Last night was a great night for me personally, and actually a really good night for Democrats nationally, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Democrats should be really happy though. Donald Trump should be really not happy.
The Democrats thumped the Republicans in the House. They pulled back the Rust Belt. If last night’s map is the 2020 map, they win.
Yes, the Democratic heroes, people like Beto, Gillum, and Abrams, they all lost. What can we learn from that? Florida, Georgia, and Texas are all crappy states politically, and the 2020 Democratic nominee is not going to win them. Second, we should understand that our base, unlike their base, can’t be what carries us to victories. Third, we win when the discussion is about what we’re going to do for people. Health care, schools, jobs, infrastructure- when that’s the focus, we win. All of these candidates were talking about these things, but the national conversation of making history, and changing the country, that took over those races. We lost then.
From a personal standpoint, it was a great night. We picked up four Republican seats in the North Carolina House and Senate last night in Mecklenburg County, helping break the Republican supermajority in Raleigh. We’re down 52 votes in a fifth. Anita Earls is the newest Judge of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and she won big here. All told, Democrats won at least eight seats in the North Carolina House. We needed four House seats to give Governor Cooper his veto pen back.
How did we do so well? Schools, health care, infrastructure, jobs, health care. Nothing sexy, nothing controversial, nothing flashy. We ran on the building blocks. We won.
Up north, I was once again overseeing PA Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski’s re-election. He faced his strongest challenger to date in long time radio personality Sue Henry. He won with 57% of the vote thanks to a strong TV, mail, and digital campaign that focused on only three things- taxes, education, and health care. Message discipline was key, and it worked.
Aside from those races, some other races went well that I had more than a passing interest in. My old boss Bob Menendez won another term in New Jersey. PA Rep. Maureen Madden, who I’ve done some work for, won another term surprisingly easily. Susan Wild will be my Congresswoman now, winning the PA-7 race. Of course, Bob Casey and Tom Wolf won easily too.
There were a few disappointing results to me personally. Amy Cozze ran a great campaign to be my representative in Harrisburg, but came up short. Here in Charlotte, it looks like we are slightly behind in NC’s 9th Congressional district for Dan McCready.
I guess you have to lose sometimes.
Democrats won 23 out of 35 Senate races last night, but had a terrible night. Imagine that. There was exactly one blue state Republican up for re-election last night, and we beat him. Tough political states like Arizona and Florida are heading for re-counts. Texas was competitive. Manchin cruised in West Virginia. But it was a bad night.
Democrats will be in a more substantial hole than expected after this, and Donald Trump will get more judges, bottom line. But here’s the good news- 2020 is a good map for Democrats. The class of 2014 has to defend their seats. Democrats can absolutely win back the Senate, if Chuck Schumer can stay out of his own way and avoid a third straight poor performance.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That appears to be the biggest news of the night. Democrats have won 221 seats so far, with 19 remaining on the board. I had originally predicted they would win 30, then upped my prediction to 35. They currently have won 28.
To avoid any chaos or confusion, Democrats could use a few more seats. If they get to about 230, they can let some members who promised not to vote for Pelosi to do so. That would help everyone.
Democrats had a pretty good night at the state level, but not quite what one hoped. New Democratic Governors are coming into office in Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, New Mexico, and Nevada, netting five seats after losing Connecticut. Even so, you can’t argue with gaining seats.
More to come later.