsewhere there were setbacks for Republicans.

They lost the Governorship in Virginia and they were left trailing badly in the Mayoral election in New York.

The Big Apple will now be run by Bill de Blasio, a liberal politician who is promising to raise taxes on the richest New Yorkers to help the poorest.

The election was a reminder of how quickly President Obama will become a lame duck in the build up to 2016. Credit: Reuters

De Blasio has big shoes to fill. Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg were powerful figures who took the city by the scruff of the neck.

Now New Yorkers will have to get used to a more modest, less personality-driven politics.

This was all just a taste of the bruising political battles ahead.

It's also a reminder of how quickly President Obama will become a lame duck as the talk and the money head toward the 2016 contenders.