Democrats won a series of state and local elections across the country on November 1. The party captured the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, while also flipping the Washington State Senate and making the largest gains by Democrats in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 100 years, according to the Washington Post.
Ralph Northam’s message of economic growth and financial security appealed to more Virginians than Republican Ed Gillespie’s platform, which focused on abolishing sanctuary cities and combating gang violence. As a result, Northam won with 53.9 percent of the vote, compared to Gillespie’s 45 percent.
Democrats have celebrated the results as a condemnation of the Republican agenda and the president, reported Politico. Outgoing Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told Politico that he considers the result “a rejection of Trump.”
Nevertheless, the White House attributes the losses to the Republican candidates instead of the party itself, according to a set of talking points obtained by Axios which stated that Gillespie’s “wavering support for the President resulted in depressed turnout among Republicans.”
Following the electoral victories, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced an expanded list of districts in which it will support candidates.The new list identifies 90 seats that Democrats could potentially capture.
The most recent election puts major Republican policies in jeopardy. Given that the Republican-led tax overhaul splits the House along partisan lines, the November elections “make progress on tax reform… more difficult,” said Republican consultant Rob Stutzman to Politico.
Ultimately, the outcome of this year’s elections may foreshadow similar gains for the Democrats in the House, reported CNN. “Virginia is the best early-warning system in politics… every time one party flips the House: They had started by winning Virginia governor’s race in the year before,” stated Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson.