Kristin Davison, one of the strategists for Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R), told Politico how she would have advised the Democrats if they had been working for Terry McAuliffe (D).
Said Davison: “I would have hit us on education first a lot harder than they did. That’s actually what I was afraid of for most of the time, annoying everyone about it. But Terry focused so much on Trump and made his campaign so much about Trump, then abortion, and then I think climate change was in there for a minute. It’s like they literally took the Rolodex of all the base issues and tried to hit us as being extreme on them.”
She added: “And what they should have done instead was go towards the typical: Democrats are very good at painting Republicans as being bad on education, saying we’re going to fire teachers and cut pay. Having been governor before, he had a record there. He should have hit us first and disqualified the issue.”
Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase (R) said that she “is drafting legislation to limit mail-in voting and require a photo ID now that Virginia will have a Republican governor,” the Virginia Scope reports.
“She also plans to push for a forensic audit of Virginia’s 2020 election results after spending recent months traveling the country participating in election audit protests like the one she organized outside of the Virginia State Capitol in August.”
Mona Charen: “Isn’t it interesting that Democrats appear to have forgotten how to manipulate voting machines, stuff ballot boxes, engage in the wee-hour ballot dumps, collect ballots from dead people, and coordinate with Chinese/Venezuelan governments to change the outcome of elections?”
“Two-thirds of Republicans believe that’s what happened in 2020. And yet, only one year later, Democrats have lost the knack?”
William Saletan: “It’s true that Trump has a lot of supporters, and many turned out for Youngkin. In the network exit poll, 42% of people who cast ballots in the Virginia gubernatorial race said they had a favorable view of the former president, and they voted almost unanimously for Youngkin.”
“But these people were outnumbered by the 54% of respondents who expressed an unfavorable view of Trump. If that majority had voted for McAuliffe with anywhere near the same degree of unanimity, Youngkin would have lost. Instead, the Republican won by peeling away one of every six anti-Trump voters.”
“On average, in these polls, Youngkin got more than 7% of Biden voters, while McAuliffe got only 2% of Trump voters. Biden voters, not Trump voters, were decisive.”
First Read: “Yes, the political environment was rough for Democrats on Tuesday night. Yes, playing the Trump and Jan. 6 cards didn’t work as well as they had hoped. And, yes, Democrats lost independent voters in Virginia, per the exit poll.”
“But there’s an even more troubling takeaway for Democrats now that the dust has settled on Tuesday’s results: They’re losing white voters, rural voters and voters without college degrees by such large margins that it makes winning elections hard.”
“I blew it. The final Monmouth University Poll margin did not provide an accurate picture of the state of the governor’s race. So, if you are a Republican who believes the polls cost Ciattarelli an upset victory or a Democrat who feels we lulled your base into complacency, feel free to vent. I hear you.”
“I owe an apology to Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign — and to Phil Murphy’s campaign for that matter — because inaccurate public polling can have an impact on fundraising and voter mobilization efforts. But most of all I owe an apology to the voters of New Jersey for information that was at the very least misleading.”
Politico: “One day after blue-state Democrats were pummeled at the polls — losing the Virginia governorship and nearly losing in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy squeaked to reelection by a razor-thin margin — Republicans redoubled their efforts to expand the Senate map by convincing several reluctant top-tier Senate prospects to run in 2022.”
“This time, the recruitment pitch came with a powerful new data set drawn from the off-year elections.”
David Wasserman calculates that Republican candidates for New Jersey State Senate outperformed the 2020 Biden/Trump results in the districts by a median 10.8 points.
In races for Virginia’s House of Delegates, the GOP beat the 2020 by a median 12.4 points.
“If Republicans were to outperform the 2020 Biden/Trump margin by 10.8 points (New Jersey) in all 435 House seats in 2022, they would pick up 44 House seats for a 257R-178D majority.”
“If they were to outperform by 12.3 points (Virginia), they would pick up a mammoth 51 seats for a 261R-174D split — and that’s not even factoring redistricting, which could help boost GOP fortunes even more.”
VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE ELECTION RESULTS. Republicans, as of Wednesday evening, lead in 52 of the 100 seats in the Virginia state House, which Democrats had held with a 55-45 majority going into the election. The Virginia Public Access Project reports that there are three contests where the margin between the candidates is less than 1%: HD-21, where Democratic incumbent Kelly Fowler holds a 234-vote edge, and HD-85 and HD-91, where Republicans Karen Greenhalgh and A.C. Cordoza have advantages of 202 and 272 votes, respectively.
VPAP adds that on Friday, local election officials will tally any provisional votes as well as ballots received through noon Friday that were postmarked by Election Day; VPAP continues that “it’s hard to say how many mail ballots might come in by Friday.”
OHIO ELEVENTH AND FIFTEENTH CDs ELECTION RESULTS. Ohio’s two special House elections unfolded exactly as expected, with Democrat Shontel Brown easily dispensing with her Republican opponent 79-21 in the safely blue 11th District, while Republican lobbyist Mike Carey defeated Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo 58-42 in the solidly red 15th. The 11th went for Joe Biden 80-19 and the 15th voted for Donald Trump 56-42. Once Brown and Carey are sworn in, the only vacant seat in the House will be Florida’s 20th.
