You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Democrats Score Big Wins in Virginia, New Jersey in Message to Trump

WASHINGTON — Democrats swept governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday and made significant gains elsewhere in off-year elections, a signal of voter disenchantment with President Donald Trump.

Ralph Northam was projected to win the race for governor of Virginia, and Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, won the statehouse in New Jersey.

Pundits, pollsters, and media figures weighed whether the results were in any way a bellwether on Trump’s tenure so far or GOP control of the federal government.

Northam, an Army medic in the first gulf war who is the state’s lieutenant governor, came into the race with a significant lead, but it has narrowed in the waning weeks of the campaign, as Republican Ed Gillespie has hammered him on issues like crime and immigration. Northam ended up defeating Gillespie by nine percentage points, far more than expected.

Gillespie, a lobbyist and the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, distanced himself from Trump but ran a campaign that had shades of Trump’s message. He ran a combative series of campaign ads, even hitting Northam on one of Trump’s culturally divisive issues, the retention of Confederate statues. That issue gained traction after the clash of white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in August, over the city’s planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Speaking to supporters on Tuesday evening, Northam called for the state to “close the wounds” of division, and added, “The Virginia way is to work together to get results.”

Northam’s victory was a sign that moderate and progressive wings of the party could put differences aside and turn out in an off-year race. In the days leading up to the election, there had been consternation that Democrats were not united, even a year after the bruising defeat of Hillary Clinton, and seemed destined to fight over what led to her loss.

Despite the enduring divisions, though, Democrats had the advantage of a common foe — Trump.

Democrats also swept Virginia’s other statewide offices, as Mark Herring was re-elected as attorney general and Justin Fairfax was elected lieutenant governor. They had a shot at picking up at least 17 seats in the House of Delegates, enough to win control.

Trump weighed in early on Tuesday, tweeting his support for Gillespie and bashing Northam. “Ralph Northam will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia. He’s weak on crime, weak on our GREAT VETS, Anti-Second Amendment and has been horrible on Virginia economy.” He urged voters to support Gillespie, and also recorded a robocall.

After Northam’s victory, Trump tweeted blame at Gillespie, writing that he “worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”

In New Jersey, Murphy’s projected win over Republican Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor, was believed to be aided by the unpopularity of the state’s current governor, Chris Christie. Christie’s approval rating never recovered since a bridge closing scandal that unfolded in 2014, and it further eroded after he endorsed Trump for president, a contrast to the heavily blue state. Murphy held a wide lead throughout the race, and his win was expected.

In New York City, Bill de Blasio easily won another term as mayor over Nicole Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman, who was his Republican challenger.

Democrats were poised to also make significant gains in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Danica Roem defeated an incumbent Republican, Bob Marshall, to become the first transgender individual elected to the state legislature and perhaps the first elected to a statehouse in the country. Marshall was a social conservative who earlier this year introduced a state “bathroom” bill to restrict access to transgender individuals.

Another state legislative candidate, TV reporter Chris Hurst, also defeated a Republican incumbent, Joseph Yost. Hurst was the boyfriend of Alison Parker, a news anchor for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke who was killed when a disgruntled employee shot her and a cameraman during a live broadcast in 2015. Hurst ran in favor of gun control against an opponent backed by the National Rifle Association.

Democrats also made gains in Georgia and New Hampshire legislatures, and also were likely to win control of the state legislature in Washington. If so, that would mean that Democrats control all of the state legislatures on the West Coast.

“A resounding defeat tonight for President Trump,” former Vice President Joseph Biden wrote in a tweet. “Voters around the country rejected the ugly politics we have seen this past year. Instead, they chose candidates who unite and inspire us.”


More Politics

  • Michael Portillo Making ‘The Trouble With

    Michael Portillo Making ‘The Trouble With the Tory Party’ for Viacom’s Channel 5

    On the day that British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation plans, a prominent former politician has unveiled a two-part documentary about the troubles faced by her Conservative party. Michael Portillo is a former senior Conservative politician and leadership candidate. As the starting gun is sounded on a fresh leadership race, his documentary “Portillo: [...]

  • Twitter

    Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform's Rules

    Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform. “The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter rep said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake [...]

  • Theresa May

    British Prime Minister Theresa May Announces Resignation

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7. She set the timetable for her resignation, Friday. It paves the way for a contest to decide on a new U.K. Prime Minister. She will remain as Prime Minister until a new leader is in position. The Prime [...]

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

  • tammy brook

    FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division

    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content