What We Know So Far
- Democrats will take control of the House and Republicans will hold on to the Senate.
- Many well-known Democrats lost, but there’s also a new crop of winners on the left.
- Democrats picked up at least 23 seats in Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, and Denver suburbs.
- Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Rep. Beto O’Rourke in Texas.
- Democrats Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp have lost their Senate seats to Republicans.
- Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are the first Muslim women in Congress.
- Republican Marsha Blackburn won a Tennessee Senate seat, despite Taylor Swift endorsing her opponent.
- Voters upheld a transgender rights law by a landslide in Massachusetts.
- Colorado’s Jared Polis was elected as the first openly gay governor in the US.
- Florida voters restored voting rights for more than 1 million convicted felons.
Republican congressman Duncan Hunter has won reelection despite being indicted
Congressman Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, has won reelection despite being indicted on charges that he and his wife used more than $250,000 in campaign funds on vacation and other personal purposes.
Prosecutors say the expenses included vacations to destinations including Italy and Hawaii. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are also accused of using more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for their child’s school tuition and dental procedures.
Hunter also allegedly spent campaign money on five individuals with whom he was having a “personal relationship,” according to the indictment.
In all, Hunter and his wife face 60 counts to which they have pleaded not guilty. As a result, House Speaker Paul Ryan temporarily removed Hunter from his committee roles, including his spot on the Armed Services Committee.
A Democrat in Montana held on to his Senate seat despite Trump’s best efforts to knock him out
Democrat Jon Tester narrowly defeated Republican newcomer Matthew Rosendale after a tight race defined, in part, by President Trump’s active interest in the sitting senator’s defeat.
Tester, first elected in 2006, earned the president’s ire in April by releasing a report as ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs that questioned the suitability of Trump’s pick for VA secretary, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson.
Amid the report’s accusations, which included unethical practices in prescribing medicine, an “explosive” temper, and drinking on the job, Jackson withdrew his nomination, leaving Trump furious and blaming the Montana senator. “Secret Service has just informed me that Senator Jon Tester’s statements on Admiral Jackson are not true,” the president tweeted on Apr. 28. “Tester should lose race in Montana. Very dishonest and sick!”
From that point on, Trump worked to make Tester’s race against State Auditor Rosendale personal. The president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also made a point of campaigning in the state. The Republican candidate’s biggest disadvantage in the race — one highlighted by Tester during debates and in campaign ads — was his status as a newcomer not just to politics but to the state itself. Rosendale, a real estate developer, moved to Montana from Maryland in 2002; Tester is a lifelong Montana resident and farmer.
Republicans banked on Trump’s popularity in the state, which he won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016, to carry Rosendale over the finish line. At a rally in July, the president boasted that he won Montana “by so many points that I don’t have to come here,” while attacking Tester for allegedly failing the state’s citizens. By Election Day, Trump had visited Montana four times for campaign rallies — tied with Indiana for the most visits to any state during the midterm election cycle.
Rick Scott and Bill Nelson may be headed for a recount
Rick Scott and Bill Nelson may be headed for a recount in Florida’s Senate race, where Scott was leading by a thin margin.
“We are proceeding to a recount,” incumbent Senator Nelson said in a statement put out by his campaign on Wednesday morning.
The Florida Secretary of State had not ordered a recount as of Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
The campaign will be contacting voters whose ballots may not have been counted, and the statement said that in the meantime they intend “to have observers in all 67 counties watching for any irregularities, mistakes or unusual partisan activities.”
The Nelson campaign, citing numbers from the New York Times and the AP also said in a second statement that there are “an estimated 113,000 votes to be counted,” and that these will come from “areas where Nelson would be expected to win by 24.9%.”
“This race is over. It’s a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists,” said Scott spokesperson Chris Hartline.
Scott had declared victory just before midnight on Tuesday, but Nelson declined to concede, saying the vote count was too close to call.
BuzzFeed News and Decision Desk HQ had also called the race for Scott around 11:30 p.m., with vote totals showing Scott up by 51,315 votes, or about .64% at that time. As votes continued to come in, that margin narrowed. The Florida Board of Elections shows Scott is up by a margin of just 30,161 votes, or .37% as of Wednesday morning.
Florida law mandates a vote recount by machine when the vote difference is less than half of one percent. Totals are due by noon on Saturday, at which point Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner would be required to order a recount if the current vote difference is maintained.
Scott, who is currently Governor of the state, spent millions of his own money on the race, making it one of the most expensive of the 2018 election cycle. He was first elected with a wave of tea party candidates in 2010. Nelson, who was the incumbent, has represented Florida in the Senate on and off since 1978.
