To: Interested Parties
From: Cheri Bustos, DCCC Chairwoman
Lucinda Guinn, DCCC Executive Director
Date: Thursday, November 7, 2019
Subject: Democratic Gains Frame Environment for Republicans
On Tuesday, Democrats flipped both of Virginia’s Legislative bodies, won the Governor’s Mansion in Kentucky, and flipped important local offices in key suburban communities across the country.
The signal these victories send cannot be ignored, and Democrats’ strong showing in suburban areas and increased turnout across the board on Tuesday demonstrates that the political environment and high voter enthusiasm that propelled Democrats to massive gains in 2018 continues to grow as we move towards the 2020 election.
Tuesday’s results were decisive, and the gap between Democrats’ persuasion focused message and Republicans’ nationally focused turnout strategy was stark.
Governor-elect Beshear and Democrats across the country ran with a laser focus on bringing down the cost of health care, expanding access and ensuring people living with pre-existing conditions would still be able to afford their health insurance coverage. In sharp contrast, Republicans attempted to nationalize their races and drive turnout within their own base by framing the elections as a referendum on Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Early analysis suggests that Bevin’s heavy focus on impeachment not only failed to drive Republican turnout, but that the President’s presence in key races only served to deepen the “revenge of the suburbs.”
As the New York Times noted:
“Mr. Beshear’s performance demonstrated that Mr. Trump’s popularity alone is insufficient for most Republicans, even in one of the most conservative regions in the country.”
This spells trouble for Republicans in Congress relying on their allegiance to the President to disguise their unpopular records. All vulnerable Republicans should be highly concerned, but especially those in suburban regions overlapping with Tuesday’s elections, like Representatives Andy Barr and Brian Fitzpatrick. And the election results do not bode well for the Republican operatives in Washington scrambling to prop up their handpicked candidate in the open IN-05 seat, or to run in the recently won Democratic Congressional seats in Virginia.
Here are quick takeaways on what Tuesday means for House races:
Pennsylvania’s 1st District
- Bucks County is fully contained in PA-01 and comprises 89.3% of PA-01.
- Democrats won several elections in Bucks County, taking control of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners for the first time in 30 years, and taking control of all but one county row offices.
- Indicative of the continued swing across Philadelphia’s suburbs, even outside PA-01, Democrats won control of the Delaware County City Council for the first time since the Civil War, and took total control of the Chester County Commission, winning every seat.
- REMINDER: PA-01 is one of only three remaining “Clinton Districts” in the House battlefield held by Republicans.
The Intelligencer: “Completing the blue wave that began in 2017, Democrats will take over control of Bucks County government for the first time in more than 30 years.”
Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District
- Governor-elect Beshear carried KY-06: 55.9% to 42.2%
- That 2019 margin in KY-06 marks a 7.9-point improvement over the 2018 Democratic candidate.
- Statewide, turnout increased from 30.7% in 2015 to 42.2% in 2019, an overall increase of 11.5 points. These turnout increases were concentrated in suburban areas.
- REMINDER: Six counties in KY-06 flipped from supporting Barr in 2018 to supporting Governor-elect Beshear in 2019: Bath, Madison, Nicholas, Scott, Wolfe, and Woodford. All 6 counties are at least two-thirds rural, and all are 100% in KY-06.
Washington Post: “Bevin’s attempt to nationalize his cause by stoking conservative grievances about the impeachment process was not enough to overcome his problems nor was Trump’s raucous rally for the governor on Monday — raising questions about Trump’s political strength as he faces a barrage of challenges and a difficult path to reelection.”
Indiana’s 5th District
- For the first time ever, Democrats were elected to both the Carmel City Council and the Fishers City Council, both of which are located entirely within IN-05.
- With Democrats flipping four City-County Council seats within IN-05, Democrats now represent all of the parts of Indianapolis that are in IN-05.
- Additionally, Democrats flipped the Zionsville Mayor’s office.
- REMINDER: IN-05 is an open seat and is overwhelmingly suburban.
Indy Star: “Every council seat in both cities has been held by Republicans for at least decades and veteran politicos cannot remember the last time a Democrat sat on the councils of either government, even when the two were towns.”
Missouri’s 2nd District
- Democrats flipped HD-99, which is entirely within MO-02, by an 8-point margin.
- The state House Democrat improved on the 2018 congressional nominee’s margin by 2.9 percent.
- MO-02 is largely comprised of the St. Louis suburbs.
- REMINDER: Republicans only carried the seat by a 4-point margin in 2018.
St Louis Business Journal: “The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday reported that the race was being viewed as an indicator of the state of the suburban electorate heading into the 2020 elections.
“By Tuesday night, some were calling it a “stunning upset” that’s already causing a ripple effect in Republican politics.”
Virginia’s 2nd, Virginia’s 7th, and Virginia’s 10th District
- In VA-02, Democrats exceeded 2017 House of Delegate performance by 3.9 points and exceeded 2016 State Senate performance by 8.4 points.
- In VA-07, Democrats exceeded 2017 House of Delegate performance by 9.1 points and exceeded 2015 State Senate performance by 14.3 points.
- In VA-10, Democrats exceeded 2017 House of Delegate performance by 10.9 points and exceeded 2015 State Senate performance by 21.6 points.
- REMINDER: Democrats captured control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s Mansion for the first time in Virginia since 1993.
Washington Post: “Luria’s Virginia Beach region delivered for Democrats and helped them claim the majority in both the state Senate and House of Delegates, giving the party full power in Richmond for the first time since the early 1990s.”
In conclusion: We have not yet found the floor for Republicans in the suburbs, and with President Trump back at the top of ticket in 2020, this problem is not going away for them.