Tuesday was Mitch McConnell’s worst day in a long time. He spilled coffee all over the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, his friend Senator Bob Corker announced he was not running for re-election in 2018, and bigot Roy Moore won the primary in Alabama’s special election for Jeff Sessions’s seat, defeating McConnell’s pick, Big Luther Strange. But while all this was happening on the national stage, Tuesday night’s round of special elections saw some less-noticed pickups by Democrats at the state level that bode badly for the GOP.
In Florida, Democrat Annette Taddeo flipped a state Senate seat that was previously held by Republican Frank Artiles. Artiles was forced to resign when he used the n-word in front of two black colleagues. The district was in Republican-controlled Tallahassee, which went for both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio (in the Senate race) in 2016. According to DailyKos, this brings the number of Democratic seats in the state Senate to 16, the highest number in 17 years.
And in New Hampshire, Democrat Kari Lerner won a state House seat in a district that Trump won by 23 points in November. Republicans have a two-to-one advantage in registrations in that district, but Lerner defeated her opponent, James Headd, by 39 votes. It’s the third state House seat that Democrats have flipped in New Hampshire since May.
All in all, Democrats have flipped eight state legislative seats in special elections since Trump won the presidential election, while Republicans have flipped none.
Ahead of 2020, when state legislatures will control the once-in-a-decade process of redrawing district lines, there is a lot of ground that Democrats have to make up, following massive losses at the state legislative level over the last decade. But after last night, they are one step closer.