Democrats across the US tallied huge wins in Tuesday’s elections & NC Dems got wins in some (very) unexpected places
If you’ve watched the news or looked at the Internet in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen stories about President Joe Biden’s poll numbers and “what they mean for Democrats in 2024” – but the 2024 election is a year away. The 2023 election, though, was on Tuesday and Democrats won big throughout the country and here in North Carolina, too.
MAGA extremists and other Republicans lost big races in huge swing states on Tuesday night. Voters in Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio rejected right-wing candidates and conservative policies.
Here’s a look at what happened in those states:
- In Virginia, Democrats took full control of the statehouse by holding the state Senate and flipping the House of Delegates, meaning that Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has no chance at passing new abortion restrictions or any of his other conservative policies.
- In Ohio, voters passed a ballot measure enshrining abortion protections into the state Constitution, despite multiple attempts by Republicans to prevent it from happening. In a state that Donald Trump won by 8 points in 2020, voters protected abortion by a 57-43 margin. Ohio voters also legalized recreational marijuana by the same 57-43 tally.
- Voters in Pennsylvania elected Democrat Dan McCaffery, who campaigned on protecting abortion rights, to fill an open seat on the state Supreme Court.
- While Kentucky may be the Bluegrass State, the electorate is decidedly red. Even still, in a state that Trump won by 26 points in 2020, voters there reelected their pro-choice Gov. Andy Beshear by five points. During the campaign, Beshear portrayed himself as a protector of abortion rights and painted his opponent as an anti-abortion extremist.
Only municipal elections were held in North Carolina this year, meaning that there were no elections for national or statewide candidates, but that doesn’t make the Democratic wins any less impressive.
Most municipal elections in the state are nonpartisan, but it’s quite common for parties to recruit, train, endorse and support candidates in these races.
In Republican-leaning northern Mecklenburg County, Democrats swept the mayor’s race and council seats in Huntersville – the first time that has ever happened, according to Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer.
Democrats swept all the open seats in New Hanover County, which is home to Wilmington and is also one of the most politically evenly divided areas in the entire state.
Democrats won the mayor’s race in High Point, which hasn’t been held by a Democrat in ages. They also swept the town council races in the tiny Davie County town of Cooleemee, and in Mars Hill and Marshall in Madison County – all three of which are generally very conservative areas.
While these municipal elections were not tied to issues like abortion, Democratic strategist Gary Pearce told WRAL that these victories are still connected to national politics.
“It’s a big part of what contributed to the Democrats’ energy in North Carolina,” Pearce said. “Anger about the abortion ban, about gerrymandering, about Tricia Cotham switching parties and making the abortion ban possible. They’re angry.”