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The key election takeaways: a Democratic surge and big wins for women | US news | The Guardian

Supporters of Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor cheer in Westerville, Ohio Tuesday night. O’Connor lost, but the Democratic voter surge was significant.
 Supporters of the Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor cheer in Westerville, Ohio, Tuesday night. O’Connor lost, but the Democratic voter surge was significant. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The ‘blue wave’ is not a tsunami, yet

A Democratic win in Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s traditionally Republican 12th congressional district would have provided yet another ill omen for GOP prospects of holding on to their House majority in the November midterms. Instead, Republicans appeared to have clung on to a once safe seat by less than one percentage point. A loss would have been devastating for Republicans, who had been forced to invest heavily to keep their candidate, Troy Balderson, afloat.

Balderson saw visits from both Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the final days of his campaign, and benefited from an investment of over $3m from the Paul Ryan-affiliated Super Pac the Congressional Leadership Fund. However, Republicans hold roughly 70 seats that are more Democratic-leaning and they will not be able to put in the same resources for every race in November.

The suburbs are a political ground zero in 2018

Strategists in both parties have long viewed prosperous suburbs as the major battleground for control of the House, and Tuesday’s results in Ohioreinforced that. Danny O’Connor’s narrow loss against Balderson was based on a dramatic surge in Democratic performance in Delaware county in traditionally conservative suburban Columbus; O’Connor got nearly 46% of the vote in a jurisdiction that has not supported a Democrat in a presidential election since 1916.

It continues the dramatic collapse in the Republican vote in suburban areas in the Trump era. In 2017, a Democratic surge in northern Virginia’s suburbs helped to hand Ralph Northam the governorship, and both Conor Lamb and Doug Jones were boosted by major swings among suburban voters in their special election wins in Pennsylvania and Alabama respectively. If these suburban voters continue to vote Democratic in November, a number of Republican members in districts from Minnesota to Texas are in jeopardy.

The insurgent left strikes out

In key primaries on Tuesday, candidates backed by progressive groups and endorsed by national figures such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders fell short.

In Kansas, the lawyer Brent Welder, who had campaigned as the candidate of the Sanders wing of the party, was defeated by Sharice Davids, who could be the first Native American woman in Congress if elected, in a six-way race in a swing suburban congressional district.

In Michigan, Abdul El-Sayed, a doctor backed by both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez and benefiting from national media hype, lost by over 20 points to the former state senate leader Gretchen Whitmer.

Ocasio-Cortez aggressively campaigned for Cori Bush in Missouri, who was running against William Lacy Clay, a longtime African American incumbent in a St Louis district. Bush lost by 20 points as well.

Female candidates are making history

Two more Democratic women earned gubernatorial nominations in Tuesday, with Whitmer winning in Michigan and the state senator Laura Kelly earning her party’s nomination in Kansas. The wins by those two meant that a new record was set for female major party gubernatorial nominees in a single year. Eleven women will be on the ballot for governor in November.

This was paired with women winning contested nominations in key House races, including Davids in Kansas and the former Obama aide Haley Stevens in a suburban swing district in Michigan. It continued an impressive year for Democratic women. According to Dan Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, women won nine of 11 Democratic primaries last night in open seats.

Trump’s endorsement is not always a gift

After a spree of endorsements via Twitter in which he instantly changed the trajectory of Republican primaries, Trump did not seem to maintain his Midas touch on Tuesday.

Although all of the candidates he endorsed or campaigned for were ahead, his support didn’t have the same impact as it did in other recent races, such as Brian Kemp’s successful bid for the Republican nomination for governor in Georgia, which ended in a landslide victory.

In Michigan, the businessman and veteran John James won the Republican nomination for Senate by 10 percentage points after several tweeted endorsements. Bill Schuette, the Trump-endorsed state attorney general, won far more handily against Brian Calley, the lieutenant governor, in the gubernatorial primary.

However, in Kansas, the gubernatorial race between Jeff Colyer and the firebrand secretary of state Kris Kobach was too close to call. Kobach, who received a last-minute endorsement from Trump on Monday, is a longtime Trump ally who played a key role in the administration’s voter fraud commission.

Also, while Trump took a victory lap over his last-minute appearance for Balderson in Ohio, it was unclear precisely the impact his trip made on the final result. While Democrats credited Trump’s campaign appearance for the Republican Rick Saccone in March’s special election in Pennsylvania for keeping the race close and juicing up rural turnout in that district, they had not seen the same impact in initial returns in Ohio, where the result hinged on O’Connor falling just short with prosperous suburban voters.

Sorgente: The key election takeaways: a Democratic surge and big wins for women | US news | The Guardian

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