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Tri-State Voters Pack The Polls To Make Their Voices Heard In Midterm Elections

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Voters are packing the polls across the Tri-State Area Tuesday, making their voices heard in this year's midterm elections.

With record turnout expected and control of Congress on the line, there's a lot at stake.

In the Senate, 35 seats are up for grabs. Democrats need a net gain of two to take control.

In the House, 435 representatives are up for re-election. Democrats would have to hold onto every seat and earn 23 more to achieve the 218 majority.

VOTING GUIDE: When & Where To Vote, What To Bring, Key Issues, Free Rides

Nationwide, key gubernatorial races are being closely watched, as well.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo voted early Tuesday morning in Mount Kisco.

According to a new Siena College poll, Republican challenger Marc Molinaro has cut the governor's once-huge lead, but Cuomo is still comfortably ahead 49 percent to 36.

"The Republican ticket in New York is a proxy for President Trump and it's a proxy for President Trump's policies. And frankly, the president's policies frighten me," the governor said.

Molinaro said he was feeling confident as he cast his ballot in Red Hook, his upstate hometown.

"I think that New Yorkers are going to give us a chance to set this state straight, to really focus on property tax relief, ending the corruption and finally giving the power of state government back to the people of the State of New York," he said. "I'm hopeful."

MORE: Campaign 2018 Coverage

The candidates weren't the only ones out voting early.

"It's amazing. I don't think I've ever seen turnout quite this high," voter Chris McGinnis told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis in the West Village.

"I already texted my boss and said I'm going to be late, because there's so many people out there. I'm so excited," said Frantz Hall. "My philosophy is: If you don't vote, you can't complain."

Many said they thought the long lines were a good sign.

"I think it's important for young people to vote, because it affects us – that's our future," student Geolie Cayme said.

"It's very, very crowded, but people are trying to help one another, because you can't figure out where to go," said Theresa Nygard.

However, several said scanners were broken across the city, making the wait even worse. New York State Board of Elections officials blamed the state's first double-sided ballot and the wet weather.

MORE: 2018 Election Results

Meanwhile in New Jersey, incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and his opponent, Republican Bob Hugin, cast their ballots after months of mudslinging.

"There's only one way to create a Blue Wave and that's to get in the water and come out to vote," said Menendez.

While Menendez has made the race a referendum on President Donald Trump, Hugin says it's about ousting Menendez.

"People know a lot more about him now and so hey, we're ready to go, we're excited," he said. "The people of New Jersey deserve better."

In the race for U.S. Senator from New York, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is running for her second full term after being appointed in 2009. She faces Republican nominee Chele Farley, a private investment fund executive.

The latest Siena and Quinnipiac polls showed Gillibrand with a more than 20-point advantage.

In Connecticut, voters will decide who succeeds Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Republican Bob Stefanowki, a longtime General Electric executive and former chairman of Dollar Financial Group, is taking on Democrat Ned Lamont, who has a background in the communications industry and founded Campus Televideo.

There could be history in the making as New Yorkers elect a new attorney general. New York City public advocate Letitia James is running on the Democratic side and could be the first black woman elected to a statewide office in New York.

James is facing off against Republican Keith Wofford, a Manhattan attorney. Reform, Libertarian and Green Party candidates are on the ballot, too.

Polls will be open until 8 p.m. in Connecticut and New Jersey and 9 p.m. in New York.

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