CLEVELAND MAYOR ELECTION RESULTS. Nonprofit head Justin Bibb beat City Council President Kevin Kelley, a fellow Democrat who had the backing of retiring four-term incumbent Frank Jackson, 63-37. Bibb, who is 34, will be the second-youngest mayor in the city’s history.
PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT ELECTION RESULTS. Republican Kevin Brobson defeated Democrat Maria McLaughlin 52-48 to hold an open seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court for the GOP. Democrats, however, still retain their 5-2 advantage on the bench, and barring unexpected vacancies, the soonest Republicans could retake the majority would be 2025.
CINCINNATI MAYOR ELECTION RESULTS. Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval defeated his fellow Democrat, City Councilman David Mann, 66-34 in the race to succeed termed-out Mayor John Cranley, an accomplishment that makes him the first Asian American to lead the Queen City. Pureval was the 2018 Democratic nominee against Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in the 1st Congressional District, while Mann lost his 1994 bid for re-election to Congress to none other than Chabot.
NASSAU COUNTY (NY) EXECUTIVE ELECTION RESULTS. With 257,000 votes tabulated, Republican Bruce Blakeman holds a 52-48 lead, a margin of close to 12,000 ballots, over Democratic incumbent Laura Curran in the race to lead this large Long Island county. Curran said early Wednesday that she wasn’t conceding, declaring, “There are many thousands of absentee ballots that still must be counted, with more coming in.” Newsday reports that the Nassau Board of Elections had received close to 20,000 uncounted absentees as of Monday.
BUFFALO MAYOR ELECTION RESULTS. Mayor Byron Brown (D) told CNN that his write-in victory on Tuesday was a rebuke of “socialism” and efforts to take money away from law enforcement.
Said Brown: “I think it clearly is a rebuke of defund the police, it is a rebuke of socialism, and I think there were those from outside the city of Buffalo that underestimated the Buffalo community. They tried to come in and tell us who to vote for, and the people fought back, and we won.”
NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL. Incumbent Tish James’ decision to seek the Democratic nomination for governor means that New York will host an open seat race for one of the most prominent attorney general offices in the country. There are plenty of Democrats who could end up running here, but the eventual nominee should have no trouble prevailing in next year’s general election for an office the Republicans haven’t won since 1994.
One familiar name who has already taken action is law professor Zephyr Teachout, who said in early October she’d run for attorney general if James didn’t and filed campaign paperwork Thursday. Teachout waged a high-profile, but unsuccessful, 2014 primary campaign from the left against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and she was Team Blue’s nominee two years later for the swingy 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley.
Teachout went on to run for attorney general in 2018 after incumbent Eric Schneiderman resigned in disgrace, and she hoped that she’d be able to excite progressives for her campaign against James, who was New York City public advocate at the time, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. James, though, beat Teachout 40-31, with another 25% going to Maloney.
The City’s Josefa Velásquez also reported on Oct. 21 that Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez was sounding out supporters about a potential campaign to succeed James. A source close to Melinda Katz, who is the top prosecutor in neighboring Queens, also told Velásquez that “she’s certainly going to be ready to run” for an open seat.
Velásquez added that state Sen. Mike Gianaris, who is the chamber’s deputy majority leader and the head of Team Blue’s state Senate campaign arm, was also interested, while Assemblyman Clyde Vanel has said he’s thinking about it as well.
City & State also mentioned Maloney as a possibility, though he’s currently busy running the DCCC and hasn’t shown any obvious interest in another A.G. bid. Maloney didn’t need to sacrifice his House seat to run for attorney general in 2018 because New York at the time held federal primaries in June and state-level nomination contests in September, which allowed Maloney to be able to continue seeking re-election following his statewide defeat. However, after Empire State Democrats regained control of the state Senate in 2018, they consolidated the primaries the following year, so any House member this time would need to choose which post to run for.
The Albany Times Union also name-drops Rep. Kathleen Rice as a potential candidate, but she also hasn’t given any indication she’s thinking about it. Rice ran for attorney general in 2010 when she was Nassau County district attorney and lost the primary to Schneiderman by a narrow 34-32 margin. She was talked up as a possible contender eight years later following Schneiderman’s departure, but Rice decided to stay in the House.
MASSACHUSETTS REDISTRICTING. Lawmakers in Massachusetts’ Democratic-run legislature have released a draft congressional map that doesn’t deviate much from the current lines. The state currently sends nine Democrats and zero Republicans to Congress, and that would be unlikely to change under this new proposal.
ARKANSAS REDISTRICTING. A group called Arkansans for a Unified Natural State says it plans to gather signatures for a veto referendum to overturn the state’s new Republican-drawn congressional map, an undertaking that would also have the effect of suspending the map if the referendum qualifies for next year’s ballot. Organizers would need to collect 53,491 signatures from registered voters in at least 15 counties by Jan. 13. The group previously announced plans to qualify veto referendums for three other laws the legislature passed earlier this year but abandoned those efforts after failing to obtain enough signatures.
