TELLING STORIES, CHANGING THE CONVERSATION

Democrats take home critical victories, Republicans held onto key offices in off-year elections

in Highlights/Politics & Social Justice by

Off year elections show big wins on both sides, and a historical win for a third party.

Virginia

Democrats win big, taking both House and Senate, making it the first time since the early 1990s. The victory brought some surprises, as the state still deals with the lingering effects of the fallout between, Governor Ralph Northram, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring.

Both Northram and Herring were linked to wearing blackface—Northram while at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Herring at a college party during his enrollment at the University of Virginia. When it was possible that Fairfax would be named governor if Northram stepped down, in February of this year, several news outlets released stories about Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson who came forward alleging Fairfax sexually assaulted them. On CBS News, correspondent Gayle King interviewed them.

Fairfax claimed that the allegations were part of a smear campaign to remove him from office. Though no criminal charges were filed, both women agreed to testify. In September, Fairfax filed a $400 million lawsuit against CBS News for running stories about the allegations without properly vetting the women.

“They put these stories on the air, broadcast what were fabricated claims to millions of people without doing their homework and with a reckless disregard for the truth,” told Fairfax on the Roland Martin Unfiltered show.

According to Fairfax, text messages between Thaddeus “Thad” Williamson, a former aide of Richmond, Virginia’s Mayor Levar Stoney, Williamson’s wife, Adria Scharf, and Tyson, on conversation prior to the press stories on allegations. “looks like Governor Northram is to be forced to resign tomorrow, we need to get your story out today to the press,” said Fairfax to Roland Martin.

The ‘fuck you’ that won a seat

October 29, 2017 – Juli Briskman gestures with her middle finger as a motorcade with US President Donald Trump departs Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)


Juli Briskman upset the Republican incumbent, Suzanne Volpe for the Algonkian District seat on the Loudon County Board of Supervisors with 52.4 percent of the vote.

Before this, Briskman rose to popularity when a picture of her biking next to President Donald Trump’s motorcade, flicking him the bird went viral. Subsequently, her employer, a federal contractor that provides business processes and shared back-office support named, Akima LLC, fired her. Briskman ended up having to fight for severance, and also alleged that an executive referred to another employee as a “fucking Libtard asshole,” but kept his job.

Turning her fight into activism, Briskman announced her candidacy stating:

“Today, I am filing my organizational papers in a bid for local office in Loudoun County, Va. Loudoun deserves transparency in government, fully funded schools & smarter solutions to growth. It’s time for a change.”

Kentucky

Andy Bashear on the campaign trail takes picture with supporter. Photo credit: Bashear campaign Facebook page.


A close race in Kentucky results in the win for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andy Bashear declaring a win with 49.2 percent of the vote. But, Bashear’s opponent and Republican incumbent, Governor Matt Bevine, received 48.8 percent, yet refuses to concede.

Trump who campaigned for Bevine said at a rally that losing, “sends a really bad message.” At the same time, the state’s House and Senate remain Republican. Nonetheless, Bashear’s win shows a shift in a red territory dealing with chronic issues such as poverty, a heroin epidemic, healthcare and water quality.

Another historical first is the election of Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s first African American attorney general. Cameron, a staunch Republican endorsed by Trump, supported Gov. Bevine’s incumbency, and is noted as a protégé of US Senator Mitch McConnell. 

Pennsylvania

Kendra Brooks


In Pennsylvania, Democrats maintained the stronghold shown in the midterm elections. The suburban communities of Delaware County and Chester county dripped blue victories, which was a first in over 100 years for Delaware county. 

One of the biggest wins, is the victory of third party candidate, Kendra Brooks who scored a seat as City Council at Large. Brooks is part of the Working Families Party, 

During her victory speech, she said, “They said a black single mom from North Philly wasn’t the right person, but we have shown them that we are bigger than them.”

New York – New Jersey – Mississippi

Jumaane Williams


Pubic advocate Jumaane Williams secured his position as public advocate, while five ballot measures were approved. One of them now allows the Board to investigate police officers.

In New Jersey, a Democratic majority chambers remain, but a local measure in Jersey City might be a tell-tale sign of resident push back against short term rental company, Air BnB. Voters approved a bill that limits the number of times  a landlord can rent their properties.

Mississippi maintained its position as a red state.

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