They Win in Virginia and New Jersey; Maine Voters Rebuke Radical Governor
Democrats win. Democratic candidates won election victories across the country Tuesday, gaining key state legislative seats, two governorships and full control of the state governments of New Jersey and Washington.
Democrat Ralph Northam captured the Virginia governorship, beating Republican Ed Gillespie in the first major test of how Trump has affected swing-state politics. Gillespie modeled himself after Trump in his campaign, emphasizing crimes by undocumented immigrants, monuments to Confederate heroes and suggesting that his opponent supported child pornographers. Prior to Tuesday’s election, Trump tweeted support for Gillespie but promptly turned on him when the voting results became clear.
Democrats also won the races for lieutenant governor and attorney general and could end up taking control of the state’s House of Delegates. They took 14 seats previously held by Republicans. Four other races were so close that they qualify for a recount, and results will determine control of the chamber that Republicans have dominated since 2000. Among the Democratic victors are the state’s first transgender delegate and a self-described socialist.
In New Jersey, voters elected Democrat Phil Murphy governor over Republican Kim Guadagno, ending two terms of GOP control by Chris Christie.
Medicaid expansion. Maine voters rebuked the state’s radical Republican governor and approved Medicaid expansion. At least 80,000 additional Maine residents will become eligible for Medicaid. Maine will be the 32nd state to expand the program under the health law but the first where voters, not governors or legislators, decided the issue. Other states whose leaders have resisted expanding the program were closely watching the campaign, including Utah and Idaho where newly formed committees are working to get Medicaid expansion on next year’s ballots. Maine Gov. Paul LePage has repeatedly vetoed legislation to expand Medicaid.
Last one out. Syria plans to join the Paris climate accord, leaving the United States the only major nation not interested in trying to prevent the worst of climate change. Syria and Nicaragua were the only nations outside the deal when it was agreed in 2015. Nicaragua signed in October. In June, the United States said it would withdraw, but the rules of the agreement say this can’t be done until 2020. French officials said Trump has not been invited to December’s climate summit in Paris. More than 100 countries have been invited to the summit.
Secretary of exaggeration. Forbes magazine reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross repeatedly embelled his net worth by crediting himself with his investors’ money. Financial disclosure forms filed after Ross’ nomination to the Commerce Department showed he had less than $700 million in assets, far lower than the $2.9 billion Forbes listed as his net worth a year earlier. Reporter Dan Alexander claims he found Ross had been inflating his worth for more than a decade. “It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on since 2004,” Alexander wrote.