Democrats took home impressive gains on Tuesday, winning or forcing runoffs in historically Republican terrain. Despite the over-the-top spin from the White House, the president didn’t have a good night.
In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear bested Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin– a race Trump personally put his weight behind. In 2016, the president won the state by 30 points.
“If you lose, they’re going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world,” Trump said in a Monday Kentucky rally on the eve of the election. “You can’t let that happen to me!”
It did happen, although Bevin has yet to concede the race, citing unproven “irregularities” and the closeness of the race as his reasoning.
Urban areas like Louisville and Lexington that usually vote Democratic saw increased rates of turnout, suggesting the tight race was pushed over the edge by mobilized voters in the Democratic base.
With the newly gained governorship in Kentucky, Democrats have taken Republican governorships in at least nine states since 2016, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Kansas.
Democrats also won big in Virginia, where for the first time in decades, both chambers in the state legislature were flipped from Republican control. “This is an exciting day for the Commonwealth of Virginia, after 26 years we are officially blue,” Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told CNN on election night.
Already, Virginia’s new Democratic leadership is making plans to introduce and pass gun safety legislation during the next session.
Victories in the state also included Juli Briskman, a cyclist who was fired from her job after an image showing her flipping off Trump’s motorcade went viral.
Texas also saw real Democratic momentum in a special election for a long-time Republican-held seat in Fort Bend County. Elizabeth Markowitz, the lone Democratic candidate, has forced the race into a runoff with a Trump Republican. If elected in the runoff, Markowitz would help close the nine-seat gap between Democrats and the GOP in the Texas House.
“Dr. Markowitz’s opponent is a Trump Republican hellbent on buying this election,” said Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa on Tuesday. “[But] tonight’s result is yet another indicator that Texans are demanding change and Texas Democrats are poised to do big things in 2020.”
Hovering over Tuesday’s elections was the specter of Trump’s impeachment, which a solid majority of Americans now support. Public hearings on impeachment, according to House impeachment managers, begin next week.
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