Election results updates: NJ Senate president loses in stunning upset; Atlanta mayoral runoff set

Election results continued to become finalized on Thursday, two days after Election Day.

At midday, the Associated Press called the race of New Jersey's state Senate president – and he lost.

Little-known truck driver Ed Durr defeated one of the state's most powerful elected leaders, Steve Sweeney.

AP also called the lingering Virginia attorney general race in favor of Republican Jason Miyares.

Late Wednesday, AP called the New Jersey governor's race for the incumbent, Democrat Phil Murphy, after much of a day in which the race remained too close to call.

New Jersey does not have an automatic recount law, but the candidates are permitted to request one. The party that wants a recount has to file a suit in State Superior Court in the counties where they want to contest tallies. That has to be done within 17 days of Election Day.

Analysis:Glenn Youngkin won while keeping away from Donald Trump. Will other Republicans do the same?

In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race to become the next governor on Tuesday. A businessman turned politician, Youngkin defeated Democrat and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a come-from-behind win. In fact, Republicans dominated statewide races in Virginia.

Meanwhile, history was made in races across the U.S. by both Republicans and Democrats.

Michelle Wu became the first elected female mayor of Boston and Democrat Eric Adams was elected New York’s second Black mayor, while Alvin Bragg became Manhattan’s first Black district attorney.

In Virginia, Republican Winsome Sears became the first Black woman to win the lieutenant governor's post. And Miyares, son of a Cuban immigrant and a delegate from Virginia Beach, won the state attorney general race.

Looking ahead:Virginia election was opening salvo for 2022 midterms. What's next for Biden, American politics?

Virginia Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin speaks during an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on Nov. 2, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Atlanta mayoral runoff set: Moore ve

ATLANTA — City Council member Andre Dickens has clinched the second spot in a Nov. 30 runoff in Georgia’s largest city, narrowly edging out former Mayor Kasim Reed, who was seeking a third term after leaving office in 2018.

Dickens will face off against clear front-runner and current City Council President Felicia Moore, who won about 40% of the vote in Tuesday's election. Dickens secured about 23% of the vote, less than 1% more than Reed did.

“I am confident that people have heard our message for change and agree with us that Atlanta deserves more,” Moore told supporters Tuesday night.

Although Reed raised the most money in the nonpartisan race, Dickens picked up momentum in the weeks before the election and was endorsed by former Mayor Shirley Franklin.

“You chose a path to the future tonight,” Dickens told supporters shortly after he inched ahead of Reed early Wednesday. “The people decided that it was time to save the soul of our city and to move this campaign forward into the runoff. Hope has defeated fear."

– Associated Press

NJ truck driver ousts longtime Senate powerbroker 

The quiet life ended early Wednesday for Edward Durr, a truck-driving Republican from Logan Township, who has unseated one of the state's New Jersey's most powerful elected Democrats.

Durr and GOP General Assembly running mates Bethanne McCarthy Patrick and Beth Sawyer, based on unofficial final results Wednesday, have flipped the solidly “blue” Third Legislative District” into the Republican column.  

It has been two decades since a Republican represented the Third District in the Senate or Assembly. Generally, Democratic state Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney and Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro were regarded as overseeing a safe district.

AP called the race on Thursday. Both sides were leery of conceding or proclaiming a victory for the moment. However, Durr holds a solid 2,000-vote margin in his race against Sweeney.

Sweeney, a West Deptford resident, has not issued a statement. On Wednesday, though, he canceled a Senate leadership caucus that was to happen on Thursday.

Sweeney, a former Gloucester County freeholder director, has been in the Senate since 2002.

Durr said reporters started dialing his home phone about 5 a.m. Wednesday. “My phone has not stopped blowing up,” he said.

– Joseph P. Smith, Vineland Daily Journal

GOP dominates Virginia races

Virginia Republicans completed a sweep of down-ballot statewide offices Wednesday, with victories for attorney general and lieutenant governor, including the first Black woman ever to be elected statewide in the commonwealth.

The wins echoed the Democrats' defeat in the race for governor, and marked a dramatic turnaround in a state where the GOP had not won a statewide race since 2009.

