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Wed Nov 6, 2019, 09:37 PM

Do the 2019 Election Results Tell Us Anything About 2020?

WASHINGTON — Democrats cleaned house in Virginia, grabbing full control of the state government for the first time in decades. In Kentucky, an unpopular, Trump-endorsed Republican governor appears to have lost by the thinnest of margins. But Kentucky Republicans won every other statewide race, and an establishment Republican cruised past a moderate Democrat in the Mississippi governor’s race.

Was Election Night 2019 a rebuke of President Trump after his failed intervention on behalf of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin? Was it fresh evidence — looking at the Virginia and Kentucky results — that the Democratic path to victory in 2020 runs through the suburbs? Can we tell anything from what happened last night?

Let’s start with Virginia.

Democrats opened the year reeling from scandal. An old yearbook photo resurfaced apparently showing Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in blackface, followed by sexual assault allegations made against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and an admission by Attorney General Mark Herring that he, too, had once worn blackface. It helped of course that none of those three men were on the ballot Tuesday. But several bigger developments played into Democrats’ hands. A court threw out Virginia’s badly gerrymandered map for state legislative races; the new, fairer map meant more competitive races across the state. When Republicans refused to allow a debate on gun-safety legislation after the Virginia Beach mass shooting on May 31st, Democrats as well as outside groups including Everytown for Gun Safety saw an opportunity to use gun control — and the GOP’s deference to the NRA — as a winning issue. “What happened in Virginia Beach — and what didn’t happen afterward — set the stage for this election,” Everytown President John Feinblatt said on Wednesday. Feinblatt said Everytown invested $2.5 million in flipping legislative seats in Virginia this year and saw Tuesday’s sweeping victories as “a curtain-raiser for 2020.”


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