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'Anti-Trump Wave' Results in Big Gains for Democrats

Murdered reporter's boyfriend was among Virginia winners
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2017 4:58 AM CST
Updated Nov 8, 2017 6:21 AM CST

(Newser) – Almost a year to the day after President Trump was elected, Democrats scored big victories in races across the country—especially in Virginia, where Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Trump-endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie in the governor's race. Democrats made major statewide gains in Virginia as well as recapturing the governor's mansion in New Jersey and winning mayoral races, including hotly contested elections in Charlotte, NC, and St. Petersburg, Fla. A roundup of developments:

  • An anti-Trump wave. In what the Richmond Times-Dispatch calls an "anti-Trump wave," Virginia Democrats also won the races for attorney general and lieutenant governor and are expected to make big gains in the House of Delegates, where Republicans held a 66-34 majority. Justin Fairfax, the Democrat who defeated Republican Jill Vogel in the lieutenant governor's race, is only the second African American elected to statewide office in Virginia.

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  • Murdered reporter's boyfriend. Another Virginia winner was Chris Hurst, boyfriend of reporter Alison Parker, who was shot to death on air in 2015, reports the New York Daily News. He ran as a Democrat and was elected to the House of Delegates on a gun control platform.
  • A "referendum on Trump." US Rep. Scott Taylor, a Republican from Virginia Beach, blames Trump's "divisive rhetoric" for the party's losses. "I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration," Taylor tells the New York Times. "Democrats turned out tonight, but I’m pretty sure there were some Republicans who spoke loudly and clearly tonight as well."
  • A runaway win in NJ. Former Goldman Sachs exec Phil Murphy will succeed Gov. Chris Christie after a runaway win in New Jersey: NJ.com reports that the Democrat beat Republican Kim Guadagno 56% to 42%, a margin of around 250,000 voters.

  • Four more years in NYC. In one of the night's least surprising results, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio won another term after cruising to victory against Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman, CNBC reports.
  • Medicaid in Maine. ObamaCare scored a referendum victory in Maine when voters chose to join 31 other states in expanding Medicaid under the health law, the AP reports. The state's Republican governor, Paul LePage, had vetoed the measure five times.
  • Looking ahead to 2018. Democrats celebrating say they now hope for a surge in fundraising and candidate recruitment ahead of the 2018 midterms, Politico reports. "I certainly didn’t see this ass-kicking coming; this is pretty stunning," says Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. "Republicans have two problems: their president and their agenda. And I don’t think either of those liabilities are disappearing anytime soon."

  • A blow to GOP redistricting hopes. In its roundup of the night's winners and losers, the Washington Post notes that the gubernatorial win in Virginia means that Republicans won't be able to draw new congressional maps in the swing state after the 2020 Census.
  • A Republican win in Utah. Republican John Curtis, the mayor of Provo, easily defeated Democrat Kathryn Allen in the race for the House seat vacated by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Hill reports.
  • Obama and Biden. According to CNN, there were two other Democratic winners Tuesday night: Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Their work as Democratic surrogates appears to have paid off, with Biden-supported candidates poised to make a clean sweep and large Obama rallies in New Jersey and Virginia credited with boosting voter turnout.
(In Virginia, a transgender woman defeated the sponsor of the state's "bathroom bill.")

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