In the lieutenant governor's race, Republican Winsome Sears, who returned to Virginia politics after an absence of nearly two decades, defeated Democrat Hala Ayala. Sears becomes the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor and the first woman of color to hold statewide office. Ayala would have broken the same historic barriers had she won.

In the attorney general's race, Republican Jason Miyares, the son of a Cuban immigrant, defeated the Democratic incumbent, Mark Herring, who was running for a third term. The AG race was called late on Wednesday.

Both Ayala and Herring conceded. 

Sears rocketed out of political obscurity earlier this year when she won the GOP nomination on the strength of a campaign photo in which she posed holding a military rifle. She will succeed Democrat Justin Fairfax, who unsuccessfully ran for governor.

Miyares will be the first Republican to hold the attorney general post since Ken Cuccinelli won in 2009. A delegate from Virginia Beach, Miyares highlighted his background as the son of a Cuban immigrant throughout the campaign. He frequently criticized Herring for decisions by the state parole board to release inmates early without notifying victims, decisions Herring said were totally outside his jurisdiction.

– Associated Press

Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at victory rally

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, fresh off the Associated Press call that he won re-election in New Jersey, spoke at a victory rally Wednesday night.

In a brief speech in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Murphy said he was "humbled" to win a second term and seemed to acknowledge how divided the electorate was in the results. 

"If you want to be governor of all of New Jersey, you must listen to all of New Jersey. And New Jersey, I hear you," he said. "So tonight I renew my promise to you — whether you voted for me or not — to work every single day of the next four years to keep moving us forward."

However, the campaign of his Republican rival, Jack Ciattarelli, did not concede defeat. 

"With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted," spokeswoman Stami Williams said on Twitter.

– Dustin Racioppi

5 election takeaways:Education critical in Virginia; an historic night for candidates of color

In New Jersey, localized politics

Similar to Virginia, New Jersey’s matchup between Ciattarelli and Murphy often localized national politics.

While Ciattarelli tried to steer attention to the parochial issues of property tax rates, school funding and quality of life, Murphy’s campaign relentlessly tied him to former president Donald Trump.

Anticipating another four years under Murphy, advocates and the governor’s supporters have pushed an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda that includes putting an end to all fossil fuel projects, decriminalizing all drugs, reforming the tax code and studying reparations.

Despite his strong outside support, Murphy would still have to bargain with Democratic lawmakers who have at times served as a check on his ambitions. Democrats retained their control of both chambers of the Legislature, though they appeared to be on pace to lose seats, including the powerful one held by Sweeney. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin was expected to keep his leadership positions.

Republicans haven’t controlled the Legislature for 20 years and now, with Ciattarelli’s narrow loss, the question turns to whether they can build on this year's momentum to take back political control in the legislative or executive branches. 

Read the whole story here:NJ Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly wins a second term, beating Republican Jack Ciattarelli

– Dustin Racioppi

Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy applaud after a woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination at Essex County College, in Newark, New Jersey, on October 8, 2021.

Murphy first Democrat reelected NJ governor since 1977

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy won reelection, the AP said on Wednesday , the first Democrat voters have sent back to Trenton in nearly half a century.

Murphy, 64, defeated Republican Jack Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman, in one of two closely watched gubernatorial elections this year. Before Tuesday, a Democrat had not been reelected New Jersey governor since 1977.

The incumbent governor was long the favorite in the race, but the election drew national attention in the waning days of the campaign as polls showed a narrowing gap between the two candidates.

A former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Murphy was first elected governor in 2017.

-- Rick Rouan

Once considered sleepy, New Jersey race now in spotlight

New Jersey's gubernatorial race, widely considered to be a sleepy contest favoring incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy, has suddenly become the country's most-watched election as a potential bellwether for next year's congressional midterms. 

Murphy's lead in all public polls, his moneyed apparatus, his marquee endorsements and the advantage of having a million more registered Democrats than Republicans did not translate into a decisive victory Tuesday night — or even a projected one. 

Instead, it could be days or longer before a winner is declared, because the race was so close Wednesday and mail-in ballots had to be counted.

Even if Murphy defeats challenger Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican Party is energized in ways it hasn't been in years, and Murphy could hardly claim he has a mandate to build on the progressive framework he built out in his first term, political analysts said. 

