Daily Brew: Where things stand from Tuesday’s elections

Welcome to today’s Brew. It’s the day after Election Day 2021, and we have definitive results for quite a few of the key races. Here’s a rundown of where things stand as of 6 a.m. ET. For the latest news and information about yesterday’s contests, visit our election results article.

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Noteworthy congressional and state-level results
  2. Outcomes of battleground local elections
  3. Notable ballot measure results
  4. The approval of Colorado’s new congressional map

Noteworthy congressional and state-level results

Virginia gubernatorial election

Glenn Youngkin (R) defeated Terry McAuliffe (D) to win Virginia’s open-seat governor’s race. Incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) could not seek re-election since the state’s governor cannot serve consecutive terms. Democrats had won four of the five most recent gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. President Joe Biden (D) won the state in the 2020 presidential election, receiving 54% of the vote to Donald Trump’s (R) 44%.

Youngkin’s win breaks a Democratic trifecta in the state established in 2019 when Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate. This is the fourth change in the state’s trifecta status since 2010. Along with Colorado and New Hampshire, Virginia has the most changes in trifecta status during this period. 

After the 2021 elections, there will be at least 37 state government trifectas—23 Republican and 13 Democratic. The other 13 states will have divided government, meaning neither party has a trifecta. The trifecta status of New Jersey is undecided pending the outcome of the gubernatorial election.

Since 2010, 23 gubernatorial races have switched party control favoring Republicans and 18 switched party control favoring Democrats. In 2014, Alaska elected Bill Walker (I) as governor, succeeding Sean Parnell (R). More than half of these flips took place in 2010 and 2018. In 2010, control of 16 governorships changed, with Republicans picking up 11 offices and Democrats five. In 2018, Democrats gained control of seven offices and Republicans gained one. 

Other years with multiple flips included 2014, when Republicans gained four governorships and Democrats gained one, and 2016, when Republicans gained three governorships and Democrats gained one.

In 2015, Republicans and Democrats both gained one governorship. Republicans gained one governorship in 2012, 2020, and 2021, while Democrats gained one in 2013, 2017, and 2019.

Virginia House of Delegates update

As of 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time on November 3, The New York Times had called 45 districts for Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates elections and 45 for Republicans, with 10 seats remaining too close to call. Two incumbents—Chris Hurst (D) and Roz Tyler (D)—were defeated. All 100 seats were up for election. Because Glenn Youngkin (R) won the gubernatorial election and the state Senate—which currently has a Democratic majority— was not up for election, Virginia will have divided government regardless of which party wins control of the House. Democrats won control of the House in 2019, ending a 20-year Republican majority. 

Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election

Winsome Sears (R) defeated Hala Ayala (D) to win Virginia’s lieutenant gubernatorial election. With 95% of precincts reporting, Sears received 50.9% of the vote and Ayala received 49.1%. The incumbent lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax (D), ran for governor and lost in the Democratic primary. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and is first in the line of succession to the governor. Of the four lieutenant governors elected since 2002, two—Tim Kaine (D) and Ralph Northam (D)—became governor. 

New Jersey gubernatorial election

Gov. Phil Murphy (D), former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R), and three other candidates ran in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. This race remains too close to call. As of 5:00 a.m., with 88% of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli led Murphy, 49.65 percent to 49.60 percent. Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held the governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held the governorship for 14 years. The last Democratic governor to win re-election was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two sitting Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.

Democratic primary in Florida’s 20th Congressional District special election

The outcome of the Democratic primary in Florida’s 20th Congressional District remains too close to call. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick led Dale Holness by 31 votes out of over 47,800 ballots cast. Politico reported that the race would go to a recount based on results available at the time. Florida law requires a machine recount if the initial election night result is within 0.5 percentage points. The special election in the district in January 2022 will fill the vacancy left after Alcee Hastings (D) died in April. Hastings had been in office since 1993 and won re-election in 2020 with 79% of the vote.

Republicans hold Pennsylvania Supreme Court seat

Kevin Brobson (R) defeated Maria McLaughlin (D) to win election to an open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, succeeding retiring Justice Thomas Saylor (R). With Brobson’s win, the partisan balance of the court will remain a 5-2 Democratic majority.

Special election in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District

Shontel Brown (D) defeated Laverne Gore (R) to win the special election in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Brown received 79% of the vote. The special election was called after former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D) was confirmed in March as secretary of housing and urban development in the Biden administration.

Special election in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

Mike Carey (R) defeated Allison Russo (D) to win the special election in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. Carey received 58% of the vote. The election was called after Steve Stivers (R) resigned in May to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Outcomes of battleground local elections 

Seventeen of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population held general elections for mayor. Heading into election day, 63 top-100 mayors were affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 were affiliated with the Republican Party, four were independents, six identified as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor had not responded to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.

