Highly Anticipated Races and Yield Disappointing Outcomes

Democrats around the country forecasted a “Blue Wave,” which would usher new faces into national politics  – Muslim candidates, women, African American and gays.  As election results trickled in Tuesday evening, it was evident that the polls and pundits were only partly right. While Democrats won the U.S. House of Representatives back from Republican control, the GOP picked up U.S. Senate seats and won key gubernatorial races.

One of the most highly watched races was the 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign, which featured Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, the Trump supported candidate in the race and Tallahassee Mayor Democrat Andrew Gillum.  In what became a racially charged election, both men attacked each other’s public record and ethics.

While Democrats felt a Gillum win would be a referendum against Donald Trump, the votes didn’t support that theory.  DeSantis won the election with 49.9% to 48.9% margin, which is one of the closest races in Florida’s history.

As the hour grew late and the votes slowly came in, it became apparent that Gillum didn’t have the support needed to win.  The Tallahassee Mayor proudly conceded the race and wished DeSantis the best in his endeavors as Governor of the State of Florida.

Other elections that many African Americans were watching around the country included the Georgia governor’s race where a Black female State Rep had an opportunity to make history. Stacey Abrams, won the Democratic primary and faced Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in  the general election.  Abrams had a ton of star power supporting her as Oprah Winfrey even campaigned for her in Georgia.  Unfortunately, she lost her race to Kemp 51% to 48.1% – another close race for a Black candidate trying to rewrite history in the South.

The tough night for Black candidates for governor continued in Maryland when former NAACP head, Ben Jealous lost his election.  Jealous, who won the Democratic primary faced Republican Larry Hogan in Tuesday night’s general election.  Hogan won 57% to 43%.

In another close election, Democratic candidate Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, lost a to Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race roughly 52% to 48%.

While it was a tough night for many African American candidates, Democrats did recapture the House from Republicans and several new minority faces won highly competitive races.  The question now is – how will the 2018 midterm elections affect the 2020 cycle?

All is not lost however, while the Senate will remain under Republican control, the House will be Democratic.

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