Anti-Trump Effect in Full Swing as Dems Sweep Statehouse Specials

In case you haven’t heard the big news, Democrats in New York and New Hampshire celebrated big victories this week as Democratic women flipped two legislative districts from red to blue. While Democrats have enjoyed electoral overperformance and multiple special election wins since Trump’s inauguration, Tuesday’s special elections mark the first (of many) districts to “go blue” in the Trump era.

In New Hampshire, Representative-elect Edie DesMarais, a retired special education instructor, became the first Democrat in 2017 to flip a seat from red to blue. Not only did Edie bring home a win in a district carried by Trump in 2016 and Romney in 2012, she outperformed Hillary Clinton’s November numbers in the Carroll 6 District by almost 8 points. “DLCC was instrumental in ensuring the New Hampshire House Democrats had everything we needed to compete in this Republican district,” said New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff.

Later that night in New York, Senator-elect Brain Benjamin won the special election in Senate District 30 with over 90 percent of the vote, ensuring a Democratic majority in the 63-seat chamber. In Assembly District 9, high school teacher and Assemblywoman-elect Christine Pellegrino wrestled the district from GOP control while securing almost 58 percent of the vote. Christine overcame a 13-point Republican registration advantage in a district Trump carried by 22 points in 2016 and Romney carried by 12 points in 2012 to defeat her Republican opponent 58–42. Christine, who is the first Democrat to hold AD-09 in recent memory, called her win “a thunderbolt of resistance.” Her victory adds to Democrats’ sizable majority in the chamber.

As women step forward to run for office in record numbers and Democrats continue to overperform in once reliably-Republican legislative districts, Edie and Christine’s wins are only a peek at what’s to come in 2017 and 2018 elections. “These women are part of genuine upswell of women who have decided to run for office this year,” said DLCC’s Carolyn Fiddler. “These activist women candidates have really stepped forward. And they’re winning too.” Later this cycle, all eyes will be on Virginia, where the “Trump Effect” has inspired a record number of women to run for office.

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