Tuesday night was a massive victory for Democrats, but it is only the latest in a broad trend of state legislative seats flipping from red to blue.
On Tuesday night, Democrats turned out in droves to elect a massive new crop of diverse, progressive leaders in state and local races all over the country.
Particular attention was given to Virginia, where Democrats retained the governor’s mansion after enduring months of bitter and racially charged attacks — and picked up the largest number of legislative seats in any Virginia election since 1899, including the first trans woman to openly serve in the House of Delegates.
While the state-level victories in Virginia were massive, they were not an isolated occurrence. Ever since Trump was elected a year ago, Democrats have been slowly but relentlessly flipping red seats blue.
Even before Tuesday night, Democrats had several months of special election victories under their belts, picking up eight red seats in Florida, New Hampshire, New York, and Oklahoma — and easily retaining Democratic seats Republicans tried to flip. Out of the eight seats Democrats flipped, seven of them voted for Trump last year.
Moreover, Virginia was not the only place Democrats made legislative gains on Tuesday.
In New Jersey, Democrats increased their majority. They picked up two seats in the General Assembly, while Vin Gopal flipped Senate District 11 to become that state’s first Indian-American state senator.
In Georgia, Democrats flipped three seats in the state House of Representatives, breaking the GOP’s supermajority.
In Washington state, Manka Dhingra’s victory in Senate District 45 flipped the whole chamber from red to blue, putting the entire West Coast in Democratic control.
And for good measure, Democrats also flipped another House seat in New Hampshire.
Tuesday’s victories bring the total number of state legislative seats gained by Democrats under Trump to 32, and that number could possibly get larger pending the final calls of a few remaining districts in Virginia and New Jersey.
By contrast, Republicans have only managed to flip a single state legislative seat from blue to red since Trump’s election — a House district in Louisiana where their candidate was running unopposed.
And that is just at the state legislative level. Democrats gained mayors in several conservative towns, including a Liberian refugee in Helena, Montana. Democrats have also been flipping or gaining seats in city councils, school boards, county clerkships, and other local offices all over the country, including in deeply red parts of Illinois and Ohio.
Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, has a triumphant message for Democrats all across the country:
What we saw this Election Day was a wave of strong Democratic candidates all over the country connecting with voters about the issues they care about in their local communities. We’ll keep doing that in 2018 – working with state leaders to recruit smart, strong candidates in every district we can and the DLCC will provide the comprehensive resources they need – such as our unrivaled campaign expertise, connecting with our deep network of state leaders, access to data, strong field operations, training opportunities, paid communications, and whatever else it takes to win. We must elect more Democrats to state legislatures because we need our voices heard in the debates unfolding about the future of our country.
As we head into 2018, with progressives signing up to run for office in droves and Republicans hemorrhaging longtime lawmakers to resignations and retirements, it is clear that a Democratic wave is building — and the resistance is ready to roll.