With two governors’ mansions on the ballot on Election Day, one remained too close to call the morning after.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly trailed Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli on Wednesday morning with ballots — many of them vote-by-mail — in Democratic-rich areas yet to be counted.
With nearly 98% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, Ciattarelli held a mere 1,200 vote lead in the contest to decide the next governor, according to The Associated Press. The race was a statistical dead heat, and there were about 700,000 early and mail-in votes still to tally.
5 election takeaways:Education critical in Virginia; an historic night for candidates of color
In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race to become the next governor on Tuesday. A businessman turned politician, Youngkin defeated Democrat and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a come-from-behind win.
Meanwhile, history was made in races across the U.S. by both Republicans and Democrats.
Michelle Wu became the first elected female mayor of Boston and Democrat Eric Adams was elected New York’s second Black mayor, while Alvin Bragg became Manhattan’s first Black district attorney.
In Virgina, Republican Winsome Sears was headed to a win in the lieutenant governor’s race; she is poised to be the first Black woman in that post. And Republican Jason Miyares, son of a Cuban immigrant and a delegate from Virginia Beach, declared victory in the state attorney general race.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., voiced disappointment with the close results in New Jerseys’ governor’s race, but said Gov. Phil Murphy had a difficult job during the pandemic.
“Clearly I’m disappointed, but I’m glad that it looks like Murphy’s gonna pull through,” Booker said.
“Leading during crisis is always hard. We just went through unprecedented pandemic, and he stood in the saddle, made tough choices, kept people safe. But it’s a hard job.”
Booker couldn’t say whether the race had any implications for congressional races in 2022.
“I’m not extrapolating anything on this right now,” the second-term senator said.
– Bart Jansen
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said if Democrats in Congress had passed legislation for President Joe Biden’s social welfare program and for infrastructure, the victories would have helped Terry McAuliffe in the race he lost Tuesday for governor of Virginia and helped congressional Democrats in 2022.
Progressive House Democrats have blocked a vote on infrastructure legislation, which the Senate has already approved, until it can be considered with Biden’s broader package.
“Instead, Democrats wanted to be purists about whatever their own particular goals were left, right and center and hold out and dither and delay,” Kaine said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has proposed voting on both bills as early as this week. Kaine said they might both be completed by Thanksgiving. But McAuliffe has already lost.
“A lot of politics is about timing,” Kaine said. “Dems blew the timing.”
Kaine said McAuliffe could have campaigned on universal pre-kindergarten and child care in the larger package, and on the jobs that the infrastructure bill would have created.
“He could have had a really great wind at his back if Democrats had been willing to get the deal done,” Kaine said. “So I’m just saying I hope my colleagues absorb this notion that when you’re in the majority, the D in Democrats should stand for doing and not delay, dithering, do nothing, division.”
Kaine noted that turnout was 25% higher than the previous governor’s race four years earlier. The state doesn’t require voters to register by party, so Kaine argued Democrats needed to win over independent voters.
“Terry could have won a lot of them over if we had given him some things to sell, instead of the message primarily that, you know, Dems are in disarray,” Kaine said. “I hope the Dems view this as the Ghost of Christmas Future experience. Like this isn’t what the future has to be. But if you don’t change your ways, this is the future.”
– Bart Jansen
A political odds-maker at the University of Virginia changed its ratings Wednesday in four competitive Democratic U.S. Senate races, after Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which is named for Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said the election confirmed a poor environment for Democrats, which if replicated in 2022 could help Republicans could win control of the House and Senate.
The ratings changed in three races from “leans Democratic” to a toss-up, for Sens. Mark Kelly in Arizona, Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. The rating for Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., changed from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”
– Bart Jansen
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe conceded his run for governor after a bruising campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin. The race was widely watched as a bellwether for the national mood amid the coronavirus pandemic and first year of Democrats’ unified control of Washington.
“Congratulations to Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory. I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family,” McAuliffe said in a Wednesday morning statement.
While he acknowledged the campaign “came up short” in the race, McAuliffe reiterated the need to make progress on progressive priorities like health care, voting rights and family policy.
McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor after a 2013 victory that presaged Democrats’ later victories in the state legislature in 2018. Youngkin’s victory, as well as a narrow Republican recapture of the state House, came as a shock to Democrats in Virginia and nationally.
– Matthew Brown
The Republican campaign committee for the House announced Wednesday it would add 13 Democrats to the list targeted for defeat in the 2022 election, after Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race.
The National Republican Congressional Committee had 57 Democratic lawmakers in its sights and added 13 names.
“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who is chairman of the campaign committee. “Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders and spurred a nationwide crime wave.”
The Democrats added to the target list are: Reps. Greg Stanton in Arizona, Ed Perlmutter in Colorado, Joe Courtney in Connecticut, Darren Soto in Florida, Sanford Bishop in Georgia, Frank Mrvan in Indiana, David Trone in Maryland, G.K. Butterfield in North Carolina, Annie Kuster in New Hampshire, Teresa Leger-Fernandez in New Mexico, Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania, Jim Cooper in Tennessee and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia.
