Democrats have now flipped six red seats blue in state legislatures since the presidential election.
The chronically untold story of post-2016 electoral politics has been Democrats clobbering the GOP in state legislative special elections.
Across the country, Democrats have been steadily and methodically taking back ground since Donald Trump took office, flipping four state legislative seats blue, and winning a number of county and local positions. By contrast, Republicans have only flipped one state legislative seat this year, Louisiana’s 42nd House District, and that candidate ran unopposed.
On Tuesday night, Democrats added two more state legislative victories to their total count, both in deep red Trump territory.
The first victory of the evening came out of New Hampshire, where a special election was held for Belknap County District 9. The Republican who represented this seat, Robert Fisher, resigned in May after it was revealed he founded “Red Pill”, an online Reddit forum that advises men on how to get away with rape.
Democrat Charlie St. Clair, a Laconia resident and the executive director of the local motorcycle rally, defeated Republican Steven Whalley, 56-44, to win the seat. The district previously went for Trump, 56-39. That’s a 28-point swing. But what should have Republicans even more scared is that, as Daily Kos Elections points out, it’s the 26th time, out of 34 special elections since November, the Democrat in the race has outperformed the results of the 2016 election.
If that trend continues, Republicans who only narrowly won their seats in 2016 could be in serious trouble next year.
But the victory in New Hampshire was only the beginning. It was followed, later in the evening, by a stunning victory in Oklahoma’s 46th House District.
This district, which covers the city of Norman and went for Trump by 11 points, has been vacant since GOP Rep. Scott Martin left to lead the Norman Chamber of Commerce. Democrat Jacob Rosecrants, a local schoolteacher, defeated Republican Darin Chambers, marking the third seat in Oklahoma this year to swing from red to blue. As Daily Kos Elections noted, Trump won this district 52-41, and Mitt Romney carried it in 2012 60-40, “so this swing to the Dems is … huge.”
This year’s crop of special elections is not over. There are many still to come, including one that will decide control of the Washington state legislature.
If Democrats continue at their current pace, riding as they have on anti-Trump anger and a progressive agenda for all Americans, the nearly decade-long Republican dominance of state politics will begin to erode.