Republicans not only lost gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey Tuesday, but state legislature seats and elections in bellwether locales.
Democrats have leaped on these results to point to trouble for the GOP in 2018.
“The results last night smell exactly the same way,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said comparing Tuesday’s results to the off-year election in 2005 before the Democrats took back Congress in 2006. “Our Republican friends better look out.”
“We’ll get a lot of candidates who are going to want to run, and I think for donors who have been on the sidelines, dispirited for the last year, I’m telling you people are jazzed up,” Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told The New York Times.
Some Republicans and Trump, however, brushed off these defeats.
“Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” Trump tweeted about the defeated Virginia Republican. Longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone told The Daily Caller that Virginia was a “stunning rebuke…of the Bush pukes!” Gillespie was a former Washington lobbyist and adviser to President George W. Bush.
“The voters specifically repudiated George W saying, in essence, you are the worst president in US history,” Stone added.
And Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted: “Two blue states stayed blue, that doesn’t change the support we’ve seen nationwide for [President Trump]. Our unprecedented fundraising and permanent groundgame have us ready for 2018.”
But the Democratic wins Tuesday point to a suburban backlash against President Trump.
“Democrats took council seats in vote-rich Delaware County, in the Philadelphia suburbs, a perennial battleground for control of the House,” the Times noted, adding that Democrats also grabbed a “State Senate seat in Buckhead, Atlanta’s toniest enclave.”
“I don’t think the Republican Party has a future in any state like Washington or Virginia, or Oregon or California, or many other places, where the majority of the voters are from urban or suburban areas,” Chris Vance, the former chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, told the Times.
However, one thing going for Republicans in 2018 is that eight Democrat senators in states Trump won will be up for re-election. These elections will be in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The Republicans hold a two-seat majority in the Senate, and seats Democrats are looking to target are Jeff Flake’s in Arizona and Dean Heller’s in Nevada.