Under the Radar, Democrats Are Racking Up Electoral Victories in State Legislatures

News & Politics

Turns out Donald Trump was right about one thing during his campaign — “We’re going to win so much.


...except he probably didn’t mean Democrats winning and overperforming in a ton of special elections since his election.

Tuesday night Democrats flipped two historically Republican legislative districts in OklahomaHouse District 75 and Senate District 44. Both seats had been in GOP hands since before they were both redrawn in the last round of redistricting in a state that Trump won last fall with 65 percent of the vote

Last November, Democrat Karen Gaddis pulled just 40 percent of the vote in House District 75, while Clinton won just 36 percent.

Tuesday, Gaddis won with 52 percent

In the last election in Senate District 44 (2014), the Democrat earned just 42 percent of the vote, and Clinton won just 37 percent here in 2016.

Tuesday, Democrat Michael Brooks-Jiminez won with almost 55 percent

The massive swings towards Democrats in these districts track with the double-digit growth in Democratic performance in the majority of special elections at both the congressional and state legislative level since Trump’s election last November. The greatest of these swings—48 percent!—was also in Oklahoma in May.

Tuesday’s Democratic pickups are the third and fourth of the cycle, respectively. Democrats flipped a state House seat in New Hampshire and a state Assembly seat in New York in May. In both elections, the Democrat not only won, but also overperformed Clinton’s numbers last fall by 11 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Additionally, Democrats have held key seats in the IowaVirginia, Connecticut, Delaware, and South Carolina legislatures and have over-performed in 19 out of the 26 two-party legislative and congressional special elections held since Trump’s election in November.

So not only are Democrats winning by flipping seats from GOP to Democratic hands, but even when Republicans manage to hold on to seats in these special elections, they’re scrambling to cling to historically red seats and eking out tiny wins in previously uncompetitive districts.

Republicans can’t afford “wins” like these if they hope to hold on to state House seats in Virginia this fall and their U.S. House majority in 2018.

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