Election 2017 is now in the past, and looking ahead at the 2018 Congressional Midterm elections, Republicans are cautiously watching their backs as the shadow of Donald Trump consumes more and more of the Republican Party. Though the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the Presidency, the party of Lincoln lost momentum in many elections that took place on November 7, from the governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, to many mayoral races and state legislative seats ranging from Washington State to Virginia.
The most anticipated election was the Virginia’s governor’s race which gained national political attention after the President tweeted his support for Ed Gillespie (R). Gillespie’s opponent, Ralph Northam (D), received endorsements from many notable Democratic leaders such as Joe Biden. Propelled by the liberal voters and Virginians wanting to send a message to President Trump, Northam won the race by 8.9%, about 232,000 votes. Democrats in Virginia also flipped close to seventeen seats in the state’s legislature, dangerously on edge to gaining the majority in time for redistricting the state. Top GOP leaders cited concerns for the takeover of the state, telling reporters from CNN “it’s over” even before the governor’s race was called.
The Old Dominion State also surprised some people by advancing their LGBTQ+ presence in the state house. Voters in Virginia’s 13th district elected one of the nation’s first openly transgender elected official, Danica Roem (D). Roem defeated incumbent Robert G. Marshall, self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” of Virginia, and man who introduced the “bathroom bills” to the state legislature earlier this year. Another upset victory came from Virginia’s 12th district where newbie politician Chris Hurst won with 54.3% of the vote, over 2,000 more votes than his opponent Joseph Yost (R). One of Hurst’s championing issues was gun control after his girlfriend, Alison Parker, was fatally shot on live television during a news broadcast.
Though they picked up numerous other state legislature seats and mayoral races throughout the country, Republicans are increasingly becoming stuck between a rock and a hard place. Balancing Trump’s ideals and base of supporters with moderate GOP-ers with a hesitance towards the President may prove difficult for the Republican leadership in the coming months leading up to the hotly anticipated 2018 Congressional midterm elections.