The 2018 midterms are over, and here’s some of what we know.
Republican U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat are out — casualties of a blue wave in the House that landed with force in Virginia.
Other key takeaways from the election in the DMV:
Corey A. Stewart, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate who was once described by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon as the “titular head” of the Republican Party of Virginia, got walloped by Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and appears to be looking at a shrinking political career.
Stewart says he may not even run for reelection as chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors next year. And his brand of Trumpism — Stewart liked to say that he was “Trump before Trump was Trump” — doesn’t appear to sell in the commonwealth.
That has prompted GOP leaders to reexamine the direction of the state party, which hasn’t won a statewide office since 2009.
Bowser became the first D.C. mayor on Tuesday to win reelection since 2002. But that doesn’t mean the mayor is all-powerful. She put her name, her donor network and her political machinery behind her handpicked choice for D.C. Council, Dionne Reeder, fighting hard and publicly to unseat incumbent Elissa Silverman (I-At Large).
But Reeder was soundly defeated (the loss comes after another bad election cycle for Bowser in 2016, when three of her council allies — Yvette M. Alexander, LaRuby May and Vincent B. Orange — lost reelection bids).
In Maryland, meanwhile, Hogan’s popularity did not boost enough Republican state Senate candidates to eliminate Democrats’ veto-proof majority in that chamber. Republicans Hogan backed for key county executive spots also lost, weakening the GOP bench just at the time when the governor could begin grooming a successor.
Neither Hogan nor Bowser was the top vote-getter in their jurisdictions.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, both Democrats, each collected more votes than Bowser. Even the “shadow senator,” Michael D. Brown (D), got more votes than Bowser.
Hogan’s 1.2 million votes were a huge jump from the nearly 900,000 he got in 2014, a low-turnout year. But U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) received 1.36 million votes, and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) got 1.35 million.
Left-leaning Democrat Marc Elrich trounced independent Nancy Floreen in the race for the top spot in Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous — and one of its most economically powerful — jurisdictions.
Floreen, like Elrich a longtime county council member, left the Democratic Party after Elrich won the nomination for county executive so that she could challenge him as an independent. She had strong support from the business community, but that did not translate into votes at the polls.
In reelecting Silverman, D.C. voters were delivering a verdict of sorts on the city’s leftward tilt over the past several years — most notably its generous paid family leave law, which Silverman championed and Reeder attacked.
Look for an emboldened faction of progressive lawmakers to continue pushing the nation’s capital in the direction of other deep-blue cities, such as San Francisco and Portland, Ore., on issues such as workers’ rights and drug laws.
The blue wave affected even extremely local races, flipping county executive seats in normally red Anne Arundel County and purplish Howard County.
In deep-blue Arlington County, an astounding 70 percent of voters turned out and chose Democrat and political newcomer Matt de Ferranti over incumbent John Vihstadt (I), a fiscal watchdog who won easily four years ago.
Hogan, who has repeatedly criticized the president and distanced himself from national GOP policies, won by 14 percentage points in Maryland, a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans more than 2 to 1.
In addition to Floreen’s defeat, independent Neal Simon’s much-publicized challenge to Cardin in the U.S. Senate race was a flop. The percentage of the vote that he won was in the low single digits.
The exception to this rule was Silverman — but she is an incumbent, and the D.C. Council seat she holds is reserved for a non-Democrat.
Democrat Jesse Colvin built a corps of more than 1,000 volunteers and kept pace with Rep. Andy Harris in fundraising during his quest to oust Maryland’s only Republican member of Congress.
But as Harris himself said in multiple interviews, Democrats outfoxed themselves in redrawing congressional boundaries eight years ago, grouping so many of the state’s Republicans into Harris’s district that challenging him seems almost impossible.
In the end, according to unofficial returns, Colvin lost to Harris by 23 percentage points.
That’s 15 points better than the Democratic challenger did in 2016, but it still counts as a drubbing.