All eyes were on the 2018 midterm elections, but Election Day 2017 has taken center stage. It proved to be an important and extremely telling referendum on Trump’s time in office.
On the surface, the election seemed to be a sleepy one since it’s an off year: Only two states chose a governor and there were fewer ballot measures than in previous off-year elections. But Tuesday marked several major firsts — such as the first transgender state legislator in Virginia and the first female Seattle mayor in more than 90 years.
Plus, after the 2016 presidential election, people seem to be more in tune with the importance of going to the polls. It was a decidedly successful night for Democrats and a much-needed reminder that 2018 victories are possible as long as the party stays active and engaged.
Here’s a look at the key races and ballot measures, why they’re so important, and the results.
Result: Democrat Northam won by nine points, NBC reports.
New Jersey: Neither candidate in the governor race is a centrist: Democrat Phil Murphy has called for progressive policies, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and legalizing recreational marijuana, while Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno has steered clear of the traditional GOP campaign focused on cutting property taxes and gone after the undocumented community. Their stances, and who ends up winning, could be a preview of what’s to come in the 2018 midterms.
Result: Democrat Phil Murphy won by 12 points and will succeed Chris Christie as governor of New Jersey, The New York Times reports.
Seattle, WA: The city will elect the first female mayor in 91 years — now the question is which candidate will come out on top. In August, Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon obtained the most votes among 21 candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral race.
Charlotte, NC: If she wins, Democrat Vi Lyles would make history as the first Black female mayor in the city of Charlotte. And if her opponent, Republican Kenny Smith, ends up victorious, he would be the first GOP mayor in the city since former mayor Pat McCrory left office in 2009.
Result: Democrat Vi Lyles has won the mayoral race and become Charlotte’s first Black female mayor, The Charlotte Observer reports.
Virginia House of Delegates: In Virginia, 43 Democratic women are vying for a seat in the House of Delegates — a record number. (Nine female Republican candidates and one independent are also running.)
Some interesting races are that of Democrat Danica Roem in the 13th District, who could become the first transgender state legislator in the state and possibly the first elected in the country; the 12th-District race in which Chris Hurst, the former news anchor whose partner reporter Alison Parker was fatally shot on live TV two years ago, is running as a Democrat; and in the 31st District, Elizabeth Guzmán could become the first Latina and first-generation immigrant to serve in the House.
Result: Danica Roem has defeated incumbent Robert G. Marshall and made history as VA’s first transgender state legislator, The Washington Post reports. Hurst defeated Republican incumbent Joseph Yost and Elizabeth Guzmán was victorious, making it a great night for Democrats.
Washington State Senate:The 45th-District race not only features two women of color with immigrant roots — Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund and Democrat Manka Dhingra — but could fundamentally change the political landscape in the state of Washington. Thanks to a coalition, the GOP currently has a one-vote majority in the state Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats have control of the state House and governor’s office. If Dhingra wins, that would turn the state Senate blue — and Republicans would lose the leverage they currently have to block key parts of the Democratic agenda.
Result: Dhingra currently holds a strong lead of 10 points, The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday night. The outlet noted that not all ballots have been counted and the next update will be available on Wednesday afternoon.
New York: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., an incumbent, is running unopposed. But two bombshell reports in recent weeks have cast a shadow on what was supposed to be a guaranteed third term in office. Despite allegedly having the necessary evidence, he failed to prosecute Harvey Weinstein and President Trump’s children Ivanka and Donald Jr. — and the most damning fact for some voters is that Weinstein’s and the Trumps’ respective lawyers happened to make contributions to Vance’s campaigns. Now, Peter Gleason, a longtime critic of the DA who obtained 35,000 votes in the last election, joined the race last-minute as a write-in candidate.
Maine: Voters will decide whether Maine should be the 33rd place in the country to expand Medicaid. It’s the first time that the fate of the expansion in a state is left up to voters.
Result: Maine has overwhelmingly voted to expand Medicaid, The Washington Post reports.
Athens, OH: An ordinance to decriminalize marijuana in certain cases will be on the ballot in the city of Athens. If it passes, the measure would eliminate fines and court costs for all marijuana-related offenses at the misdemeanor level. Felony-level offenses would still carry the same penalties and wouldn’t be affected by the ordinance.