Tuesday night was perhaps the first chance for Democrats to take in a long, deep breath of fresh air since Election Day 2016, as the party saw its first positive election results in more than a year. Hot on the heels of a series of disappointing losses earlier this year in competitive — but historically Republican — districts, the Democrats won big last night in places like Virginia and New Jersey. But it'd be dangerous for them to get too cozy: here's where Republicans won last night, because Democratic candidates didn't pull off a totally clean sweep.
Virginia's election results in particular are being viewed as a potential bellwether for Democrats nationwide, and it's not hard to see why. As it stands now, the party still is in contention to seize control of the state legislature, an outcome that few saw coming just days ago. But some districts, in particular the state's rural communities, did break for the GOP when voting for their representative in the House of Delegates, the state's lower legislative chamber. Republican candidates also won four House races in Northern Virginia, which is significant because that area is typically the state's Democratic stronghold.
- In the 18th House of Delegates district, incumbent Republican Michael Webert defeated Democratic challenger Tristan Shields by more than 25 points. The 18th district covers parts of Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock, and Warren counties.
- In the 28th House of Delegates district, Republican Robert Thomas defeated Democrat Joshua Cole by less than a point. The 28th district covers parts of Stafford County and parts of the city of Fredericksburg.
- In the 33rd House of Delegates district, incumbent Republican David LaRock defeated Democratic challenger Tia Wallbridge by nearly 10 points. The 33rd district covers parts of Loudon, Clark, and Frederick counties.
- In the 88th House of Delegates district, incumbent Republican Mark Cole defeated Democratic challenger Steve Aycock by roughly 15 points. The 88th district covers parts of Fauquier, Stafford, and Spotsylvania counties, as well as parts of the city of Fredericksburg.
Outside of Northern Virginia, Republicans fared much better, although not well enough to blunt the momentum of Democrats' big night (some races were still undecided on Wednesday afternoon). Regardless, these typically rural and historically red districts are where vigilance on the part of progressives is important.
- Terry Kilgore defeated Alicia Kallen in the 1st district.
- Will Morefield defeated Bill Bunch in the 3rd district.
- Todd Pillion and Israel O'Quinn of the 4th and 5th districts ran unopposed.
- Jeffrey Campbell defeated Kenneth Browning in the 6th district.
- Nick Rush defeated Flourette Ketner in the 7th district.
- Gregord Habeeb defeated Steve McBride in the 8th district.
- Charles Poindexter defeated Stephanie Cook in the 9th district.
- Danny Marshall, Todd Gilbert, and Les Adams of the 14th, 15th, and 16th districts ran unopposed.
- Christopher Head defeated Djuna Osborne in the 17th district.
- Terry Austin of the 19th district ran unopposed.
- Richard Bell defeated Michele Edwards in the 20th district.
- Kathy Byron of the 22nd dstrict ran unopposed.
- Scott Garrett defeated Natalie Short in the 23rd district.
- Ben Cline defeated John Winfrey in the 24th district.
- Steven Landes defeated Angela Lynn in the 25th district.
- Tony Wilt defeated Brent Finnegan in the 26th district.
- Christopher Collins defeated Casey Turben in the 29th district.
- Nick Freitah defeated Ben Hixon in the 30th district.
- Robert Orrock defeated Al Durante in the 54th district.
- Buddy Fowler defeated Morgan Goodman in the 55th district.
- John McGuire defeated Melissa Dart in the 56th district.
- Robert Bell defeated Kellen Squire in the 58th district.
- Matthew Fariss defeated Tracy Carver in the 59th district.
- James Edmunds defeated Jamaal Johnston in the 60th district.
- Thomas Wright of the 61st district ran unopposed.
- Riley Ingram defeated Sheila Bynum-Coleman in the 62nd district.
- Emily Brewer defeated Rebecca Colaw in the 64th district.
- Lee Ware defeated Francis Stevens in the 65th district.
- Kirkland Cox defeated Katie Sponster in the 66th district.
- Chris Jones of the 76th district ran unopposed.
- James Leftwich of the 78th district ran unopposed.
- Barry Knight defeated Kimberly Tucker in the 81st district.
- Jason Miyares defeated Leigh Anne Bowling in the 82nd district.
- Chris Stolle defeated David Rose-Carmack in the 83rd district.
- Glenn Davis defeated Veronica Coleman in the 84th district.
- Gordon Helsel defeated Michael Wade in the 91st district.
- Brenda Pogge defeated Kelly DeLucia in the 96th district.
- Christopher Peace defeated Cori Johnson in the 97th district.
- Keith Hodges defeated Sheila Crowley in the 98th district.
- Margaret Ransone defeated Francis Edwards in the 99th district.
- Robert Bioxom defeated Willie Randall in the 100th district.
Republicans also held on to a congressional seat in Utah, as former Provo mayor John Curtis (pictured above) defeated his Democratic challenger, Kathie Allen, by roughly 30 points. Curtis will take over the 3rd Congressional District seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz, who announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year. A deeply conservative district, Utah's 3rd has not elected a Democratic representative since Bill Orton won a third term in 1994.
So while Democrats outperformed expectations on Tuesday, there are places where the GOP held on to districts that may have been too historically conservative to flip, even in the current political climate. For example, the only close race in Northern Virginia where the Republican triumphed was the 28th district, where Robert Thomas pulled off a squeaker of a win. The other Republicans who won in Northern Virginia beat their opponents by roughly 10 points or more.
Democrats couldn't have dreamed up a more optimistic scenario for Tuesday night: they won governorships in Virginia and New Jersey; Virginia elected its first-ever openly transgender lawmaker; a leftist candidate backed by the Democratic Socialists of America knocked off the House's GOP majority whip; and in Philadelphia, a Black Lives Matter-backed civil rights attorney and judicial system reformist won the city's district attorney race.
In simple terms, there was something for everyone on the Democratic left in Tuesday's election results. But as the Republican wins listed above show, it was not in the strictest sense a "clean sweep," so Dems have more work to do going forward.