VIRGINIA: Democrat Ralph Northam was elected governor by 9 percentage points, which The Washington Post's James Hohmann says was a direct reflection of Trump's standing in the state: "Republican Ed Gillespie could not escape Trump’s unpopularity, despite his best efforts to thread the needle.” In exit polls, 34 percent of voters said the reason for their vote was to express opposition to Trump. This is especially telling in a race where pundits said Northam was having trouble connecting with rural voters. Voter turnout surged in the Northern Virginia suburbs and in rural Southwest Virginia, but the former has a lot more voters than the latter. (Post map)
Democrats erased a 32-seat GOP advantage in the House of Delegates, in what Michael Martz of the Richmond Times-Dispatch calls a "tsunami election," gaining an "epochal gain in power in a legislative chamber that has been under an iron Republican grip." Recounts are likely to determine which party ultimately controls the House. The surge of votes for Northam likely helped downticket races.
Two of those new delegates may be of interest to journalists. Former reporter Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person in the country to be elected to a state legislature, WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., reports. She beat out the 26-year incumbent, 73-year-old Republican Bob Marshall, who proposed a bill restricting which bathrooms transgender people could use. Roem worked for the Gainesville Times, the Prince William Times, and the Montgomery County Sentinel.
|Roanoke Times photo by Heather Rousseau|
MAINE, America's most rural state, became the first to expand Medicaid by referendum. "As many as 80,000 residents of the state will gain coverage," Quinn Libson
COLORADO: "Voters on Tuesday passed a controversial ballot issue that gives Broomfield more local oversight of oil and gas operations in the city, a move that probably will invite a legal challenge from Colorado’s large energy sector," John Aguilar reports for The Denver Post.
MONTANA: Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins will be the new mayor of the state capital of Helena, unseating Republican incumbent Jim Smith with just over 51 percent of the vote, Thomas Plank reports for the Helena Independent Record. Helena is one of the smallest capital cities in the country, with a population of around 31,000. Trump got 55 percent of the city's vote in 2016.
WASHINGTON: Democrat Manka Dhingra won a special election to a state Senate seat, which flipped the Senate to Democratic control. That means that Washington's legislative and executive branches will now be controlled by Democrats, just as in Oregon and California.
NEW JERSEY: "Democrat Phil Murphy, a former banker and first-time candidate, won the New Jersey governor’s race by 13 points over Chris Christie’s lieutenant governor. That’s on par with Clinton’s margin a year ago, but it’s a remarkable turnabout from four years ago — when Christie got reelected with a 22-point margin of victory. It means that Democrats will have unified control of the Garden State’s government," Hohmann reports.