Special elections in 2019 have given few signs for 2020. Republicans flipped Democratic seats early in the year. Democratic victories and losses were trailing results in previous statewide and national elections. Not by much. The mixed results continued through June. Then the Democrats showed up. Flipped a Republican seat in Pennsylvania. Losing races respectably for state legislative seats where there had been no Democratic opposition for years. A Progressive Mayor (running as an Independent) was reelected as he defeated a Republican in San Antonio.
Two primaries were clues to something. The race for DA of the Borough of Queens in New York City. The Borough president against an upstart, endorsed by the local member of the Squad – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The result: a virtual tie. the borough The result: Melinda Katz, the Borough President won by 60 votes. The more moderate candidate won, but this was no victory for Democratic moderates.
On July 9, for the special election in NC 03, Greg Murphy defeated Joan Perry 60-40. Two doctors for a Republican leaning seat. A urologist v a pediatrician. A man v. a woman. The Pediatrician argued women can be conservatives, too. She did not convince the Republican primary electorate. She lost 60-40. Twenty points. Not 20 votes. Not a victory for Republican moderates.
Mississippi had a primary for Governor. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves led in the primary with 49 points, won the run off with 54 points. He made an enemy of the former Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller, Jr., calling him a liberal for wanting to expand Medicaid, among other things. Waller refused to endorse. Is it possible that Attorney General Jim Hood could win the popular vote. Winning in a majority of voting districts, on the other hand could occur only with either divine or judicial intervention. The very possibility of a Hood win is not a victory for Republican moderates.
As for actual contests between Republicans and Democrats, in PA HD 85’s special election, Jennifer Rager-Kay lost by almost a 2-1 margin, doing better than she did in 2018 and better than either Hillary or Obama did. Similarly, in SC HD 19, Carrie Counton lost 3-2, doing better than either Hillary or Obama, but doing the same as she did in 2018. In an all party primary for a special election in CA AD 01, the Democratic candidate led all candidates with 39%. She was the only Democrat in the race, though and is unlikely to win the runoff unless voters don’t want to elect an assembly member who is married to their State Senator.
In other kinds of races, Regina Romero is likely to be another of the country’s female Democratic mayors. She won the Democratic primary and will face a weak independent in the general election. Judge Steven Reed led the all party primary for mayor of Montgomery, Alabama. He is now the favorite against the owner of television stations to be the first African American mayor of Montgomery.
Daily Kos reports that to date, this year, Democrats are outperforming Hillary Clinton’s margins by 5.5 points and Obama’s margins by about 1 point. The Republican failure to nominate moderates is not helping their cause.