New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the keynote address during last month's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Christie's election in 2009 was part of the first wave of Republican gubernatorial victories. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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A Marine Corp F-35B Joint Strike Fighter lands at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland in 2011. Analysts say that if mandatory Pentagon budget cuts are imposed next year, fewer new planes could ultimately be ordered. Cliff Owen/AP hide caption

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Students walk through the University of Texas, Austin, campus near the school's iconic tower on Sept. 27. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

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Voters cast their ballots during early voting in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 2 in the battleground state, five weeks before Election Day on November 6. J.D. Pooley/Getty Images hide caption

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Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices. Gary C. Knapp/AP hide caption

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Supporters of Planned Parenthood wave banners during a rally for President Obama in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, ahead of the opening of the Democratic National Convention. Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Carri Jo Anderson joins the protest in front of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pompano Beach, Fla., in August. As views on homosexuality change, more states are challenging the federal definition of marriage J Pat Carter/AP hide caption

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America's state chefs might be called on to prepare state dinners, travel abroad or host culinary experts from around the world. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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The Social Security tax rate is scheduled to revert to 6.2 percent next year, up from the temporary reduction — to 4.2 percent on an employee's first $110,000 in wages — which has been in effect since January 2011. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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