Dems Score Big; Curtis Wins in Utah;
VA House: 12 Votes to a Win

By Jim Ellis

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is also a pediatric neurosurgeon

Virginia governor-elect Ralph Northam (D) is also a pediatric neurosurgeon

Nov. 8, 2017 — Democrats came roaring back, particularly in the Virginia elections last night, as Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) easily outpaced former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie to win the open Virginia governorship, keeping the position in the Democratic column. Northam scored a 54-45 percent win over Gillespie in a race that most pollsters projected to be much closer.

It appeared that Gillespie had momentum at the end of the past week, but last day polling again found Northam beginning to pull away. Those surveys correctly detected the final trend, as did the Quinnipiac University polls and Christopher Newport University’s final study, all considered outliers because the big margins extrapolated for Northam were outside the polling realm for the other dozen-plus polls released during the closing two-week period. In the end, the actual victory margin was nearer to the previously rejected polls.

Curiously, Gillespie ran behind the two other Republicans on the statewide ticket. All in a losing effort, lieutenant governor candidate Jill Vogel (R) pulled almost 50,000 more votes than the gubernatorial nominee, while attorney general nominee John Adams attracted just under 38,000 more. This could possibly be attributed to left over bad feelings generated from the close Republican primary election that saw Gillespie barely defeat Prince William County Board chairman and immigration policy activist Corey Stewart. Many Stewart voters stated that they would not support Gillespie in the general election, and it may well be that many of them followed through on their “promise.”

‘Many [Corey] Stewart voters stated that they would not support Gillespie in the general election, and it may well be that many of them followed through on their “promise.” ‘

Turning to New Jersey, the pollsters, who uniformly produced consistent data on this race throughout the general election cycle, proved correct. Former US Ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive Phil Murphy (D), as expected, recorded a 55-43 percent win over Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R). Murphy converts the governor’s mansion for the Democrats after eight years of having Republican Chris Christie.

The GOP received some good news in Utah, however. Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) successfully held the seat that former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Alpine/Sandy) resigned in June. Curtis scored 58 percent of the vote as compared to 27 percent for the Democratic nominee, Dr. Kathryn Allen. The remaining votes were split among four independent or minor party candidates. Only 61 percent of the votes are reported. Utah is conducting an all-mail election for this special and expects to have all ballots received and counted by Thursday. Turnout looks to have exceeded predictions that approximately 100,000 people would participate. Already, over 100,000 votes are tabulated with still 40 percent more to ballots arrive and be counted. Curtis’ margin is large enough that he has been projected the election winner even though so many votes remain outstanding.

Perhaps the most bizarre outcome of the evening occurred in the Virginia House of Delegates, where Democrats swept the region north of the Rappahannock River and have come close to taking the majority, an outcome not believed to be conceivable.

With 93 of the 100 Delegate races decided, Democrats have gained 13 seats in the state House. Seven campaigns are still too close to call when considering absentee and provisional ballots that remain to be counted. Should the current leaders remain constant in these seven contests, the House could revert to a 50-50 tie. The closest election is in District 94, where Republican incumbent David Yancey (R-Newport News) appears to have won by a mere 12 votes.

In the New Jersey legislature elections, Democrats appear to have gained one seat in the state Senate, while the Assembly looks to have no change in partisan division.

Some key mayoral elections were held around the country. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) easily won re-election with 66 percent of the vote against six opponents. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) won a crushing 72-28 percent re-election victory over state Sen. Coleman Young II (D), son of the former long-term Detroit Mayor, Coleman Young, Sr. St. Petersburg (FL) Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) scored a tight re-election victory over former Mayor Rick Baker (R). Democrats converted the Manchester, NH, mayoral post as Joyce Craig unseated incumbent Ted Gatsas (R).

Two more retirements were announced in the US House, and we will have a complete analysis on each of those in subsequent Updates. New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) and Texas Congressman Ted Poe (R-Atascocita/ Harris County) both said they will not seek re-election next year.

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