Democrats Look Toward 2018 After Winning Races in 2017 Off-Year Elections

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The results of the off-year election favored the Democrats across the country as the party shifted the composition of state governments the left. Many are hopeful this is a precursor of the 2018 mid-term election outcome.

On Tuesday, the GOP was hopeful they would continue to hold their position. However, the ballots cast toppled their dreams for continued dominance. Voters sent a clear message to President Donald Trump that America is not pleased with the status quo.

Winner Include Female, Minority, and LGBT Candidates

Women were prominent on regional ballots. New legislative and non-judicial seats will be held by minorities and disenfranchised representatives. The HRC lists eight transgender winners in the United States, which they tout as a blow to the Trump-Pence regime’s attack on underrepresented citizens.

The new mayor of Topeka, Kansas is a 41-year-old Latina woman who is also a single parent. The outcome of the vote was close, Michelle De La Isla narrowly topped her opponent, 51.1 to 48.3 percent. Prior to this election, she worked the executive director of Topeka Habitat for Humanity. More recently, 2013 De La Isla served on the City Council, and in 2016, De La Isla was the deputy mayor.

In Virginia, Democrats trounced the Republican candidates finally becoming the majority in the House of Delegates after 18 years of GOP dominance. The left-wing took 15 seats, 11 were women. Some of these positions were taken by:

  • Virgina’s first openly transgender person, Danica Roem, took the seat away from an anti-LGBT incumbent.
  • Kathy Tran, a former Vietnamese refugee became the first Asian-American woman to win a position in the state’s House.
  • Dawn Adams, the first open Lesbian narrowly beat the male incumbent won served for 10 years.
  • Elizabeth Guzmán and Hala Ayala were the first female Latin-Americans to be elected.
  • Lee Carter, male, ran on a Democratic Socialists of America ticket and soundly beat the incumbent Republican Majority Whip.
  • Justin Fairfax, the next lieutenant governor is African-American, he is the second black candidate to win a statewide election in Virginia.

Other States’ Winners

Washington state gained more Democrats such as Jenny Durkan who will be mayor of Seattle. She will be the first female to hold this office in 92 years, she is also the first lesbian.

Creating a Democratic majority in Washington state is Rebecca Saldaña who secured the D-37 Senate seat that she was appointed to in 2016. Two other female senators are Patty Kuderer for D-48 and Manka Dhingra, D-45.

Activist Andrea Jenkins is an openly transgender Minneapolis city councilperson who is also an African-American woman. She is the first to be elected in any major American city.

The New Jersey lieutenant governor is the state’s first African-American female. Sheila Oliver’s previous experience includes Assembly speaker, she is “only the second female speaker in U.S. history.”

Voters in Charlotte, North Carolina elected Vi Lyles, their first African-American mayor.

The mayoral race in Manchester, New Hampshire will be held by Joyce Craig. She has the unique honor of being the only female mayor in the city’s 266-year history.

Ravinder Bhalla was elected mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey. The Sikh American won even though he was the target of fliers indicating his election would equal an invitation for terrorism to overrun the town.

Democrats Looking Ahead to 2018 and 2020 Elections

While Democrats secured positions in these elections, they must do as well, if not better, in the 2018 mid-terms. In this election cycle, 33 of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs, and every seat in the House of Representative The fight to regain Democratic majority is an arduous but not impossible task.

Then comes the presidential election in 2020. It is likely to be as chaotic as the 2016 election if President Trump wins and the GOP does not support him. At this point, there are no Democrats throwing their hats into the ring. Perhaps, this election will see third-party candidates with the backing needed to participate in debates and possible win.

By Cathy Milne

Sources:

The Topeka Capital-Journal: De La Isla narrowly defeats Duncan in nip-and-tuck mayoral race
Huffington Post: Here’s A List Of Historic Victories Democrats Had On Election Day
Human Rights Campaign: Meet the Transgender Americans Who Won on Election Day
The Washington Post: Democrats make significant gains in Virginia legislature; control of House in play
The New York Times: Democrats Cheer, but They May Have to Do Better in ’18
The New York Times: A Year After Trump, Women and Minorities Give Groundbreaking Wins to Democrats

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jay Baker for Maryland GovPics’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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