The Savage Truth: Elections Encourage Democrats
Some Georgia Democrats are licking their chops over Tuesday's election results.
They have reasons to gloat. In three Georgia contests, Democrats defeated Republicans to win two seats in the state House of Representatives and one in the Senate. Those seats have been held by Republicans.
In Athens, Democrat Deborah Gonzalez defeated Republican Houston Gaines for the House District 117 seat. The district includes parts of Clarke, Oconee, Barrow and Jackson counties. The seat came open when Republican Regina Quick resigned to accept a judgeship.
In neighboring Oconee County, Democrat Jonathan Wallace turned back three Republicans to capture the District 119 seat. The Republicans were Tom Lord and Marcus Wiedower of Watkinsville and Steve Strickland of Bishop. District 119 includes parts of Clarke and Oconee counties.
The seat came open in August when Republican Rep. Chuck Williams was chosen to head the Georgia Forestry Commission.
Meanwhile, in the metro Atlanta area, two Democrats are in a runoff for the state Senate District 6 seat, which came open in August when Hunter Hill, a Republican, resigned to enter next year's gubernatorial race.
The Democratic candidates are pediatric dentist Jaha Howard and attorney Jen Jordan. They meet in a December 5 runoff. Howard and Jordan received the most votes in the crowded eight-candidate field. Although it was a non-partisan special election, five of the hopefuls were Republicans and three were Democrats.
Senate District 6 includes parts of Cobb and Fulton counties.
Despite the gains, Republicans will keep their majorities in both chambers. When the 2018 legislative session begins in January, Republicans will have 116 seats to the Democrats 64. In the Senate, the GOP will have 37 seats to the Democrats 19.
With that happening in Georgia, Democrats knocked off their Republican opponents in two gubernatorial races. In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor's office by turning back Ed Gillespie who had been endorsed by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Some political observers viewed the Virginia race as an indicator of the 2018 mid-term elections and an early test of Trump's influence on state and local elections.
But in a tweet, Trump, who's on an Asian tour, distanced himself from the Virginia contest. "Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for," Trump said.
During the Virginia campaign, former President Barrack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden traveled with Northam.
Meanwhile in New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Gaudagno in that state's gubernatorial campaign. Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump supporter who was mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate in last year's presidential election, has served as the Garden State's chief executive for eight years.
Some Democrats believe those gains could indicate an upcoming shift in the political landscape. But it'll take a lot more that gaining two seats in the 180-member Georgia House and one seat in the 56-member Senate before Georgia changes its political colors from red to blue.
It's not here yet and it's not expected to come in 2018 when every seat in the Georgia General Assembly and all statewide offices are up for election.