Democrats claim victories in mid-Atlantic elections
BY Senior Reporter
Two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, a record number of Americans went to the polls last Tuesday.
The 49.2 percent national voter turnout was the highest for any midterm since 1966.
Delaware wasn’t an exception, as 52.2 percent of its eligible voters cast a ballot this year. 36 percent of Delawareans voted in the 2014 Midterm election.
With the higher voter turnout, Republicans maintained control of the Senate, but Democrats took control of the House of Representatives.
While the Democrats made gains in the election, this is the fourth time in the last seven Midterm elections that party control of the House flipped away from the president’s party.
The constant struggle for power left 77 percent of Americans perceiving the nation as a divided after the last batch of elections.
Ahead of last week’s election, The Review previewed key races along the East Coast. Here is how they turned out and what the electorate can expect from their representatives:
Democratic Sen. Tom Carper defeated Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett to win re-election to the Senate.
With 59.95 percent of the votes to Arlett’s 37.81 percent, Carper will move into his fourth term as a Delawarean senator after raising about 24 times more money for his campaign than Arlett.
Carper has represented Delaware in the Senate since 2001. He was the the state’s representative in the House from 1982 to 1993 and Delaware’s governor from 1993 to 2001.
His Republican challenger, Arlett, was Trump’s campaign chairman for the state of Delaware during the 2016 election. Arlett supported Trump’s proposed tax and health care plans.
Carper voted against Trump’s tax plan, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected will boost the national gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7 percent from 2018-2028, while also raising the national deficit by $1.9 billion over that period.
While Trump’s health-care plan never made it to a vote on the Senate floor, Carper said at an Oct. 17 debate with Arlett that he opposed the legislation, which would have repealed and replaced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Throughout his campaign, Carper said he would hold Trump accountable for policy proposals that negatively impacted Americans.
One of Carper’s biggest criticisms of Trump has been for the president’s attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and clean, renewable energy. Carper publicized this criticism in an editorial in the News Journal in April, protesting these environmental threats.
With a precedent already set, Delawareans can expect that Carper will continue to hold Trump accountable in this upcoming term.
Across the Mason-Dixon line, Marylanders re-elected Republican governor Larry Hogan, even though the state has historically supported Democratic candidates.
Hogan, the self-branded political outsider, is Maryland’s first two-term Republican governor since Theodore McKeldin, whose second term ended in 1959.
The Republican converted his 64 percent approval rating into a 13.4 point victory over his Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous.
Hogan’s atypical widespread support stems from his opposition to raise taxes and his dedication to improving the economy. According to the Washington Post, Maryland gained 100,000 non-farm jobs during his three years in office.
Another one of Hogan’s unifying points is improving transportation. During his first term, the state started construction on an additional line of the light rail and revamped Baltimore’s bus system. More capital improvements seem imminent in Maryland.
Hogan also said he hopes to tackle the heroin epidemic the state currently faces. The number of deaths related to opioids has increased by 352 percent since 2010, leading Hogan to declare the epidemic a state of emergency in March of last year. Despite the declaration, 2,282 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017.
This focus on the state’s economic welfare and other nonpartisan issues has made Marylanders willing to overlook his lack of support for free college tuition and a higher minimum wage, according to the Post.
Maryland’s northern neighbor hosted its first election since it redrew its congressional districts, which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled were gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
The new seventh district contains most of the former District 15 and Northampton County.
The previous representative, Republican Charlie Dent, retired in May, paving the way for Democrat Susan Wild to defeat Republican and former Olympian Marty Nothstein by 9.9 points.
Nothstein won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,Ga., for cycling track, and a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, for the same event. His opponent, Wild, is an attorney.
The race between Nothstein and Wild was unique because former District 15 was one of 25 Republican-held congressional districts to vote for Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Wild hopes to achieve universal health care coverage by expanding Medicaid. She further hopes to protect the nation’s aging population from losing benefits as a result of poor government management or budget cuts. Wild specifically aims to maintain Medicare and assure people who have paid into Social Security receive their dividends as they become senior citizens.
Across the Delaware River, the race for New Jersey’s third congressional district focused on claims of partisanship.
Republican Tom MacArthur, who claims to be bipartisan, lost his re-election bid to Democratic newcomer, Andy Kim, who challenged this notion.
Kim focused this race for the third congressional district, which stretches from the Delaware River near Willingboro to the Jersey Shore near Toms River, by claiming that MacArthur’s support for Trump’s health care plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), shows his inability to meet the needs of the district’s Democrats.
Though MacArthur had the advantage of the incumbency, Kim’s campaign outraised MacArthur’s, with $5.2 million to his $4.5 million. Kim capitalized on this fundraising, ousting MacArthur, winning over 1.1 percent more voters.
With 6,400 provisional ballots that still need to be counted, however, MacArthur has not yet conceded. Kim led MacArthur by 3,424 votes as of Monday. Because the majority of the remaining provisional ballots come from the Democratic-leaning Burlington County, the county’s superintendent of elections expects Kim’s lead to hold, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As his campaign focused on ridding elections of hyper partisanship, Kim aspires to reform campaign finance by encouraging public funding of campaigns and requiring the disclosure of donors. He also hopes to create legislation that would prohibit gerrymandering and subsequent voter suppression.
To the north of New Jersey lies a state that had another close race that pitted two lawyers, Republican incumbent John Faso and Democrat Antonio Delgado, against each other.
Faso earned a degree from Georgetown University Law Center by taking night classes while he worked full time. Delgado is a Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law School graduate and former rapper.
The battle for New York’s 19th congressional district, which runs from just north of Poughkeepsie to the outskirts of Albany, focused mainly on differences in opinions about health care until Republicans began questioning whether Delgado was fit for office given the nature of his lyrics. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) capitalized on this uncertainty, releasing an attack ad on Sept. 12 that stitched together pieces of Delgado’s speeches with clips from some of his rap songs with suggestive content.
Some of the lyrics the ad shows Delgado rapping are “There’s a war goin’ on [N-word] what the f— is up,” “Gotcha sweatin’ this like ya having sex to a porno flick” and “God bless Iraq.”
The lines about war and Iraq are taken out of context, however. These two lines come from one of Delgado’s songs called “Draped in Flags,” which he released in 2007 as a protest to America’s war with Iraq.
Though Trump endorsed Faso on Twitter, the former rapper defeated him by 2.9 points in a race that Spectrum News and Siena College predicted to be a toss up.
Delgado supports offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who live in the United States. His campaign website also states that he would support legislation that would necessitate universal background checks for potential gun owners while challenging the National Rifle Association’s influence in Congress.
Additionally, Delgado advocates for achieving universal health care coverage by giving citizens the choice to opt into medicare. This follows the Democrats’ official stance, but the growing progressive movement is pushing for a single-payer health care system which would fund every citizen’s health care exclusively through taxes.
By electing a centric Democrat, District 19 New Yorkers can anticipate a turn left from Faso’s previous representation, given Delgado’s traditional, Democratic views.