• Jonathan Dusza

Beyond the Dome: Local election recap

All across the country this past Tuesday were local elections, more than a few of which were watched with great interest nationally.

Perhaps at the forefront of those races was the race for the governor’s mansion in Virginia. Since the 1970s, every winner of the gubernatorial election has been of the opposite party of the president in office, with the exception of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who won the governor job during President Obama’s second term. Former Governor McAuliffe tried to recapture that trend-breaking accomplishment in this 2021 election cycle in a bid to beat Republican Glenn Younkin. Democrats went into the race with some optimism after doing generally well electorally in Virginia over the past decade. That optimism proved false as Glenn Younkin won by just 1.5% percent. Younkin ran an effective campaign; already, speculation has begun over a possible run for the presidency from his side in the coming years. The race has sparked some soul-searching within both parties, with Democrats looking at indicatively bleak prospects for the 2022 midterms and Republicans looking at how Younkin was able to win a normally unlikely win with former President Trump mostly on the sidelines.

Further north, another governor race of national attention was the one in New Jersey between incumbent Democrat Governor Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. While Democrat Joe Biden won New Jersey in 2020, a Democratic governor has not won consecutive terms in the state since 1977. Governor Murphy managed to break that trend, beating Ciattarelli by almost 2%. Still, compared to the 16-point win from President Biden just last year, this result, despite its streak-breaking nature, may cause Democrats some level of concern.

Meanwhile, here in Buffalo, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown won handily over challenger and Democratic nominee India Walton. Late endorsements from key figures of the Democratic Party’s establishment proved to be not enough, as Brown won after an unconventional but very successful write-in campaign. In Boston, Michelle Wu won her mayoral campaign, becoming the first woman and first person of color to become mayor of Boston.

Additionally, in New Jersey, Republican Edward Durr — a truck driver — defeated the longtime New Jersey State Senate president, Democrat Steve Sweeney. He did this while spending only $153, with over half of it being spent on Dunkin’ Donuts. It was generally agreed upon to be a rough night for Democrats and their prospects for the 2022 midterms.


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