Student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, where 17 students were killed in a gun massacre in February, had repeatedly called out Scott for taking money from the NRA.
“I’m, like, shaking with anger right now,” said MSD student and March for Our Lives organizer Jaclyn Corin, reacting to election wins by multiple NRA-backed candidates in the state.
Trump called the midterm election a big win, even though Republicans lost the House
President Trump spent the morning after Election Day doing a victory lap on Twitter, despite losing control of the House.
“Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye!” he tweeted, while also congratulating Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis beat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a race that came down to just over 70,000 votes after polls had predicted a Gillum win. The contest was marked by racist advertising against Gillum in the home stretch, and by multiple visits from Trump, who spends much of his time at his Palm Beach resort Mar-A-Lago.
Trump also claimed to have received “many” calls congratulating him on the outcome, including from unnamed “foreign nations (friends)” who he said were awaiting election results to negotiate trade deals.
Devin Nunes, a top Trump defender against the Russia investigation, has won reelection
Rep. Devin Nunes won reelection in his reliably Republican Central California district, beating Democratic newcomer Andrew Janz by double digits Tuesday night.
The Republican has represented California’s 22nd District since 2003 and gained national name recognition the last two years over his widely partisan handling of the House’s Russia investigation as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The committee’s direction under his leadership drew the ire of Democrats nationwide, as well as criticism from some of Nunes’ constituents, who felt their representative was ignoring local concerns in favor of national political grandstanding.
That opened the door for a Democratic challenge from Janz, a relatively unknown Fresno prosecutor. Janz raised over $8 million for his campaign, a massive haul for a political newcomer.
But Nunes was happy to campaign against the Fresno Bee, a local newspaper that he accused of having a “leftist, liberal, socialist” agenda in a 38-page magazine that his campaign mailed to more than 100,000 people.
The Bee endorsed Janz, declining to support Nunes for the first time since he ran in 2002.
“Voters in the 22nd District have a chance to become a model for the nation,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “They can elect a representative who will both help them with their needs, listen to their concerns and invite them into the process, and chart a bipartisan course that the nation must find if it is to meet the challenges of the future.”
An incumbent Republican eked out a victory in a Nebraska swing district, a blow to national progressives
Incumbent Republican Don Bacon beat out Democrat newcomer Kara Eastman Tuesday in the race for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
Bacon was himself a political newcomer when he won the seat in 2016, defeating incumbent Democrat Brad Ashford by a slim margin. As a congressman, he has voted in line with President Donald Trump’s positions 97% of the time, including with a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a move for which he was heavily criticized during town halls in his district in 2017.
Eastman, a nonprofit director, beat out establishment favorite and former congressman Ashford during the Democratic primary in May after running a progressive campaign highlighting her support for single-payer health care. Medicare for All is still considered a risky position for Democrats, particularly those in swing states, but Eastman was championed by progressives who see it as a solution to the country’s health care problems.
The candidates clashed on nearly every issue during debates, presenting two very different views for a traditionally swing district that includes liberal-leaning Omaha and its conservative-minded suburbs.
Gov. Scott Walker has lost Wisconsin, denying the Republican a third term in office
Once considered the future of the Republican party, Gov. Scott Walker will now at least have to pause his political career after he was beaten by the state’s schools superintendent, Tony Evers.
Walker’s team said the race was “too close to call” and Walker was unwilling to concede defeat — but the Associated Press called the result at 1:24 a.m. CST.
Walker, 51, was first elected in 2010, boosted by the tea party movement, and launched a presidential bid in 2016. He had survived a recall vote and two gubernatorial races.
Democrats have won the Nevada Senate seat held by Dean Heller, who was on-again, off-again with Trump
Republican Sen. Dean Heller — who’s been both threatened by and embraced by President Trump — has lost to challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen, handing a critical seat to the Democrats.
Heller was the only Republican Senate incumbent up for reelection this year, in a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Since that election, Heller has moved from being one of Trump’s most vocal critics in the Republican Party to an ally.
In the lead-up to November 2016, Heller said he was “100% against Clinton, 99% against Trump.”
Then, in July 2017, during a meeting with Trump on his health care legislation push, the president issued a not-so-veiled threat to Heller, who was sitting right next to him:
This was the one we were worried about. You weren’t there. But you’re gonna be. You’re gonna be. Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he? And I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they’re gonna appreciate what you hopefully will do. Any senator who votes against starting debate is really telling America that you’re fine with Obamacare. But being fine with Obamacare isn’t enough for another reason. Because it’s gone. It’s failed. It’s not gonna be around.