ALABAMA REDISTRICTING. Alabama’s Republican-run state House passed the GOP’s new congressional redistricting plan on Monday, with all Democrats and a few Republicans voting against, as well as a redrawn map for the chamber’s own districts. The state Senate, which Republicans also control, likewise passed a new map for itself and will now take up the congressional proposal.
NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE ELECTION RESULTS. There’s no question that Democrats will keep control of both the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly, where they went into Election Day with majorities of 25-15 and 52-28, respectively, but the GOP has netted seats in both chambers. And in a true surprise, state Senate President Steve Sweeney trails Republican Edward Durr, a truck driver who spent all of $153 on his campaign, 52-48 with 63,000 votes counted.
Donald Trump carried the 3rd Legislative District in South Jersey 50-48 last year, which made Sweeney the one Democrat to represent Trump turf in the upper chamber. But Republicans, as evidenced by Durr’s tiny expenditures, had little confidence in beating him until the results began to roll in on Tuesday. Durr himself unsuccessfully ran as an independent for the Assembly in 2017 (in New Jersey, Senate and Assembly districts are coterminous) before trying again as a Republican two years later.
However, the likely fall of the conservative Sweeney, who has run the Senate since early 2010, may leave plenty of powerful Democrats less than upset. In 2017, the last time he was on the ballot, the New Jersey Education Association took the unusual step of backing his Republican opponent, though that didn’t stop Sweeney from winning a very expensive campaign 59-41.
The Senate president has often come into conflict with Gov. Phil Murphy, and he didn’t rule out launching a primary campaign against the governor when asked back in 2019. Politico adds that Sweeney “was until recently talked up in Democratic circles as a likely 2025 candidate for governor.” Barring a big vote shift back in his direction, that chatter probably won’t pick up again anytime soon.
FLORIDA TWENTIETH CD ELECTION RESULTS. It’s going to be some time before we know who has won the Democratic nomination to succeed the late Rep. Alcee Hastings in this safely blue South Florida seat. With 49,000 ballots counted, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness holds a 9 vote lead—a margin of 23.76-23.74—over businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who badly lost primary challenges to Hastings in both 2018 and 2020. Another member of the Broward County Commission, Barbara Sharief, is in third with 18%.
Florida requires an automatic machine recount in races where the margin between the top two candidates is within 0.5%, and this contest definitely qualifies. The vote totals could also shift before the recount takes place: Politico’s Gary Fineout wrote Wednesday that military and overseas ballots could be received for another 10 days, while voters had two days to fix any signature issues that caused their mail-in ballots to be rejected.
The eventual Democratic nominee will have no trouble in the Jan. 11 special election, which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis scheduled to take place nine months after Hastings’ death, effectively doubling the length the seat will remain vacant compared to other recent Florida specials.
ATLANTA MAYOR ELECTION RESULTS. City Council President Felicia Moore took a decisive first place in Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary to lead the loyally blue city of Atlanta, but, to the surprise of many political observers, it appears that her rival in the Nov. 30 runoff won’t be former Mayor Kasim Reed after all. Moore is out in front with 41% of the vote with 96,000 votes counted, while City Councilman Andre Dickens holds a 23.0-22.4 lead over Reed—a margin of just over 600 votes—for the second spot in the runoff.
The math looks daunting for Reed. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein noted on Wednesday that there were only 970 uncounted provisional ballots cast in the two counties Atlanta’s based in (Fulton and DeKalb), and some were from voters outside city limits. Bluestein adds that those ballots could conceivably narrow Reed’s deficit enough to place him within the 0.5% margin needed for a recount, but he’d need to overwhelmingly win them to actually outpace Dickens.
While the AP has not called the second runoff berth and Reed has yet to concede, Bluestein tweets that some of the former mayor’s allies admit that his comeback has failed.
Moore’s wide lead in the first round makes her the favorite to win the contest to succeed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who shocked Atlanta in May when she announced she wouldn’t seek a second term, but she’s likely to square off against a very different opponent than she may have expected to. Reed, who spent years as a rising star in Georgia Democratic politics, easily won a second term in 2013, and he’d amassed a huge war chest for his campaign to retake the post he was termed-out of in 2017.
Dickens, for his part, looked like an underdog going into Election Day. Most polls showed Bottoms and Reed advancing, while just a lone late survey showed the city councilman beating out Reed for second.
Dickens may have benefited from the support of former Mayor Shirley Franklin, whose 2001 victory made her the first Black woman to lead a major Southern city. Franklin had once been allied with Reed, who was even her campaign manager during that history-making bid 20 years ago, and she backed him in the hotly competitive 2009 race to succeed her. The two have since had a very public falling out, though, and Franklin in June made news when she responded to Reed’s comeback launch by saying she was “embarrassed by his lack of ethical leadership.” Franklin went on to endorse Dickens and even starred in a commercial for him.
Bottoms, who is the second woman to ever lead Atlanta, said Wednesday she would be endorsing a candidate in the runoff herself, though she didn’t indicate which one. She may not be inclined to support Moore, however, as the city council president launched a campaign to unseat her months before the incumbent announced her retirement. Dickens, by contrast, didn’t enter the race until Bottoms had already left it.