Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

The Democrats won more races across the country than expected – was it a referendum on Trump?

FAIRFAX, VA - NOVEMBER 07:  Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam waves to supporters at an election night rally November 7, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. Northam defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam waves to supporters at an election night rally November 7, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. Northam defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, Ralph Northam (D) defeated Ed Gillespie (R) by an unexpectedly wide margin: 9 points.

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, Ralph Northam (D) defeated Ed Gillespie (R) by an unexpectedly wide margin: 9 points.

White women with college degrees lent a hand in the Democrats’ win — they favored Northam over Gillespie by 16 points. By contrast, they favored Hillary Clinton over Trump by just 6 points last year (she did win Virginia — it was the only Southern state she won). Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) is termed out, and some say he may ride this victory to a presidential run in 2020.

Democrats also may have won control of Virginia’s House of Delegates. All 100 seats in the chamber were up for reelection yesterday, and Democrats unseated at least 12 Republicans — all of whom were men — and flipped three districts (Republican incumbents who did not seek reelection). Women won 11 of those seats, including the first openly transgender woman (Danica Roem) to win elected office. Four races are too close to call.

If Democrats win two of those four undecided races, bringing their total wins to 17 seats, they will control the House of Delegates — a development no one expected. Yet even without winning control of the chamber, yesterday’s win for Democrats represents the biggest shift in party power in Virginia’s House of Delegates in decades.

Other victories for Democrats:

  • In New Jersey, Phil Murphy (D) beat Chris Christie’s lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno (R) by 13 points. Democrats now control New Jersey’s state legislature and governor’s office.

  • Maine voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid (by 20 point margin), despite opposition from the state’s Republican governor and a big advertising campaign financed by out-of-state dollars.

Guests:

Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush

Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College and author of “Protest Politics in the Marketplace: Consumer Activism in the Corporate Age” (Cornell University Press, 2017); she tweets

Stay Connected