But all was eventually forgiven.
The president held a rally in October in Nevada for Heller’s campaign. “Once he and I got on the same page, and now we are always on the same page, he has been as smart and tough and strong as anyone in Washington,” Trump said. Heller has since called him “a great leader.”
Rosen, a Democrat who’s touted her bipartisanship, seized on the opportunity to win over conservatives disaffected with the Trump administration. Polling placed the two candidates within a point or two of each other for weeks before the election.
Ultimately, Rosen defeated Heller, 51–46%.
A Democrat beat Trump’s pick for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District
Democrat Joe Cunningham will represent South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District after beating Republican Katie Arrington, who’d received support from President Trump.
Arrington beat incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in the primary election after Trump tweeted about her, and the president credited his involvement for her win. Sanford, a longtime Republican politician in the state, had been critical of the president and said he refused to put loyalty to Trump above his loyalty to the US Constitution and his principles.
Over the campaign, Arrington and Cunningham differed on health care, offshore drilling, and reproductive rights. Ultimately, Cunningham won by just over 3,000, winning 50.7% of the vote.
With Georgia’s gubernatorial race still too close to call, Democrat Stacey Abrams says voters with get a “do-over”
Democrat Stacey Abrams refused to concede Georgia’s gubernatorial election early Wednesday and suggested the race was headed to a runoff after thousands of voters were stymied by long lines and broken machines.
“Votes remain to be counted,” Abrams told supporters. “We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach, but we cannot seize it until all voices are heard.”
With 97% of precincts reporting, Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who is also Georgia’s secretary of state, was leading with 51%. Abrams was trailing with 48% of the vote.
The governor’s race in Georgia has been one of the most contentious and closely watched in the country, with the candidates clashing over voting rights up to Election Day.
Earlier on Tuesday, a group of voters sued Kemp in an attempt to stop him from overseeing the election.
“This election has tested our faith,” Abrams said. “I’m not going to name names but some have worked to take our voices away.”
She added that voters would get “a do-over,” implying that the race would go to a runoff.
“Friends, we are still on the verge of history and the best is yet to come,” Abrams said.
—Stephanie K. Baer
The biggest Democratic stars of the midterms lost tonight
A high-profile group of Democratic candidates who defined a rising, diverse, progressive populist generation lost their races Tuesday night, even as their party was left victorious — and scouring newly elected members of Congress from New Jersey to Kansas for a new set of stars.
The names you’ve heard are Beto O’Rourke out of Texas, Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (who is not conceding her race early Wednesday morning), and Florida’s Andrew Gillum, who was featured in a Vox article Tuesday speculating on his presidential plans. They have all been the subjects of countless national media profiles, including by BuzzFeed News.
Those Democratic powerhouses lost their respective battles Tuesday night, but a new, wildly diverse, and largely female group clinched major wins in their quests to join the House of Representatives. Some of them were widely expected to win and on their way to national recognition. Others kept themselves largely out of the national conversation, running to win local races in suburban districts far from the coastal media centers.
—Nidhi Prakash, Molly Hensley-Clancy, Brianna Sacks, Azeen Ghorayshi, Ben Smith
Women candidates won a historic number of elections on Tuesday
In a historic victory for women candidates, at least 110 won elections across the country Tuesday night, taking over high-level political positions including House seats, Senate seats, and governorships. Next year, a record number of women candidates, most of them Democrats, will be in Congress.
The women who won Tuesday night were a key part of Democrats taking the majority in the House. Eighty-four of the total number of Democrats who have won seats in House so far are women, pushing the party to a several-seat majority.
Among the notable victories Tuesday night, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first two Native American women to win election to the House as well. Several Democratic women flipped districts that had been Republican for years, like Lizzie Fletcher, whose Texas district had voted Republican for five decades.
“This is thrilling. There is going to be a historic number of women walking onto the floor of the US House in January … they’re going to change the way things work,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List — a PAC that helps “pro-choice, Democratic women” to run for office — told BuzzFeed News Tuesday night.
Here are some of the biggest moments of the 2018 midterm elections
Democrats took the House and Republicans kept the Senate, Beto O’Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, some very controversial candidates won, and there were a lot of firsts.
Iowa Republican Steve King holds on to his House seat
Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa hung on to his congressional seat Tuesday night, despite the deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh drawing attention to his history of racist and anti-Semitic comments.
