Republicans have reasons to be afraid. What happened in Illinois last week fits with an emerging trend that could mean big trouble for the GOP in 2018. In a spate of local elections, Democrats picked up seats in places they’ve never won before. In fact, the GOP was totally trashed by the growing anti-trump-sentiment.
The city of Kankakee elected its first African-American, Democratic mayor. West Deerfield Township will be led entirely by Democrats for the first time, according to The Huffington Post. Elgin Township voted for “a complete changeover,” flipping to an all-Democratic board. Normal Township elected Democratic supervisors and trustees to run its board ― the first time in more than 100 years that a single Democrat has held a seat.
“We had a pretty good day,” said Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. “We won in areas we normally would win, but we also won in areas Republicans never expected us to be competitive in. They were caught flat-footed.”
These are local races, but they fit with a broader pattern that should have Republicans on edge ahead of the 2018 elections: Progressive grassroots activism, exploding with energy since President Donald Trump’s win in November, is fueling Democratic gains in GOP strongholds.
And this week, a Democratic congressional candidate in Kansas nearly pulled off a shocking win in a heavily Republican district. In Georgia, 30-year-old Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff is outpacing his GOP rivals in a race to replace former Rep. Tom Price. The seat has long been Republican and was once held by former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
These races come after a Democratic state Senate candidate in Delaware, buoyed by anti-Trump activism, evaporated her GOP challenger in an election that’s traditionally been close.
Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos said she is “incredibly proud” that the majority of our candidates who were on the ballot in April municipal elections won their races. “If we want to be successful in the heartland, we need to connect Democratic candidates for office at all levels with the best practices, skills, and expertise needed to run winning campaigns.”
“We won in areas we normally would win, but we also won in areas Republicans never expected us to be competitive in. They were caught flat-footed,”
said Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association.
Republicans fear the growing anti-Trump grassroots mobilization could lead to a major defeat in 2018 and beyond.
Well, let’s hope so.