Hopeful Progressives Count Their Election Day Blessings

Election Day brought some disappointment to progressives across the US. A Republican take-over of the US House of Representatives and of many state governorships, including in New Mexico and Florida, isn’t easy to swallow.

But there are a few pieces of good news out there, including the victory of Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer in California against the Republicans, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. This was California’s most expensive race for governor in history; Whitman spent $100 million of her own money, but the two Republican women, former CEOs of  major companies, did not get the peoples’ confidence to fix the state’s budgetary problems.

The Republicans may have taken-over the House, but the US Senate is still safe in the hands of Democrats. Nevada’s Harry Reid has an edge won over Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. And in Maryland, Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware, Democrats also beat their conservative opponents. It takes 51 seats to control the senate and the Democrats pulled it off beautifully.

In Kentucky, a Tea Party favorite won a US Senate seat — Rand Paul, but the red state also elected the first openly gay mayor in the City of Lexington, businessman Jim Gray.

“This is a tremendous victory for Lexington, for Kentucky’s LGBT community and for fairness.  We are proud of Jim Gray and his fantastic campaign staff who fought hard for this win,” said Chuck Wolfe, Victory Fund’s president and CEO. On the same note, Massachusetts’ Barney Frank retained his House seat. For a list of Victory Fund endorsed candidates, click here.

Governorships in many states were also up for grabs. Republicans took over in New Mexico with the first right-wing Latina and Tea Party favorite elected governor, Susana Martinez. The state had enjoyed the leadership of another Mexican-American, Bill Richardson for eight years, but due to term limits he couldn’t continue at the post. But in Maryland, Martin O’Malley scored for the Democrats and prevailed as the state’s governor. New York also elected a Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

An Independent became governor in Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee. A former Republican, Chafee left the party in 2007 and chose to side with Democrats since. But in neighboring Connecticut, a real Republican, Tom Foley was poised to win his bid for governor there.

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