Some of the biggest races have been called, with wins projected for Republicans Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears in the Virginia governor and lieutenant governor races. Sears will be the state’s first woman lieutenant governor. In Boston, Michelle Wu is set to make history as the first woman and first woman of color elected to be that city’s mayor. In Ohio, Shontel Brown has won the special election for a House seat.
Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, is projected to hold off Republican Jack Ciattarelli to win a second term, though the margin was smaller than many expected in the state President Joe Biden won by about 16 points last year.
The state legislature appeared on the verge of getting its first Asian American or Pacific Islander women members.
Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race for governor, becoming the first Republican to win statewide office in Virginia since 2009. He bested Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a gubernatorial race that was being closely watched as a possible preview of the 2022 midterms. McAuliffe previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018 — the state does not allow governors to serve consecutive terms — and is a former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Polling had shown a tight race in this state that President Joe Biden won by 10 points in 2020.
Youngkin, who formerly worked in private equity, tried to walk a fine line on former President Donald Trump, welcoming his backing but trying to keep some distance. The race was most recently shaped by a debate on schools and what is taught, with Youngkin arguing he was standing up for parents’ voices in education. McAuliffe worked to tie Youngkin to Trump.
Youngkin has said he’s personally against marriage equality, though he also acknowledged it’s law in Virginia.
Republicans were projected to pick up other statewide seats, with voters choosing Winsome Sears as the state’s lieutenant governor, making her the first woman to hold that post and the first woman of color to win a statewide contest. Sears, a Republican and former state legislator, beat Hala Ayala, a Democrat who serves in the state House of Delegates. The state Senate is closely divided, so the lieutenant governor’s ability to cast tiebreaking votes on key issues including abortion was part of the debate.
Going into Tuesday night, Democrats held a 55-45 advantage in the state House of Delegates. Republicans looked likely to at least tie Democrats if not take a majority of the statehouse, part of a slate of GOP wins that could shift the state’s priorities and have broad implications for women and LGBTQ+ people.
While those are the only two states holding elections, several cities are expected to see a change in leadership or a major challenge to the incumbent. Here are a few key ones to watch:
Not yet called. City Council President Felicia Moore looks to be one of two candidates in a November 30 runoff in Atlanta, where Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms decided not to run for reelection. The other candidate is yet to be determined, according to the Associated Press.
Michelle Wu is set to be the next mayor of Boston, after a concession by fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, whom she faced in a runoff. Wu had been endorsed by both the state’s senators, as well as Rep. Ayanna Pressley. Wu will be the first woman and first woman of color elected to the post; she replaces interim Mayor Kim Janey, the first woman and first woman of color to hold the post, who was appointed to it. Janey has also backed Wu. The history-making election is the result of a pipeline years in the making.
India Walton won the Democratic primary for mayor in Buffalo in June, which would normally mean she was the presumptive next mayor. But the incumbent, Byron Brown, made an effort to get back on the November ballot and, when that failed, began a write-in campaign. He declared victory Tuesday night, as the number of ballots with a write-in pick exceeded those counted for Walton, who acknowledged Wednesday that she appeared to be headed toward defeat. The race has yet to be called.
Walton is a socialist and an activist, and while some key statewide Democrats — including Buffalo native and now-Gov. Kathy Hochul — stayed out of the race, Walton won the backing of both the state’s senators. Brown, Buffalo’s first Black mayor, worked to attract Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats wary of Walton’s lack of experience and leftist ideas.
Mayor Jacob Frey is projected to have beaten back a crowded field in Minneapolis to win a second term in a race that was shaped by a conversation on policing and public safety. Minneapolisuses ranked-choice voting, in which voters can rank their top choices and then the lowest vote-getters are eliminated round by round, with their votes going to candidates still on the ballot based on voters’ choices until someone surpasses 50 percent of the vote.
According to the AP, Minneapolis voters rejected a measure that could lead to the police department’s transformation into a Department of Public Safety, a hotly debated issue in a city still grappling with the police killing of George Floyd.
Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, beat Republican Curtis Sliwa handily after emerging from a crowded June primary.
Not yet called. Housing is the biggest issue in Seattle, where current and former City Council members M. Lorena González and Bruce Harrell are facing off in the mayoral race after advancing out of a nonpartisan primary. González is running to the left in a race that has focused on housing, homelessness and policing. Washington state’s elections are held almost entirely by mail.
There are also three special congressional elections.
Ohio’s 11th Congressional District
Shontel Brown has won the special election to fill the seat that had been held by Marcia Fudge before she joined the Biden administration, according to the AP. Brown won the Democratic primary for the seat in August.
Ohio’s 15th Congressional District
Coal lobbyist and Republican Mike Carey is set to join Congress after winning the special election in this district in the Columbus suburbs that Trump won by 14 points last year. He beat state Rep. Allison Russo, who got a late endorsement from Biden.
Florida’s 20th Congressional District
Not yet called. Tuesday was primary day in this heavily Democratic district around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The general election to replace Alcee Hastings, who died in April, will be held January 11. Eleven Democrats were vying to make it through.
Are we missing any interesting races? Email [email protected] and put 2021 elections in the subject line.