Kentucky, a state that went 30 points over Clinton for Trump, elects Democrat Andy Beshear as governor, and Virginia flips both state houses to the Democrats.
Democrats’ claim of victory Tuesday in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, as well as the Democratic takeover of the Virginia state legislature, left Republicans stumbling and increasingly uncertain about their own political fates next year tied to an embattled and unpopular president.
Many allies of President Trump rushed to explain away the poor performance of incumbent Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) as an anomaly, while other GOP veterans expressed alarm about the party’s failure in a state where Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016 — and where he just campaigned this week.
Although Bevin was controversial and widely disliked, he was also a devotee of the president, embracing Trump’s agenda and his anti-establishment persona. And in the contest’s final days, Bevin sought to cast his candidacy as a bulwark against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of Trump.
And of course Trump made it all about him. At a rally in Fayette County, which Beshear won by 2 to 1, he screamed, “You’re sending that big message to the rest of the country, it’s so important… Because if you lose it sends a really bad message. And they will build it up. You can’t let that happen to me.” (Last night, among the rubble, Don Jr told Laura Ingraham that the election had nothing to do with Trump.)
Loser Bevin has yet to concede, claiming there were “irregularities.” But according to Kentucky law, there are no automatic recounts; the loser has to petition a court, and the court has to grant it.
It’s going to be fun to watch Trump explain this one — as one commenter said, the result won’t be official until Trump tweets something bad about Bevin — and Mitch McConnell, who faces reelection in 2020, has got to be wondering if his carapace will protect him; he’s way behind in polls as of now.
In Virginia, both houses of the state legislature flipped from GOP to Democrat:
Several results were still close after polls closed on the most expensive and most watched Virginia legislative races in years, but Democrats flipped at least two seats in the state Senate and at least five in the House of Delegates to take majorities in both.
And to put a cherry on top:
A legion of reasons propel political neophytes to run for office, but none may be as unusual as what inspired Juli Briskman, the cyclist who gave President Trump the finger two years ago and found herself without a job and at the center of a national uproar.
On Tuesday, Briskman got a new job, winning a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors — ousting a Republican in the process.
“It’s feeling fantastic, it’s feeling surreal,” Briskman, 52, a Democrat, said by telephone as she celebrated her victory. “The last two years have been quite a ride. Now we’re helping to flip Loudoun blue.”
In 2017, Briskman was engaged in a different form of flipping, this one involving her middle finger, which she raised as she rode a bicycle alongside the presidential motorcade as Trump departed his golf club in Sterling.
In Mississippi, Democrat Jim Hood lost his race for governor, but it was comparatively close, and after all, it’s Mississippi.
All in all, it was a great night and hopefully, a harbinger of things to come.