Republicans in Virginia expected state and local elections this November to emerge as a bellwether state to showcase the appeal of Donald Trump and his bombastic style.E
Exactly the opposite delivered a ominous message to the party of the elephant. Democrats retained control of the governor, lt. governor and attorney general seats and sent several GOP state delegates packing, not only in Northern Virginia and Tidewater but also in Southwestern Virginia, where newscaster turned politician Chris Hurst upset Republican Joe Yost, who turned to Trump-style campaign tactics that blew up in his face.
Even in a Republican stronghold like Floyd County, anti-incumbent anger in the Courthouse District brought defeat to Board of Supervisors Chairman Casey Clinger and independent Jerry Boothe returns to the county’s primary governmental body that now has two independents on what once was an all-Republican group.
In neighboring Franklin County, jeweler Mike Carter campaigned against 20-year-supervisor Charles Wagner, vice-chairman of the board, in the Rocky Mount district and said the board needed a change. Voters agreed.
In the Virginia House of Delegates, Democrats unseated at least 11 Republican incumbents, flipped three open seats previously held by the GOP and — at last count — threatened to take control of the House, depending on the outcome of four other close races.
In Prince William County, Danica A.Roem beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall to become the first openly transgender person to win elective office in Virginia and joined another woman who bested a GOP right-winger in the county.
Statewide, eight of the 11 Democrats who beat Republican incumbents are women.
“This is a tidal wave,” concludes political analyst David Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
In Floyd County, the Courthouse District is showing increased independent turns at the ballot box. The district overcame strong opposition against a “liquor by the drink’ referendum previously and repeatedly voted Boothe as the district’s representative when he served on the board as a Democrat.
Blacksburg voted in its first female mayor.
Statewide, Virginia continues to become more and more Democratic and Republicans are rethinking whether or not to use endorsements by Trump as a campaign tactic.
“This is just an old-fashioned thumping,” said former Republican Congressman Tom Davis.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who is not a fan of Trump, said the results in Virginia show that the electorate is not buying the agenda of the current GOP president.
“Burn Donald Trump to the ground if you ever want to win another vote from a woman, a black person or a Latino,” Wilson tells the Washington Post. “Look at the exits and the composition of the electorate. We’re getting slaughtered with women. We’re getting slaughtered with minorities.”