– Bart Jansen
National Republican leaders are wasting no time promoting Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, calling it a sign that they will triumph in next year’s congressional elections.
In a memo to colleagues, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said that “Washington Democrats have ignored their constituents, and they have been punished by the voters they serve.”
“Americans want new leadership,” added McCarthy, who would presumably become Speaker of the House if the Republicans win a majority in next November’s election.
Not so fast, some Democrats said. While reversals in Virginia and elsewhere were disappointing, Democrats and their allies said they still plan to retain the House and Senate – though Tuesday’s election did yield warning signs.
Republican scare tactics only work “if Democrats in Washington aren’t offering a bold vision for the future and delivering on that promise,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “They have to start delivering, because the midterm election season is now here.”
– David Jackson
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The right to food won rave reviews Tuesday from Maine voters, who passed the nation’s first guarantee for people to grow, harvest and eat according to their own wishes.
The Maine ballot measure was one of several in states seeking to create new constitutional rights touching on an array of issues. Some were a response to policies put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, including a pair of Texas proposals limiting restrictions on religious gatherings and nursing home visits.
Maine’s unique measure declares individuals have an “unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing.” It passed comfortably.
“It’s always a good idea to secure and protect an individual right in the world we live in. Food is life,” said Democratic state Sen. Craig Hickman, a supporter of the proposal. “I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid of saying so out loud in the constitution.”
Opponents had worried the measure might lead some people to try to raise cattle in cities.
– Associated Press
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Candidates for Virginia’s statewide down-ballot offices were engaged in tight races early Wednesday, with the Democrats slightly trailing their GOP rivals. The races were too early to call.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, voters chose between two women for a post that has been held by men for as long as the state has existed. Democrat Hala Ayala, a delegate from Woodbridge, faced Republican Winsome Sears, who served in the legislature for a single term two decades ago and was attempting a political comeback. Either also would be the first woman of color to be elected to statewide office in Virginia.
The winner will succeed Democrat Justin Fairfax, who unsuccessfully ran for governor. The marquee election Tuesday was the gubernatorial race, which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won, defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
While the AP did not call the down-ballot races, Republicans were claiming victories in both. Sears stood with her family in front of cheering supporters at a victory party in Chantilly, saying, “What you are looking at is the American Dream.”
Ayala did not concede defeat early Wednesday morning.
For attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring was seeking a third term against Republican Jason Miyares, a delegate from Virginia Beach. Herring would be the first attorney general to win a third term since World War II.
Miyares, the son of a Cuban immigrant, also declared victory early Wednesday, saying he is now the first Latino to be elected statewide in Virginia. “I can’t wait to go to work with Governor Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Sears for you,” he said.
Herring had not conceded defeat early Wednesday morning.
– Associated Press
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appeared to win a fifth term Tuesday after lodging a robust write-in effort against India Walton, a trained nurse and activist whose socialist beliefs became a central issue in the race.
Brown, a Democrat who first took office in 2006, resorted to a write-in campaign after losing a June primary to Walton, a Democrat making her first run for office.
The effort, initially thought to be a longshot, appeared to be successful, though it won’t be official until the write-in votes are verified and mail-in ballots are counted.
Write-in candidates received 33,994 votes — about 59% of the total — with 98% of election districts reporting late Tuesday, according to the Erie County Board of Elections.
– Jon Campbell, New York State Team
An excited Glenn Youngkin claimed the governor’s office in Virginia by telling supporters he would pursue a transformation of the state’s economy and school system.
“We can build a new day,” Youngkin told screaming supporters at a hotel in northern Virginia early Wednesday.
Youngkin, a decided underdog at the start of the campaign, overtook Democrat Terry McAuliffe by stressing education – especially the teaching of race and history – and the economy.
“Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in his victory speech.
– David Jackson
Retired police officer Eric Adams defeated underdog Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa on Tuesday to become the second Black mayor in the history of New York City. The mayor-elect promised to reflect the needs of working and middle-class voters of color.
Former federal prosecutor Alvin Bragg will become the first Black person to lead the Manhattan district attorney’s office after his win over Republican opponent Thomas Kenniff.
– Chelsey Cox
MINNEAPOLIS – Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a new Department of Public Safety, an idea that supporters had hoped would bring radical change to policing in the city where George Floyd’s death under an officer’s knee brought calls for racial justice.
The initiative would have changed the city charter to remove a requirement that the city have a police department with a minimum number of officers. Supporters said a complete overhaul of policing was necessary to stop police violence. Opponents said the proposal had no concrete plan for how to move forward and warned it would leave some communities already affected by violence more vulnerable as crime is on the rise.
Those opponents welcomed the amendment’s defeat but stressed the urgency of transforming policing in the city even without it.
“Tonight Minneapolis voters have made clear that we want a planful approach to transforming policing and public safety in our city that needs to include meaningful consultation with the communities that are most impacted by both violent crime and by over-policing,” said Leili Fatehi, manager of the All of Mpls campaign.
The ballot proposal had roots in the abolish-the-police movement that erupted after Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year.
– Associated Press