Boston, Massachusetts

Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the nonpartisan mayoral election in Boston. Both candidates were at-large city councilors, and both received endorsements from Democratic officials and groups that tend to back Democrats. Media outlets described Wu as the more progressive candidate and Essaibi George as the more moderate one. A Republican hasn’t held the mayor’s office in Boston since 1930. Wu completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey—click here to read her responses.

Buffalo, New York

The mayoral election in Buffalo, New York, remains uncalled. With all precincts reporting, 59% of votes were cast for write-in candidates. Democratic nominee India Walton received 41% of the vote. Walton defeated incumbent Byron Brown (D) in the city’s June 22 Democratic primary, 50.5% to 46.0%, but Brown ran in the general election as a write-in candidate. WIVB in Buffalo reported that the Board of Elections will begin examining write-in votes on Nov. 17 and has until Nov. 27 to certify the election results. 

Cincinnati, Ohio

In the general election for mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval defeated councilman and former mayor David Mann, 66% to 34%. The two advanced from a six-person primary in May in which Pureval received 39.1% and Mann received 29.1%. Although Cincinnati mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, both Mann and Pureval are Democrats. Mayor John Cranley (D) could not file for re-election in 2021 due to term limits.

Cleveland, Ohio

Justin Bibb defeated Kevin Kelley 63% to 37% in the general election for mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the second-youngest mayor in the city’s history. While the race was officially nonpartisan, Bibb and Kelley were both Democrats. This was the first mayoral election without an incumbent on the ballot in Cleveland since 2001. Incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson (D), who was first elected in 2005 and was the longest-serving mayor in Cleveland’s history, did not seek re-election. 

Miami, Florida

Mayor Francis Suarez (R) won re-election in Miami, Florida. Two of five seats on the city commission were also up for election. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, Suarez is affiliated with the Republican Party. District 3 Commissioner Joe Carollo won re-election, and Christine King defeated District 5 Commissioner Jeffrey Watson, who was appointed in November 2020.

New York City

Eric Adams (D) was elected mayor of New York City. Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) did not run for re-election due to term limits. In June, the city’s party primary elections used ranked-choice voting (RCV) in a mayor’s race for the first time in city history.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle held elections for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and city attorney. King County Elections released preliminary results and will continue counting ballots until results are certified on Nov. 23. Ballots must have been postmarked by Nov. 2 to be counted. 

St. Petersburg, Florida

Ken Welch defeated Robert Blackmon to win the general election for mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, Welch is a registered Democrat. This was the first open race for mayor of St. Petersburg since 2009. 

School boards

Ballotpedia covered elections for 202 school board seats in 60 school districts. We also tracked 88 school districts that held elections on Nov. 2 where we found race in education, responses to the coronavirus pandemic, or sex and gender in schools have come up as campaign issues. Click here for the list of elections.

Notable ballot measure results

Twenty-four statewide ballot measures in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington were certified for the Nov. 2 ballot.

Maine Electric Transmission Line Restrictions and Legislative Approval Initiative

Maine voters approved Question 1—the Maine Electric Transmission Line Restrictions and Legislative Approval Initiative—59% to 41%. Question 1 was a citizen-initiated measure designed to stop a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. According to campaign finance reports covering through Oct. 19, Question 1 had seen $94.0 million raised between supporters and opponents. Question 1 could see the highest cost-per-vote ratio for a ballot measure ever recorded by Ballotpedia. 

Texas constitutional amendments

Texas voters approved all eight constitutional amendments that appeared on the ballot, including Proposition 3, a constitutional amendment that prohibits the state or any political subdivision from limiting religious services or organizations, and Proposition 6, that would allow residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or state-supported living centers to designate an essential caregiver who may not be prohibited from visiting the resident. 

Police-related measures

  • Voters in Minneapolis rejected Question 2—a citizen-initiated charter amendment—that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. The measure would also have removed language from the city’s charter specifying minimum police funding requirements and mayoral control of the department. With 100% of precincts reporting, “no” votes were leading, 56% to 44%. Two of four notable candidates for mayor of Minneapolis, including incumbent Jacob Frey (D), opposed the measure. 
  • Cleveland voters approved Issue 24—a citizen-initiated charter amendment—which makes changes related to police oversight, discipline, and policies. The initiative creates the Community Police Commission to oversee police conduct investigations. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 59% in favor to 41% opposed.
  • Voters in Austin, Texas, defeated Proposition A by a margin of 68% to 32% according to unofficial election results based on 100% of precincts reporting. Proposition A—a citizen-initiated ballot initiative—designed to establish a minimum police staffing level of two officers per 1,000 residents and enact other training changes. 

Colorado’s Supreme Court approves new congressional map

The state of Colorado has a new congressional map. On November 1st, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously approved the congressional redistricting plan that the state’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission approved on Sept. 28. The map will take effect for Colorado’s 2022 congressional elections.

Eleven of the twelve commissioners approved the Congressional plan. Four unaffiliated members, four Republican members, and three of the four Democratic members voted in favor. The maps required approval from at least eight members, including two unaffiliated members. 

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