In doing so, King defeated Democrat J.D. Scholten, a 38-year-old former minor league baseball player, the Associated Press reported.
King, who has represented a sprawling Northwest Iowa district since 2003, has repeatedly made racist statements, speaking often about his fear of the US losing its white Christian majority to immigrants and people of color, with little outcry from his Republican colleagues.
Beto O’Rourke thanked supporters in his concession speech: “I’m so fucking proud of you guys”
Democrat Beto O’Rourke expressed gratitude to his supporters in El Paso after conceding to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race late Tuesday.
“I’m so fucking proud of you guys,” O’Rourke said. “I am forever grateful to every single one of you for making this possible. I believe in you, I believe in Texas, I believe in this country, and I love you more than words can express.”
O’Rourke, a representative of Texas’s 16th Congressional District, mounted an impressive challenge against Cruz and garnered support nationwide, but it wasn’t enough.
“I am as inspired, I am as hopeful as I have ever been in my life, and tonight’s loss does nothing to diminish the way I feel about Texas or this country,” O’Rourke said, adding that he offered to help Cruz, “to ensure that Texas helps to lead this country in a way that brings us back together around the big things that we want to achieve.”
—Stephanie K. Baer
Pelosi pledged bipartisan efforts as Democrats took control of the House
Nancy Pelosi, who has been the House minority leader, pledged bipartisan efforts as Democrats were on track to take control. “A Democratic Congress will work on solutions that will bring us together because we have all have had enough of division,” she told the crowd of supporters and volunteers. “People want peace … and unity for our country.”
Pelosi vowed that the new Congress would focus on issues important to the people, such as lowering prescription drug prices, ensuring that health care did not exclude those with preexisting conditions, and “draining the swamp” of dark money in elections.
She also said Tuesday’s results are more than a referendum on either Democrats or Republicans, and are about “restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
According to her spokesperson, President Trump called Pelosi late Tuesday night to “extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House majority.”
It’s been a good night for Democrats in Virginia
Democrats in Virginia reelected Tim Kaine to the Senate and now control seven of the state’s 11 seats in the House of Representatives.
Three women Democrats — Jennifer Wexton, Abigail Spanberger, and Elaine Luria — unseated their opponents in districts that historically favored Republicans.
Wexton, a former prosecutor and state senator, flipped the first seat in the House in favor of Democrats by defeating Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock — one of the most vulnerable seats in this year’s election.
Spanberger defeated incumbent Dave Brat in a historically Republican district. She became the first Democrat to win the 7th Congressional District’s seat since 1970.
Elaine Luria unseated Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, who faced allegations that his campaign had tried to help an independent candidate get on the ballot to take votes away from Luria.
The only key race to go to a Republican in Virginia was that won by Denver Riggleman, the candidate accused of circulating Bigfoot erotica and later of “liking” racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive Facebook pages.
Riggleman won a US House seat against Democrat Leslie Cockburn in the state’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Charlottesville.
Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, easily won reelection for a Senate seat against Republican challenger Corey Stewart, who has praised the Confederate flag and was criticized for associating with Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
“Virginia showed who we are and who we aren’t,” Kaine said during his victory speech Tuesday. “It will be the Democrats who will eventually make sure women are represented in all our legislative bodies.”
—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos
Elizabeth Warren’s victory speech sounded like a pitch for 2020
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren used her victory speech on Tuesday to applaud women for getting involved in politics, in a speech that sounded like a pitch for the 2020 presidential election.
“We came to fight for decency. We came to fight for justice. We came to fight for change. And now we take that fight to Washington to make the government work not just for the rich and the powerful but make it work for everyone else,” Warren said.
Her supporters were given “persist” signs to hold, a nod to Mitch McConnell’s infamous “Nevertheless, she persisted” line uttered about Warren in 2017.
“We have come so far together: fought together, cried together, resisted together, and sure as hell persisted together. Tonight we send a message to the world: We’re just getting started,” said Warren, to cheers.
Warren applauded women in politics, from candidates and political organizers to those who’ve marched in rallies.
“This resistance began with women and it is being led by women tonight,” said Warren.
“Two years ago, on a very dark election night, millions of women watched in horror as Donald Trump was elected president. They didn’t like it. But they didn’t whimper. They didn’t whine. They fought back,” she said.
Warren has served as a Democratic senator since 2013 and is widely considered as a likely 2020 candidate. Apart from applauding fellow Massachusetts candidates, such as Ayanna Pressley, Warren focused her speech on national issues.
