It was nice to have good news for Progressives last night. This morning, WOW writer Trey Speegle wrote about the impressive wins by trans women Danica Roem, the first trans person to be elected to office in Virginia, and Minneapolis’ Andrea Jenkins, the first trans person of color elected in the USA.
Today, Senator Tim Kaine took the stage at the campaign party for Virginia’s newly-elected Democrats, where he commented that a new generation has taken the state from one of the reddest in the country to a blue state. In fact, he said, an election like that hadn’t happened since 1961-1965. Kaine:
“We have been the biggest political turnaround in this country in the last 25 years. Learn something from Virginia.”
There were a historic number of women running for office in Virginia, with 43 Democratic women vying for seats, many held by Republican incumbents.
If the news about our trans sisters wasn’t exciting enough, Virginia also elected its first out-of-the-closet lesbian. Dawn Adams defeated incumbent Manoli Loupassi in Virginia’s 68th District, which represents the City of Richmond.
Two Latina women were elected to the Virginia General Assembly for the first time ever. Elizabeth Guzman won the 31st District with a 10 percent margin. Hala Ayala beat the incumbent in the 51st District.
Not all the firsts went to women in Virginia. Voters chose Socialist Lee Carter for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s District 50. Like Senator Bernie Sanders, Carter ran as a Democrat in a district where Hillary Clinton easily beat Trump in 2016, but he is quite out-of-the-closet as a Socialist.
Throughout Virginia, 26 women were elected to the state legislature. The highest number of women to previously serve in the Virginia House was 19 in 2013. Many incumbents lost their seats, and lost them to Democratic women.
Justin Fairfax is Lieutenant Governor elect, only the Commonwealth’s second African-American to be elected to state office.
Virginia’s election battle might provide an answer to the question of how the first 10 months of the Trump presidency have reshaped America. The voters of Virginia made it clear they reject his White Nationalist political playbook.
Democrats landed two Governors-elect, Ralph Northam in Virginia and Phil Murphy, who popped Chris Christie’s balloon in New Jersey, rejecting his Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno who received only 45 percent of the vote.
Christie is so disliked, he has little future in politics. He almost certainly can’t run for office in NJ, and his close association with POTUS has hurt him badly with GOP establishment types. Christie’s best hope is some sort of gig at the White House, a real possibility considering the staff turn around. Maybe he can replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Montana elected Wilmot Collins as mayor of Helena, the first black mayor of a Big Sky city, and a refugee from Liberia in 1994. Collins:
“Here in Montana, we’re fighting the notion that refugees are terrorists. Part of me wants to show them that ‘No, here is the face of a refugee. These are who refugees are. Here is my family. This is what refugees look like. We are not terrorists!'”
The new mayor of Topeka, Kansas is Michelle De La Isla, that city’s first Latina mayor. De La Isla is originally from NYC, but raised in Puerto Rico. Vi Lyles became the first African-American woman was elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. She won with 58 percent of the vote.
In Washington State, Democrats will retake control of the state Senate next month for the first time since 2012. In a race that set Washington records for spending on a legislative race, Deputy King County Prosecutor Manka Dhingra, a Sikh woman, beat Jinyoung Lee Englund, a businessperson. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has promised a more progressive agenda now that Democrats control both houses in Washington, including Voting Rights, Women’s Health, Gun Control and Climate Change.
The Dhingra victory solidifies the Blue Wall of the Democratically controlled West Coast from the Canadian border to the Mexican border: Washington, Oregon and California, which all went for Hillary Clinton a year ago tonight.
Maybe the West Coast States could join together on issues like Gun Control, Marijuana Legalization, Sanctuary Cities, Health Care, Immigration, Trans Rights, and Environmental Regulation. There could even be a regional cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions, possibly including British Columbia!
Democrats now have full political control of just eight states, while the Republicans have the same in 26 states.