Democrats won big in state and local elections on Tuesday, particularly in places like New Jersey and Virginia where they swept statewide races.
Even more notable is that in Virginia, Democrats were able to make huge gains in the 100-member House of Delegates, flipping 14 seats (and at the time this was written, potentially more) previously held by Republicans.
Jessica Post, Executive Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, noted that Democrats taking 14 seats held by Republicans is the largest election night pick-up for Democrats since 1899 — the earliest date the researchers could find results for. Many of the races hadn’t even been on analysts’ radar as close races or upsets, as the part far exceeded predictions.
Flipping 14 seats from red to blue in VA is the biggest Democratic pick-up since 1899.
— Jessica Post (@JessicaPost) November 8, 2017
All 100 seats were up for election and heading into Tuesday night, Republicans held a 66-34 majority, while Democrats needed to gain 17 seats to become the majority. Republicans have held a majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates for almost 20 years.
This morning, Republicans had 66 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates and Democrats had 34. Right now, Democrats have 47 seats and Republicans have 46. https://t.co/q7Ct7IZXYZ pic.twitter.com/DRMHHLcVWT
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2017
Among the notable Democrat victories was Danica Roem’s unseating of Republican Bob Marshall in northern Virginia’s 13th District. Roem, a transgender woman, soundly defeated Marshall, who drafted a transgender bathroom bill for the state and refused to debate Roem while only referring to her using male pronouns.
The elections in the key battleground state of Virginia were widely viewed by the national parties as a “bellwether” for the current political climate. Over the years, Virginia has transitioned from a solidly red state, to a swing state, to one that is trending ever more blue largely due to changing trends in the suburbs. Hillary Clinton won Virginia in 2016with 49% of the vote.
Commentators had labeled the Virginia elections a referendum on the Trump administration, and many voters confirmed they were motivated by anti-Trump sentiments.