“Donald Trump and his corrupt friends have spent the last two years building walls of anger, division, and resentment,” Warren said. “Tonight as the first cracks begin to appear in that wall, let us declare that our fight is not over until we have transformed our government into one that works not just for the rich and the powerful, but for everyone.”
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin is keeping his Senate seat in a state Trump won in a landslide
Incumbent Joe Manchin edged out Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia’s Senate race.
Manchin, the state’s former governor, won his seat in a special election after the death of longtime senator Robert Byrd in 2010. He was reelected in 2012, but since that time West Virginia has shifted further to the right — President Trump won the state in 2016 by a whopping 42 percentage points, winning every one of the state’s counties.
Riding high on the president’s popularity — Manchin was labeled one of 2018’s most vulnerable Democrats — Republicans seized on the opportunity to maintain their control of the Senate by flipping the West Virginia seat.
Manchin is the fourth Democrat to secure reelection in a state Trump won, but his victory comes long after Republicans clinched enough races to keep their majority in the Senate.
Two-term state Attorney General Morrisey earned Trump’s support early in the Republican primary and the president held three campaign rallies for the nominee in the months leading up to the election. “Patrick has great Energy & Stamina-I need his VOTE to MAGA. Total Endorsement!” the president tweeted in August before one such rally.
Almost one month to the day before the election, faced with his opponent’s growing popularity and conservative constituents, Manchin announced his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, making him the only Senate Democrat to cast his vote for the controversial judge. The move infuriated Manchin’s Democratic base in his home state, and many Republicans, including his opponent and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., mocked him for waiting until after it was clear that Kavanaugh would be nominated to announce his own swing vote.
“He waited until the last possible minute after Susan Collins declared for him to take a position, effectively allowing Maine to decide how West Virginia’s going to decide,” Morrisey told the Associated Press in an interview. “We shouldn’t reward that kind of cowardice.”
Republicans have flipped four seats in the Senate, potentially expanding their majority
Republicans have not only held on to their majority in the Senate, but could be expanding it after wrestling four seats away from Democrats on Tuesday.
With victories in Indiana, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Florida, the GOP managed to hold on to control, even after the House appeared to be destined for a Democrat majority.
In Indiana, Republican Mike Braun was able to oust Sen. Joe Donnelly, and Josh Hawley defeated Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
Former governor Rick Scott in Florida and Kevin Cramer in North Dakota were also poised to win.
Senate seats held by Republicans in Nevada and Arizona still appeared vulnerable late Tuesday night, but Republicans were positioned to build on their razor-thin majority of 51 seats by the time all votes were counted.
A Republican held on to his seat in the Philadelphia suburbs, after Trump flipped the state red
Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick triumphed over Democrat newcomer Scott Wallace in the race for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, a true swing seat that encompasses South Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs.
The district was redrawn earlier this year after a gerrymandering legal challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court, but even with that, it remained a traditionally toss-up race. For example, it includes Bucks County, which voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton — but also for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — in 2016.
Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and prosecutor, was elected before the redrawing in 2016 and found himself representing a district where 54% of his constituents disapproved of Republican President Trump when the new lines were drawn earlier this year. He worked to appeal to undecided Democrats throughout his campaign, pointing to his record as a moderate, citing his vote against the repeal of the Affordable Health Act and opposition to the executive order that barred citizens from certain Muslim countries from entering the US.
Political newcomer Wallace, a philanthropist with a net worth between $127 million and $309 million, ran his campaign as an outsider who would represent his constituents without pressure from special interest groups, and emphasized his refusal to accept corporate donations in his ads. The Democrat pledged to donate his congressional salary within the district and attacked his opponent for voting for the 2017 tax bill, which he said helped the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. In the months leading up to the election, he worked to paint Fitzpatrick as a Trump supporter, banking on the president’s unpopularity in the district.
Jim Jordan, amid questions about a college wrestling sex abuse scandal, easily won reelection
Republican Jim Jordan coasted to victory, easily defeating longtime Democratic challenger Janet Garrett and paving the way for a possible leadership role in the new Congress.
Jordan won the race for Ohio’s 4th Congressional District on Tuesday night with 65% of the vote.
