Democrats are claiming a blue wave washed over the US. Is that true? According to Ballotpedia,
Elections [were] held in 59 of the 100 largest cities by population in 2017. This includes elections for 36 mayoral offices, 31 municipal officials other than mayor, 367 city council seats, and 50 special district officials. This represents an increase from 25 mayoral races and 133 city council elections in 33 of the 100 largest cities in 2016.
Locally, Pinellas County had a few referendums and races. 83% of voters approved extending the Penny for Pinellas program another decade.
Seminole residents re-elected Roger Edelman and Bob Matthews to City Council.
Dunedin residents passed all 5 charter amendments, with 93% of the voters approving an amendment requiring a code of ethics for the city workers and elected officials.
Clearwater and St. Pete charter amendments all passed as well.
The tightest race was in St. Petersburg between the two Ricks: former 2 term mayor Rick Baker and current mayor Rick Kriseman, seeking his second term. Kriseman won, gathering 3%, or about 2,200 votes, more. Darden Rice was easily re-elected to St. Pete City Council, and newcomers Brandi Gabbard and Gina Driscoll were added to the council as well. St. Pete’s City Council will have 5 women and 3 men serving on it, with 3 openly LGBT council members. And a lone Republican, though the council and mayor’s races are supposedly non-partisan.
Miami and Miami Beach were also electing mayors and city council members this November. Miami Commissioner Francis X. Suarez, son of a former Miami mayor, won the mayoral race, and former state rep and senator Dan Gelber is the new mayor elect in Miami Beach. His father also served as Miami Beach mayor.
National – was there a ‘Blue Wave’?
Pundits and regular people were watching the gubernatorial race in Virginia as a bellwether for the Democrats chance to not only get out the vote, but win a state with a candidate supported by Donald Trump. While much of rural Virginia stayed red, the cities and eastern part of the state were blue or pale pale pink, giving Democrat Ralph Northam a solid 8+% points win over Republican Ed Gillespie. There is a tale of two tweets with President Trump’s support, or lack thereof, for Gillespie:
Virginia also had multiple seats flip from red to blue, including a closely watched race between an openly transgender woman, Danica Roem, and the incumbent state legislator, Robert G. Marshall, who referred to himself as the state’s ‘Chief Homophobe’. Roem won by 9%. In addition, the 100 seat General Assembly, which had been solidly Republican (66 to 34), will be at best barely Republican, if not barely Democrat when all the votes are counted. Also, two Latina-American and a Vietnamese-American woman were also elected to the assembly for the first time.
New Jersey’s governorship, as expected went to Democrat Phil Murphy,; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was also, as expected, re-elected.
In Utah, Republican John Curtis was elected to resigned Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat, as expected in the conservative state.
Charlotte, North Carolina, elected its first African American woman as mayor, Vi Lyles. Throughout the country, women, people of color, a Sikh, openly transgender and others were elected to varying levels of government.
In Maine, another closely watched ballot initiative passed. Maine’s governor refused to pass Medicaid expansion, so activists got it on the ballot. It passed by almost 18%.
Whether Democrats can maintain their wave, or Republicans can regroup and find a way to re-engage voters, remains to be seen. The special election in Alabama on December 12th will be the next test. Democrat Doug Jones is hoping to defeat Republican Roy Moore and take now Attorney General Jeff Session’s old seat. All eyes on Alabama, and then Congress, in 2018.