You probably heard about what happened in Virginia, but what about the takeover in Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown?
Another blue wave crashed down across the country on Tuesday, fanning the flames of an electoral fire that started the night Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Virginia Democrats gaining control of the state legislature for the first time in two decades. Thanks to Tuesday’s historic election, Virginia is likely to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, paving the way for Congress to guarantee equality for women in the U.S. Constitution.
Another headline-grabbing win belonged to Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, who won the governor’s office after beating out incumbent Republican Matt Bevin. In 2016, President Trump won the state by 30 points.
Beyond these critical wins, Election Day 2019 was historic for Democrats in other places as well. Here are some more noteworthy victories:
- Winning more than 56 percent of the vote, Regina Romero became the first Latina and first woman mayor of Tucson, Arizona. “Tucson is ready for it,” she said last night during a speech. “Tucson saw in me the experience, the vision, the passion to get it done and I’m looking forward to it. It’s amazing.”
- Juli Briskman, the Virginia cyclist who was pictured famously flipping off President Trump’s motorcade in 2017, won a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, which has jurisdiction over Trump’s Virginia golf course. Her election helped flip the body to a Democratic majority.
- Voters in a Virginia district that includes Richmond, Chesterfield County, and Powhatan County elected the first Muslim American woman to the state Senate. It was Ghazala Hashmi’s first campaign for public office.
- In Pennsylvania, the city of Reading elected its first Latino mayor. On Tuesday night, Eddie Moran told supporters: “Tonight, we become pioneers, and by standing on the shoulders of others before me, we are setting a new path forward for Latino leadership for decades to come.”
- In Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana, Democrats gained majority control of city council for the first time in nearly 40 years. One candidate, according to The Republic’s count, won by a single vote.
- Voters in Lewiston, Maine, elected their first Somali-American to represent them on City Council. “Any local government needs to be reflective of the community,” Safiya Khalid, 23, told the Washington Post, adding that roughly a third of Lewiston’s population is Somali.
- Unseating a Republican who’d held the office since 2001, Shawn Hawkins became the first Black mayor of Plymouth, a small town in North Carolina with a majority black population. Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matters, tweeted about Hawkins’ win: “And after some canvassing, texting and strategic support, folks in Plymouth have made history tonight. It may not shape impeachment & it may not determine who the Dem nominee will be. But tonight, a few thousand folks in a NC town have a new sense of their own power.”
Amanda Litman, the co-founder and executive director of Run For Something, an organization working to get young candidates elected to local office, said Tuesday’s results show that change doesn’t happen overnight.
“The outcome in Virginia, Kentucky and in local municipal and school board elections across the country show us this work doesn’t happen simply in one election cycle,” Litman said in an interview with COURIER. “It takes time, investment and long-term thinking in order to get these wins.”
Importantly, Litman added, these local elections matter for the upcoming presidential race.
“The most impactful way to get a voter to show up is to knock on their door, and ideally it’s a local candidate knocking on their door talking about the issues that are meaningful to them. Local candidates are basically super-charged field organizers who have personal stakes in the game and can then produce productive policies. [But] even if the candidates themselves don’t win, they run up the score for the top of the ticket.”
She also pointed out that many of these first-time candidates making history in their districts would have been written off in past years as unelectable or not worth investing in. That they won Tuesday night, she said, “shows that we don’t really know what’s possible until we try.”