The lawmaker faced national scrutiny during the last months of his campaign over accusations from several former Ohio State University student-athletes that Jordan failed to report their sexual assaults at the hands of the wrestling team doctor while working at the university as an assistant coach. Jordan, a former college wrestler who coached at OSU from 1987 to 1995, denied any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
A staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, Jordan has represented his heavily gerrymandered district since 2007. He is one of the founding members and leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which helped to unseat then-speaker John Boehner in 2015. In July, he announced his candidacy for speaker of the house in a letter vowing to follow through on the president’s legislative agenda if elected to the leadership position after Paul Ryan confirmed he would be resigning from Congress.
Garrett, a retired schoolteacher who served in the Peace Corps, also ran and lost against Jordan in 2014, by 35 points, and 2016, by 36 points.
Her 2018 campaign marked a significant increase in funding from previous races and attracted national donors online, particularly after Jordan attacked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a tense House Judiciary Committee hearing in June. In October, Garrett’s campaign released a Handmaid’s Tale–themed ad targeting Jordan’s “anti-women” agenda, citing his voting record on issues such as abortion rights and equal pay.
Democrats won this Northern Virginia congressional seat for the first time since 1970
Democrat Abigail Spanberger pulled out a victory over incumbent Dave Brat in a historically Republican district that was unexpectedly too close to call in the polls until Election Day.
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District became the focus of national attention in 2014, when Brat unseated then–House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a stunning Republican primary upset. Upon entering Congress, he became a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, which staged a successful coup against Speaker John Boehner in 2015. Brat emerged as one of the House’s most hardline conservatives and won the support and endorsement of Trump in October.
Spanberger, a former CIA agent, made her first foray into politics with the congressional race, citing her lack of Washington experience as a positive that demonstrated she would work across party lines and working to appeal to moderate Republicans whom tea party candidate Brat alienated when he overthrew the GOP establishment.
Brat’s campaign worked to paint Spanberger as a hardcore liberal, a label that failed to stick when the two candidates met in their only debate. The Democrat candidate emphasized during the race that she would not support Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House if elected when Brat accused her of supporting “the Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda.”
Spanberger cited her federal law enforcement background when Brat brought up immigration issues and attacked the congressman for voting against protections for pre-existing conditions and for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Michigan voters have legalized marijuana
Michigan voters puff, puff, passed a measure to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, joining a wave of nine other states to break away from federal prohibition amid a seemingly unstoppable surge of public support to let adults use, buy, and sell the drug in peace.
State election officials showed the measure passing 58% to 42%, with 55% of precincts reporting.
Michigan Proposition 1 lets adults 21 and older purchase, possess, and use cannabis, while growing up to 12 plants for personal use. There’s a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences. Like nine other states, it mandates a licensing system for marijuana businesses. Sales of marijuana and edibles would be subjected to a 10% tax.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, North Dakota voters rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana — Measure 3 — by roughly 20 points. That proposal would have been an anomaly among legalization laws, in that it lacked any provision to regulate the marijuana industry. Rather, it would have wiped out all criminal penalties for possessing, growing, and selling marijuana — except sales to people under 21 — without imposing any structure to license farmers or stores.
Read more: Michigan Voters Have Legalized Marijuana
A Democrat will be governor of Kansas after earning Republican endorsements against a Trump-backed candidate
Democrat Laura Kelly will be the next governor of Kansas.
She and opponent Republican Kris Kobach polled within a point of each other for months, and they presented two very different visions for Kansas. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, has been embraced by President Trump for his anti-immigration positions and his — questionable — positions on voter fraud.
Kobach led Trump’s “election integrity commission,” which was formed after Trump falsely said that voter fraud swung the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The commission was a mess, it was sued several times, and it was disbanded. At home in Kansas, a federal judge fined Kobach $1,000 for making misleading arguments in a voting lawsuit.
Koback was also seen with Trump soon after the 2016 election holding a document that considered ways of barring immigrants from entering the US, including asking applicants about their support of “Sharia law,” which is an unfounded conspiracy theory.
On the campaign trail, Kobach vowed to cut taxes and government spending, continuing the work of former governor Sam Brownback.
Brownback’s tax cuts were repealed in 2016 as the state faced a budget crisis and slow economic growth, and Kelly, a current state senator, said she’d keep the budget balanced while seeking other ways to help struggling Kansans. She was endorsed by every living former governor of Kansas, Republican and Democrat — except for Brownback, who is now the Trump administration’s ambassador for International Religious Freedom.
Kobach, meanwhile, was found in contempt by a judge in April in a lawsuit related to Kansas’s voter ID law. He will also face a grand jury investigation about whether he intentionally failed to process voter registrations, preventing qualified citizens from voting. Kobach has denied that accusation, made by a Democrat running for the state legislature, as politically motivated.
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