This past Tuesday was Election Day, and even though there were no real major national races, there were numerous important local races that came to a head last night.
In what may be an omen of what’s to come in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats won a significant number of the elections that took place yesterday. Among the most notable of these are the victories of Ralph Northam and Philip Murphy in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, respectively.
Down in Georgia, Democrats picked up three seats in the state legislature Tuesday night. All three of these formerly Republican-held seats were opened up by the appointments of their former occupants to other jobs.
In the House, Democrat Deborah Gonzalez beat Republican Houston Gaines in the race to represent an area around Athens, Georgia, taking over from Republican Regina Quick, who vacated office after being appointed to a judgeship, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Democrats also picked up Republican Chuck Williams’ old seat; Williams was appointed to the Georgia Forestry Commission at about the same time that Quick was appointed to a judgeship.
In the state Senate, two Democrats — Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan — came out on top in an election to replace former Republican Sen. Hunter Hill that saw no candidate getting a clear majority, meaning the race will proceed to a run-off election next month. Sen. Hill’s old district is in the metro Atlanta area. Hill quit his post to run for governor; the election for that race doesn’t come until 2018.
Besides those three House pickups for Georgia Democrats, they will also maintain their possession of at least three seats that were included in Tuesday’s elections. Those seats include the state Senate seat formerly held by Vincent Fort, who is running for Atlanta mayor; the Atlanta-area state House seat formerly held by Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor; and the seat formerly held by Keisha Waites, who decided to run for Fulton County Commission Chair.
Although Republicans maintain their strong majority in the state legislature, the significance of Democratic victories in these three formerly Republican-held seats is great. There have been a number of elections scattered across the months since Donald Trump’s inauguration, and each one has provided an opportunity for Democrats to achieve a sort of symbolic victory to hold onto going into the big midterm elections in 2018. Democrats seem to have gotten those symbolic victories, finally staving off the forward march of Trump-style politics.
Indeed, the president himself campaigned on behalf of the losing Republican candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Soon after Gillespie’s loss was official, Trump took to Twitter while on his overseas trip to try and downplay the fact that the candidate he had pushed for lost. At least as important to him as anything else was distancing himself from Gillespie, showing yet again why Trump is hardly the person for Republicans to rely on for help in their push to gain power. He’s concerned with himself more than any other interest, including the GOP as a whole.
Going into 2018, thanks in no small part to Trump’s dismal at best job performance, Republicans are at a disadvantage in trying to maintain power in the U.S. Congress.
Trump’s approval rating is less than 39 percent, making it lower than that of any other modern president at this point in their tenure.
In that light, only about 36 percent of Americans say they are going into the 2018 Congressional races planning to vote for a Republican.
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