While we all figure out what exactly went down on Tuesday, here's a brief roundup of election night outcomes in DC, MD, VA and nationally..
Voters overwhelmingly approve Initiative 82. Initiative 82 passed by a substantially greater margin than Initiative 77, winning every single precinct in the District — with strongest bases of support in DC’s Wards 7 and 8. Read more in Washington Monthly or watch election night coverage from DC News Now.
In a reversal from 2018, Bowser markedly underperformed Initiative 82 east of the river, lending weight to comrade Ben D.’s post-primary analysis of politics in the District from the Summer Washington Socialist.
Other MDC DSA endorsed victories: Zachary Parker officially clinched his DC Council victory in Ward 5. Parker will join Councilmember Lewis George to be the second socialist on the DC Council, affirming a socialist bloc on the DC Council. Parker will join Ward 3’s Matt Frumin as Council's new blood. Frumin, who will be replacing longtime liberal CM Mary Cheh, will round out a strong left-progressive bench on the Council; the bloc (Lewis George, Allen, R. White, and Henderson) may be the ideologically tightest the District's seen since the Clarke years.
BUT Labor ally Elissa Silverman lost her seat to Bowser-backed Kenyan McDuffie. McDuffie, who received well over $600k in private funding (lots of which came from corporations) developed a high floor of support across all sectors in the city, running up his highest margins East of the River and in some of the wealthiest parts of west Washington. Silverman’s solid track-record on issues related to tenant protections, worker rights, and progressive city reforms failed to turn out her working-class base; or, at least, to offset the defection of voters in wealthier zip-codes to team McDuffie. (Rumors about her acrimonious personal style never helped her odds – it turned away many progressives and lay-lefties from publicly backing her campaign).
Avoid reductive takes – though McDuffie is certainly a moderate compared to Silverman, his record on criminal justice reform and policing are generally progressive; his tune was persuasive enough to encourage some progressive voters east of the river to boost his campaign. However, given the deep capital interests backing his campaign — including a right-wing Trump bundler who bragged about McDuffie’s “tough on crime” past (???) — leave the lay analyst asking: who will be left holding the bag?
The National Green Party says three Green Party members have been elected ANC commissioners, as have many local DSA members (we suspect that overlap may be perfect). Socialist commissioners have leaked that they intend to form a caucus soon. The Socialist has been assured we’ll get first wind of that.
Democrats Wes Moore (governor), departing Congressman Anthony Brown (attorney general) and Assembly member Brooke Lierman (comptroller) completed a history-making trifecta-plus of the top statewide offices (coverage from the UMCP Diamondback) with Moore’s lieutenant governor running mate, Aruna Miller, the first immigrant and woman of color to win a statewide seat as Moore is the first Black to win the governorship. Brown, too, will be the state’s first Black attorney general, and Lierman will be the first woman to win the comptroller’s seat.
The soon to be all-Democratic configuration of the state’s oddball but crucial Board of Public Works (which signs off on actual expenditures and was a playground for Larry Hogan to undo the Assembly’s work) should make a major difference, with Moore, Lierman and Treasurer Dereck Davis (Dem tho fiscally conservative former chair of the House Economic Matters Committee) in charge. And Moore’s ability to unravel Larry Hogan appointees’ grip on the state Public Service Commission – crucial to accelerating a better and more public grid, improving the multistate Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and decarbonizing Maryland – should be a high priority.
In PG County, Krystal Oriadha, Wala Blegay and Eric Olson all took 90-plus percent of the vote for Prince George’s County Council (district-based seats) and will join Ed Burroughs as the core of a new progressive bloc on the council. The roadblocks will be Mel Franklin and Calvin Hawkins, who nabbed the two at-large seats and are in the developers’ and landlords’ pockets.
In Montgomery County, Kristin Mink (an active DSA member) joins Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Laurie-Ann Sayles, and Kate Stewart as a cohort of newly-elected county council members expected to swing the balance of power toward progressives on DSA policy goals like rent stabilization and social housing. Marc Elrich won re-election to county executive after a close primary, and DSA member Sarah Brand joined a slate of reform-minded progressives on the Democratic Central Committee. Moore’s gubernatorial victory also opens up opportunities for incumbents in the statehouse like Dels. Gabriel Acevero and Vaughn Stewart to propose bolder legislation now that veto-proof majorities will not be necessary for as many bills.
In a race dominated by the Missing Middle housing debate, incumbent Democrat Matt de Ferranti — the candidate with the least clear stance on the issue — handily won the sole open seat on the Arlington County Board. From his campaign site: “I do not support eightplexes, since I believe the cost is not worth the benefit. I have concerns about sixplexes, but think that use standards might be the way forward on them.” Needless to say, this won’t solve the county’s real housing problem. His challengers in the race were Adam Theo, housing supply-sider and co-founder of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, and perennial Independent candidate Audrey Clement, who is a staunch opponent of the county’s Missing Middle development plan altogether. De Ferranti is the best of three bad outcomes, but the Missing Middle debate doesn’t end with his election. Read Alex Mell-Taylor on why all the duplexes, sixplexes or eightplexes in the world won’t make housing in Arlington County any more affordable for working people.
Control of the Senate was left in flux on election night, with state races too close to call. Democrats can hold onto their majority if Arizona holds and Nevada’s remaining votes swing left (remaining ballots favor Team Blue). Pennsylvania voters turned down Trump-backed snake-oil salesman Mehmet Oz over populist icon John Fetterman. Fetterman, who was at one point a member of the DSA, ran on a left-populist platform that promised to enshrine abortion rights, end the filibuster, raise the minimum wage and expand union density.
Regardless, Georgia will head to a run-off, providing Democrats a second try in their defense of Senator Raphael Warnock against right-wing challenger Herschel Walker. Rumor has it that every political staffer this side of the Atlantic will be dropped into Georgia later this month to truly close out this years midterm cycle — the show's not over yet.
National DSA is not providing a socialist winners list yet, but yesterday told members “Have you heard? There was a red wave last night — of socialists! DSA won big on Election Day, expanding our legislative caucuses into red and purple areas, and leading the field efforts to stop abortion bans in red states (join the “Build the Left, Fight the Right” post-election call Sunday 11/13 at 8pm ET to hear more).
LEGAL MARIJUANA: Voters in Maryland and Missouri approved constitutional amendments legalizing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, though voters in Arkansas and North Dakota rejected legalization measures. Another initiative legalizing pot appeared headed to defeat in South Dakota. (Pluribus News).
In reaction to the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade, voters in four states affirmed the right to abortion within their borders – California, Vermont, Michigan and deep-red Kentucky. Local DSA chapters played a large part in these victories; in Kentucky, members contacted every single voter with a registered mobile phone number in the state. This follows a similar pro-choice vote in Kansas earlier this year.
The Conversation reports that “Midterm voters in six states – Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont – appear to have rejected extremist secretary of state candidates who denied the validity of the 2020 presidential election. … In two other states – South Dakota and Wyoming – election deniers prevailed.”
But big picture: The great red wave never materialized. It appears the Republicans will take control of the House with a modest majority. Good luck to potential Speaker Kevin McCarthy keeping the Freedom Caucus from making his majority even more modest and essentially ungovernable. Democrats might hold onto the Senate, probably to be decided by a Georgia runoff next month. Certainly one factor in the GOP’s underwhelming performance was the public’s distaste for many Trump-loving election deniers, including gubernatorial candidates Dan Cox (MD) and Doug Mastriano (PA).