By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
The Republican “red wave” where the GOP would take over the U.S. House, Senate, and various state races did not materialize.
Many political pundits are calling the weak GOP showing “ROEVember.”
The Conservative and GOP-leaning U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down federal protection of abortion rights may have short-circuited the party’s goal.
Despite claims of pre-election low interest among African-Americans, women, and young Democrats, they had the highest turnout since 2018 and helped fend off the Republican’s power grab.
Also, the majority of Republican candidates, who denied that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race, contributed to the Republican shortfall.
While the Republicans may claim the House, the party was struggling to reach the 218-seat threshold to gain control of the House, as of press time.
As of November 14, with the Democrats losing eight seats, the party claimed 204. Meanwhile the Republicans gained eight seats and have 211 seats.
The GOP needed seven seats to even secure a slender operating majority. But with the U.S. Senate in the hands of Democrats and Biden’s vow to veto it, any conservative legislation passed in the House will not move forward,
Also, as of November 14, with the re-election of Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Democrats will maintain its thin hold on the Senate with a 50-49 margin.
Democrats are also defending a seat in Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are headed to a December 6 runoff. But even if Republicans pick up that seat, the chamber would still be evenly divided, allowing Vice President Kamala
Harris to hold the tie-breaking vote. Democrats were able to hold the majority, in part, because they picked up a seat in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, defeated Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz.
One casualty of the Republican push to win the House was two-term, Virginia U.S. Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who was defeated in her reelection bid in District 2, by Jen A. Kiggans.
Kiggans won by three percentage points in the 2nd Congressional district which was refashioned during the last redistricting make it slightly more Republican and conservative by removing a number of precincts in Norfolk.
Luria was the only incumbent among the Virginia Congressional delegation to lose. Now there are six Democrats and five Republicans representing Virginia in the House of Representatives.
The National GOP operation targeted Luria for defeat. But they did not bring down Jennifer Wexton or Abigail Spanberger, two other Democrats who won their bids.
Popular incumbent Democrats Robert “Bobby” Scott (3rd Dist.), the longest-serving member of the Virginia Delegation, and A. Donald McEachin (4th Dist.), won their reelection bids handily.
Stacey Abrams lost her second effort to become the first Black female Governor in Georgia.
History was made in Maryland as Wes Moore was elected the first Black governor of that state.
In Pennsylvania, Austin Davis was elected the first Black Lt. Governor of that state.
Summer Lee will be the first Black woman to go to Congress from Pennsylvania.
Maura Healey made history on a Election Day, becoming the first woman to be elected governor of Massachusetts and the first openly lesbian governor in U.S. history.
In Norfolk, John “JP” Paige gathered 52.03 percent of the city’s Fourth Ward vote to defeat Phillip Hawkins and Erik Barrett. Paige will now replace Paul Riddick, who will retire after three decades on Norfolk City Council.
Paige, a bail bondsman, told the GUIDE the day after the election that fighting the wave of violence and crime in his ward and city-wide is at the top of his agenda.
None of the other Norfolk council members running in wards 1, 2, 3, and 5 had any trouble reclaiming their seats.
School Board chair and Third Ward incumbent Carlos Clanton was re-elected to his seat over two challengers.
Leon Rouse in the Ward 4 lost his bid against Tiffany Buffaloe, for a seat to which he was recently appointed.
Third Ward Councilperson Mamie Johnson who had no challenger will also return to council.
Portsmouth had one of the most intriguing council races.
Eleven candidates were vying for three seats which have terms expiring this fall. The three candidates receiving the three highest number of votes won: Vernon Tillage, Mark A. Hugal, and William E. Moody, Jr.
In the background was voter angst over a bloc of four members Dr. Mark Whitaker, Paul Battle, Vice Mayor Christopher Woodard, and DeAndre Barnes and the council’s firing of the former Portsmouth city manager Angel Jones early this year.
She had completed less than a year on the job and was replaced by former City Police Chief Tonya Chapman who it was believed had the favor of the council bloc.
Battle and Woodard lost their reelection bids, dismantling half of that four-member bloc on November 8. Whitaker and DeAndre Barnes were not on the ballot.
They will be replaced by newcomers Vernon Tillage, and former Navy Admiral and Shipyard executive Mark A. Hugal may relieve the tensions.
Tillage, who is African-American, is a former staffer of current State Senator Louise Lucas and U.S. Senator Mark Warner.
For the first time, since the federal courts ordered the city to abolish its at-large system, Virginia Beach used a ward system to elect council and school board.
In the first round of elections under that system, seven Wards, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 were on the ballot on November 8.
When the council convenes to swear in the new members, for the first time in the city’s history Virginia Beach will have three elected African-American members on the council.
Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, who lost a reelection bid in 2016, regained a seat on the council. She ran unopposed in District 4.
Jennifer V. Rouse will replace her husband Aaron Rouse on the council in District 10. He is leaving the panel to seek a seat in the state legislature.
These two will join Sabrina Wooten (District 1) who did not run this fall.
In Chesapeake, 13 people ran for five council sets on the ballot on November 8.
Incumbents John de Triquet and Dr. Ella Ward, who received the first and second highest number of votes, regained their seats. C. Jeff Bunn, Daniel Whitaker, and Amanda L. Newins, all newcomers won a seat. Susan Vitale, an incumbent failed in her election bid
Ward will be one of two African-Americans on the council.
In Hampton, while Incumbent Randy C. Bowman Jr. was defeated by challenger Hope L. Harer. Vice mayor James A. Gray Jr., who is Black, held on to his seat.
In Newport News Phillip D. Jones, who is Black, was elected the city’s new mayor replacing McKinley Price.
Curtis D. Bethany II beat incumbent Willard G. Maxwell Jr. for Seat B – North district.
John R. Eley III won the Southside B seat on the council.
In Franklin, Linwood Johnson, II lost his bid to be the city’s second Black mayor. Third ward incumbent, Greg Mclemore won reelection easily; Wynndolyn Copeland regained her 5th ward seat and Jessica Grant Banks won in ward 6. Blacks have regained the majority on the panel.