November 30, 2022

Democrats just swung a red state district that voted Trump by 50 points in special election

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On the heels of an already monumentally important day for Democrats after Shelly Simonds upset Republican incumbent David Yancey by one single vote to flip a seat and erase the Republicans’ majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, Democrats swung the 17th district in tonight’s Tennessee State Senate race by more than 50 points.


In the special election for the 17th district of Tennessee’s State Senate, Democrat Mary Alice Carfi came to within less than three points in the race against Republican Mark Pody (who currently serves in Tennessee’s House of Representatives) to take the seat vacated by Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers, who resigned in August to focus on running for governor.

While Democratic candidate Mary Alice Carfi wasn’t able to turn a victory, her 48.7 to 51.3 percent loss brought her to within striking distance of flipping the seat. That 2.6 percent loss is all the more impressive considering Trump won Tennessee’s 17th district by a staggering 53.5 points on average during the 2016 presidential election.

In other words, Carfi’s performance was a swing of almost 51 percent since last year’s general election.

“We need some common sense in the Senate,” Carfi has said. “Republicans have held the majority since the 2010 elections. They have had ample opportunities to improve the lives of working families in our state, but instead have put party interests before improving the health care, jobs, and education for our citizens.”

The close call comes on the heels of today’s historic recount results in Virginia’s 94th district. While Republican incumbent David Yancey initially led by 10 votes going to the recount, Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds has overcome the deficit to eke out a stunning victory in her district.

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These developments only the latest in a wave of stunning Democratic success stories around the country. Thus far, Democrats have unseated Republicans in a vast number of what were thought to be unwinnable races. Aside from flipping New Jersey’s and winning Virginia’s gubernatorial races, Democrats also win a historic victory electing Doug Jones to the Alabama Senate, the first time that a Democrat has one in that state in a quarter century.

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Democrats have also picked up a slew of seats in other races around the country, including those in Georgia, Washington, and Florida.

Since the beginning of 2017, Democrats have flipped 15 seats in special elections. Republicans have flipped zero. In total, Democrats flipped 35 seats from red to blue. Even in solidly red districts, such as those in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kansas, Alabama, and now Tennessee, Democrats are overperforming Trump’s numbers by double digits.

As the Trump administration and its Republican enablers in Congress continue their assault on the will of the American people – from healthcare to tax cuts for the rich to net neutrality to immigration – voters across the country are delivering a serious message to the White House, one race at a time.

If tonight’s Tennessee results are duplicated around the country in 2018, the entire Republican Party will be on life support.

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Brian Tyler Cohen

Managing editor

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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