WASHINGTON -- Trumpeting victories in governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey, Republicans swept off-year U.S. voting and claimed bragging rights heading into next year's pivotal midterm elections. In New Jersey, Republican Governor Christie Whitman won a cliffhanger re-election in the marquee race of 1997, defeating a surprisingly tough Democratic opponent and overcoming disenchantment among conservative Republicans. A Republican easily won the sole House of Representatives seat at stake in Tuesday's elections in New York City's borough of Staten Island. Republicans stretched their control of the Virginia statehouse with victories in the governor's race and two other statewide offices. Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani marched to re-election in New York City, one of many mayors of both parties returned to office by satisfied voters.