Tuesday night was a big win for Democrats in some of the nation’s largest cities—setting the stage for a new vision and a much needed unified party platform when looking ahead at momentum for 2018.
President Donald Trump’s election a year ago sent ripples throughout the fabric of the Democratic Party. An anticipated election stemming from a Trump presidency, prompted many across the nation to measure Trump’s influence on state and local election results and voter turnout.
The outcome of the election described by some political pundits across media outlets, as a referendum on Trump—most likely pointed to the president’s approval ratings—which sunk to a new low of 36 percent in a CNN poll released on Monday, a day before Election Day.
Voters in Virginia and New Jersey turned out in record numbers to give Democratic gubernatorial candidates large victories Tuesday—sending a clear and resounding message of rebuke to Republican President Donald Trump.
A contested race to watch—many weighed in on the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday evening, fixated on the results, to include many other significant races on election night. Among the most important races on Tuesday night;
In Virginia’s hard-fought contest, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. In New Jersey, front-running Democrat Phil Murphy crushed Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to succeed unpopular GOP Gov. Chris Christie.
Among the groups to swing heavily in Northam’s favor were nonwhite voters, white women with a college degree and those concerned about health care, according to exit polls.
The Democrats’ victory extended beyond the gubernatorial election, with the party securing the lieutenant governor and attorney general races. Democrats also won at least 14 seats in the state’s House of Delegates and could gain control of the chamber for the first time since 2000, depending on the outcomes of four races that qualify for recount, The Washington Post reported.
In another highly publicized race, Democrat Danica Roem replaced a 13-year incumbent Republican to become the first transgender person in the Virginia legislature. The losing candidate, incumbent Republican Robert Marshall, was the author of a controversial, failed bill regulating transgender bathroom use in schools and other government buildings.”
Ralph Northam and Virginia Democrats Sweep State Elections
Tuesday’s electoral results according to election night winners—had far-reaching repercussions in a sharply divided country. “Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we do not condone hatred and bigotry,” Northam said.
Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam walks onstage to celebrate his election at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (Associated Press)
Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Obama-era ambassador to Germany, soundly defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Tuesday night in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. Guadagno struggled to distance herself from the term-limited Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity plummeted during his second term amid scandals, including Bridgegate, that tainted his political career and helped sink his 2016 presidential bid.
Phil Murphy, Governor-elect of New Jersey, speaks at his election night victory rally in Asbury Park, New Jersey, U.S., November 7, 2017. Photo Credit: (Reuters)
Murphy, who has never before held office, promised to “raise income taxes on millionaires, increase funding for public schools and pensions and legalize marijuana,” The Associated Press reported.
“The days of division are over. We will move forward,” Murphy said in his own victory speech, invoking Trump by name as he looked headed to a double digit win. Murphy, who earned a fortune at Goldman Sachs before serving as Barack Obama’s ambassador to Germany, delivered his address in the same spot as Christie in his 2013 re-election— after Christie won big over his Democratic rival.
The wins in Virginia and New Jersey signaled the Democratic party Trump’s stronghold had weakened. Before Tuesday night’s election, the Democratic Party faced numerous challenges when channeling anti-Trump energy into success at the ballot box in a major election this year.
Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, repeatedly sought during long months of divisive campaigning to tie Gillespie to the president. His victory was in large part due to the surge in anti-Trump sentiment since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race in Virginia, a swing-state and the only Southern state Trump lost last year.
Gillespie, meanwhile, sought to keep Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president’s supporters with hard-edge attack ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues. The strategy was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans as race baiting, but drew praise from former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and others as a canny approach in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton last year.
Trump lent limited pre-election support to Gillespie with robocalls and tweets.
In one call, Trump said Gillespie shared his views on immigration and crime and would help “Make America Great Again.” Trump also said Northam would be a “total disaster” for Virginia.
After Tuesday’s loss, Trump wrote in a “Tweet” that Gillespie hurt himself by not more closely aligning himself with the president.
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2017
Northam’s victory is a blow to Republicans, who were hoping that Gillespie could provide a possible roadmap for moderate Republicans to follow in next year’s midterm elections. Several Republicans have announced plans to retire next year instead of seeking re-election, and Gillespie loss may prompt more such announcements.
A former White House aide to President George W. Bush and a Washington lobbyist, Gillespie struck a humble tone in his concession speech as he offered support to Northam. Gillespie wiped tears from his eyes while thanking his wife and said the million people who voted for him love Virginia, and so do those who disagree with them.
“And I know they too are rooting for our new governor to succeed because we all love the commonwealth of Virginia,” Gillespie said.
The mood was subdued at Gillespie’s gathering at a Richmond-area hotel, with supporters not shocked at the outcome but surprised at how poorly Republicans did. Democrats swept all three of Virginia’s statewide races and nearly wiped out Republicans’ overwhelming majority in the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday. A handful of races that will decide control of the body remaining too close to call.
Gillespie supporter Elsa Smith said Republicans needed to do a better job of appealing to minorities if they want to win future races.
“We are not taking care of the demographics the way we should,” said Smith, an owner of a Spanish translation business.
Democrats were gleeful at Northam’s victory party. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly called Northam the “perfect antidote” to the president.
“This is a comprehensive victory from the statehouse to the courthouse. Thank you, President Trump,” Connolly said.
New York City Mayor de Blasio Wins Re-Election by Landslide
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) gives a thumbs-up after casting his vote in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn on Tuesday. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)
Mayor Bill de Blasio defeated Republican Nicole Malliotakis with 66.5 percent of the vote to begin a second term as New York City mayor, The New York Times reported. This marks the first time a Democratic mayor has won a re-election in over three decades. De Blasio, a Democrat who was endorsed by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is known for his progressive politics, was expected to sail easily into office.
New York voters Tuesday also rejected the idea of a constitutional convention, in which elected delegates would have the opportunity to propose changes to the state’s constitution. Voters are presented with the option every 20 years, but the last convention was held in 1967 and the document has not been changed since the 1930s.
The Democratic victories mark Virginia’s shift toward a more liberal electorate. Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009 and now have won four out of the last five gubernatorial contests. Northam, pediatric neurologist and Army doctor, banked heavily during the campaign on his near-perfect political resume and tried to cast himself as the low-key doctor with a strong Southern drawl as the healer to Trump’s divisiveness.
Meanwhile, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, a former Wall Street banker and ambassador to Germany, won in a landslide in New Jersey and will replace the outgoing two-term Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose poll numbers are the lowest in the office’s history.
Dave Wasserman, a polling expert who edits the nonpartisan and others argued that Democrats’ decisive wins Tuesday were an early indicator of the party’s strength entering the 2018 midterm elections.
“You can’t really look at tonight’s results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018,” Wasserman tweeted.
You can't really look at tonight's results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
By LeNora Millen 11-08-17
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