‘It’s A Tidal Wave’: Democrats Blow Republicans Out Of The Water In Key Elections Across The Country
A year after suffering perhaps the most demoralizing defeat in modern political history, Democrats roared back on Tuesday claiming big victories in races up and down the ballot and across the country.
Democrats scored sweeping victories on the east coast on Tuesday, winning gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and picking up dozens of seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats also swept elections in New York City and Georgia, a traditionally red state, prompting pundits and pollsters to predict a Democratic comeback.
Most notably, Democrats made dramatic gains in Virginia on Tuesday, electing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and flipped dozens of seats in the state legislature.
The breadth of the Democratic wins surprised even the most optimistic party stalwarts, who fretted over their own chances in key races Tuesday. But as the results rolled in, those Democrats said they had energized their core voters and capitalized on President Trump’s unpopularity to reach swing voters.
“This is not a wave. This is a tsunami,” Virginia Del. David Toscano, leader of the Democratic caucus, told The Hill in an interview Tuesday night. “This is a huge, huge sea change here in Virginia.”
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) won the Virginia governorship by a wider-than-expected margin. Democrat Justin Fairfax won the lieutenant governor’s office, becoming only the second African American to win a statewide post in Virginia since Reconstruction, while Attorney General Mark Herring (D) won re-election.
In New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) easily won the right to replace deeply unpopular Gov. Chris Christie (R), cementing Democratic control in the Garden State.
In Washington, Democrat Manka Dhingra (D) appeared headed for victory in a special election to fill an open state Senate seat. Dhingra’s win, in a formerly Republican district, would give Democrats control of all levers of government in the Evergreen State.
Democrats won at least 14 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates, with another three likely headed to a recount. They picked up at least two seats in New Jersey’s state Senate, with several Senate and Assembly districts yet to count ballots, and a seat in New Hampshire’s state House.
Georgia Democrats celebrated winning two deep red districts in special state House elections. Two more Democrats appear likely to face off in a runoff in a suburban Atlanta state Senate district formerly held by a Republican after finishing first and second in the all-party primary — a result that would break the GOP’s supermajority.
Even local elections tipped left on Tuesday. In St. Petersburg, Fla., Mayor Rick Kriseman won re-election, after campaigning with former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic stalwarts, over former Mayor Rick Baker, an upset in a race in which early polls showed Baker leading.
In Manchester, Joyce Craig became the first woman to win the mayor’s office, and the first Democrat to win the city since 2003, after she ousted four-term incumbent Ted Gatsas (R).
Senior Democratic strategists said their candidates had found a way to tie Republican candidates to the deeply unpopular president, not through his uncouth statements and behavior but through his unpopular policies.
“We’re getting better about our Trump messaging,” said Jessica Post, who heads the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a group dedicated to winning state legislative elections.
Toscano agreed, adding: “I don’t think there’s any way you can get away from the notion that this was a sound defeat for Donald Trump tonight with this outpouring of support for Democratic candidates.”
Some Republicans, rattled by Tuesday’s losses, said they had more to learn about running for and winning office with an unpopular Trump in the White House.
“I don’t know how you get around that this wasn’t a referendum on the administration, I just don’t. Some of the very divisive rhetoric helped prompted and usher in a really high Democratic turnout in Virginia,” Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) said, according to The Hill.
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