With two governors’ mansions on the ballot on Election Day, one remained too close to call the morning after.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly trailed Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli on Wednesday morning with ballots — many of them vote-by-mail — in Democratic-rich areas yet to be counted.
With nearly 98% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, Ciattarelli held a mere 1,200 vote lead in the contest to decide the next governor, according to The Associated Press. The race was a statistical dead heat, and there were about 700,000 early and mail-in votes still to tally.
5 election takeaways:Education critical in Virginia; an historic night for candidates of color
In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race to become the next governor on Tuesday. A businessman turned politician, Youngkin defeated Democrat and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a come-from-behind win.
Meanwhile, history was made in local races across the U.S. Michelle Wu became the first elected female mayor of Boston and Democrat Eric Adams was elected New York’s second Black mayor, while Alvin Bragg became Manhattan’s first Black district attorney.
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe conceded his run for governor after a bruising campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin. The race was widely watched as a bellwether for the national mood amid the coronavirus pandemic and first year of Democrats’ unified control of Washington.
“Congratulations to Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory. I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family,” McAuliffe said in a Wednesday morning statement.
While he acknowledged the campaign “came up short” in the race, McAuliffe reiterated the need to make progress on progressive priorities like health care, voting rights and family policy.
McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor after a 2013 victory that presaged Democrats’ later victories in the state legislature in 2018. Youngkin’s victory, as well as a narrow Republican recapture of the state House, came as a shock to Democrats in Virginia and nationally.
– Matthew Brown
The Republican campaign committee for the House announced Wednesday it would add 13 Democrats to the list targeted for defeat in the 2022 election, after Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race.
The National Republican Congressional Committee had 57 Democratic lawmakers in its sights and added 13 names.
“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who is chairman of the campaign committee. “Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders and spurred a nationwide crime wave.”
The Democrats added to the target list are: Reps. Greg Stanton in Arizona, Ed Perlmutter in Colorado, Joe Courtney in Connecticut, Darren Soto in Florida, Sanford Bishop in Georgia, Frank Mrvan in Indiana, David Trone in Maryland, G.K. Butterfield in North Carolina, Annie Kuster in New Hampshire, Teresa Leger-Fernandez in New Mexico, Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania, Jim Cooper in Tennessee and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia.
– Bart Jansen
National Republican leaders are wasting no time promoting Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, calling it a sign that they will triumph in next year’s congressional elections.
In a memo to colleagues, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said that “Washington Democrats have ignored their constituents, and they have been punished by the voters they serve.”
“Americans want new leadership,” added McCarthy, who would presumably become Speaker of the House if the Republicans win a majority in next November’s election.
Not so fast, some Democrats said. While reversals in Virginia and elsewhere were disappointing, Democrats and their allies said they still plan to retain the House and Senate – though Tuesday’s election did yield warning signs.
Republican scare tactics only work “if Democrats in Washington aren’t offering a bold vision for the future and delivering on that promise,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “They have to start delivering, because the midterm election season is now here.”
– David Jackson
Get politics in your inbox:Subscribe here to our OnPolitics newsletter
The right to food won rave reviews Tuesday from Maine voters, who passed the nation’s first guarantee for people to grow, harvest and eat according to their own wishes.
The Maine ballot measure was one of several in states seeking to create new constitutional rights touching on an array of issues. Some were a response to policies put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, including a pair of Texas proposals limiting restrictions on religious gatherings and nursing home visits.
Maine’s unique measure declares individuals have an “unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing.” It passed comfortably.
“It’s always a good idea to secure and protect an individual right in the world we live in. Food is life,” said Democratic state Sen. Craig Hickman, a supporter of the proposal. “I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid of saying so out loud in the constitution.”
Opponents had worried the measure might lead some people to try to raise cattle in cities.
– Associated Press
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Candidates for Virginia’s statewide down-ballot offices were engaged in tight races early Wednesday, with the Democrats slightly trailing their GOP rivals. The races were too early to call.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, voters chose between two women for a post that has been held by men for as long as the state has existed. Democrat Hala Ayala, a delegate from Woodbridge, faced Republican Winsome Sears, who served in the legislature for a single term two decades ago and was attempting a political comeback. Either also would be the first woman of color to be elected to statewide office in Virginia.
The winner will succeed Democrat Justin Fairfax, who unsuccessfully ran for governor. The marquee election Tuesday was the gubernatorial race, which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won, defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
While the AP did not call the down-ballot races, Republicans were claiming victories in both. Sears stood with her family in front of cheering supporters at a victory party in Chantilly, saying, “What you are looking at is the American Dream.”
Ayala did not concede defeat early Wednesday morning.
For attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring was seeking a third term against Republican Jason Miyares, a delegate from Virginia Beach. Herring would be the first attorney general to win a third term since World War II.
Miyares, the son of a Cuban immigrant, also declared victory early Wednesday, saying he is now the first Latino to be elected statewide in Virginia. “I can’t wait to go to work with Governor Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Sears for you,” he said.
Herring had not conceded defeat early Wednesday morning.
– Associated Press
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appeared to win a fifth term Tuesday after lodging a robust write-in effort against India Walton, a trained nurse and activist whose socialist beliefs became a central issue in the race.
Brown, a Democrat who first took office in 2006, resorted to a write-in campaign after losing a June primary to Walton, a Democrat making her first run for office.
The effort, initially thought to be a longshot, appeared to be successful, though it won’t be official until the write-in votes are verified and mail-in ballots are counted.
Write-in candidates received 33,994 votes — about 59% of the total — with 98% of election districts reporting late Tuesday, according to the Erie County Board of Elections.
– Jon Campbell, New York State Team
An excited Glenn Youngkin claimed the governor’s office in Virginia by telling supporters he would pursue a transformation of the state’s economy and school system.
“We can build a new day,” Youngkin told screaming supporters at a hotel in northern Virginia early Wednesday.
Youngkin, a decided underdog at the start of the campaign, overtook Democrat Terry McAuliffe by stressing education – especially the teaching of race and history – and the economy.
“Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in his victory speech.
– David Jackson
Retired police officer Eric Adams defeated underdog Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa on Tuesday to become the second Black mayor in the history of New York City. The mayor-elect promised to reflect the needs of working and middle-class voters of color.
Former federal prosecutor Alvin Bragg will become the first Black person to lead the Manhattan district attorney’s office after his win over Republican opponent Thomas Kenniff.
– Chelsey Cox
MINNEAPOLIS – Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a new Department of Public Safety, an idea that supporters had hoped would bring radical change to policing in the city where George Floyd’s death under an officer’s knee brought calls for racial justice.
The initiative would have changed the city charter to remove a requirement that the city have a police department with a minimum number of officers. Supporters said a complete overhaul of policing was necessary to stop police violence. Opponents said the proposal had no concrete plan for how to move forward and warned it would leave some communities already affected by violence more vulnerable as crime is on the rise.
Those opponents welcomed the amendment’s defeat but stressed the urgency of transforming policing in the city even without it.
“Tonight Minneapolis voters have made clear that we want a planful approach to transforming policing and public safety in our city that needs to include meaningful consultation with the communities that are most impacted by both violent crime and by over-policing,” said Leili Fatehi, manager of the All of Mpls campaign.
The ballot proposal had roots in the abolish-the-police movement that erupted after Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year.
– Associated Press