In a blow to President George Bush and his Republican Party, the Democrats have won two elections for state governors, with most observers saying the victories mean Republican majorities in both houses of Congress could be under threat in next year’s mid-term elections.

In Virginia, a traditionally strong Republican state which Mr Bush won by a margin of almost 10 per cent last November, the Lieutenant Governor, Tim Kaine, scored a comfortable victory over the former Republican attorney-general, Jerry Kilgore.

And in New Jersey, which traditionally provides close contests, a Democrat senator, Jon Corzine, scored a resounding victory over his Republican opponent, Douglas Forrester, after a campaign characterised by bitter personal attacks and a combined spending spree of a record $70 million ($95 million) by the two multi-millionaire candidates.

But it was the result in Virginia where Mr Bush’s record low approval ratings – about 38 per cent according to recent polls – that seemed to have the greatest impact. ~The Sydney Morning Herald