Read the rest here:Once considered a sleepy race, New Jersey's contest for governor may now be a bellwether

-- Dustin Racioppi

‘People want us to get things done’: Biden responds to Democratic gubernatorial loss in Virginia

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Democrats’ disappointing results in Virginia’s gubernatorial election showed that voters want Congress to act on his domestic spending agenda to “produce for the American people.”

"What I do know is that people want us to get things done,” Biden said when asked how much responsibility he takes for the loss of Democrat Terry McAuliffe. “And that's why I'm continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my ‘Build Back Better’ bill."

Biden, making his first public comments about the results, did not explicitly accept responsibility for Democrats' bad night. He noted that McAuliffe received the most votes ever for a Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia.

He said his social spending and infrastructure bills “should have passed” before election day but isn’t sure it would have “changed the number of very conservative folks” who turned out in red districts where Donald Trump is popular to vote for Republican Glenn Youngkin.

"But maybe, maybe," Biden added.

Biden made multiple campaign stops in Virginia for McAuliffe and aggressively sought to tie Youngkin to the divisive politics of Trump.   

“People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things,” Biden said, “from COVID, to school, to jobs, to a whole range of things – and the cost of a gallon of gasoline. And so, if I'm able to pass and sign into law my ‘Build Back Better’ initiative, I'm in a position where you're going to see a lot of those things ameliorated quickly and swiftly. So that has to be done.”

Asked what Democrats need to do to respond to Republican attacks over critical race theory and other cultural issues, Biden said, “We should produce for the American people.”

– Joey Garrison

Virginia voters said about race, education and teachers

Concerns about how race is taught in schools brought out voters across Virginia on Election Day, when it emerged as a key reason some residents cast a ballot in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.

Youngkin, who defeated the former governor, leaned into parents' anger over education during the campaign, vowing to ban the teaching of critical race theory when he enters office. He and his supporters criticized McAuliffe for comments made during a debate on Sept. 29: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said.

Critical race theory is a legal framework that examines how systemic racism continues to permeate U.S. law and society. Virginia public schools do not teach it at K-12 levels. Nevertheless, the candidates and voters appeared focused on the issue this election.

-- Katie Wadington

Read the full story:Here's what Virginia voters said about race, education and teachers in the Youngkin-McAuliffe election

Murphy, Ciattarelli trade leads

As of midafternoon Wednesday, the New Jersey governor's race remains on a razor's edge, with votes trickling in.

Updated vote totals have incumbent Phil Murphy ahead of Jack Ciattarelli by nearly 15,000 votes, according to the Associated Press, which put Murphy's vote total at 1,199,614 and Ciattarelli's total at 1,184,723. 

The closeness of the race has surprised experts, who watched public polls showing Murphy leading comfortably and looked to his party's registration advantage of more than a million voters.

“If you asked anybody several months ago within the state, I think anyone would have predicted a high double digit landslide for Murphy,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling.

New Jersey does not have an automatic recount law, but the candidates are permitted to request one. The party that wants a recount has to file a suit in State Superior Court in the counties where they want to contest tallies. That has to be done within 17 days of Election Day.

– Associated Press

Aftab Pureval makes history as Cincinnati's first Asian American mayor

Aftab Pureval is Cincinnati's next mayor, nabbing a whopping 66% of the vote and becoming the first Asian-American Pacific mayor in the city's history.

"We made history in Cincinnati," Pureval said to supporters who gathered to celebrate his win Tuesday night. He defeated longtime Cincinnati politician David Mann, who conceded the race at 10 p.m.

Pureval, 39, of Clifton, is the Hamilton County clerk of courts. He campaigned on the idea that he would bring fresh ideas to City Hall.   

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported he also becomes the only Asiam American mayor in the Midwest. He defeated longtime Cincinnati politician David Mann, who conceded the race at 10 p.m.

– Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati Enquirer

Booker notes Murphy's impact during pandemic

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., voiced disappointment with the close results in New Jerseys’ governor’s race, but said Gov. Phil Murphy had a difficult job during the pandemic.

“Clearly I'm disappointed, but I'm glad that it looks like Murphy's gonna pull through,” Booker said.

“Leading during crisis is always hard. We just went through unprecedented pandemic, and he stood in the saddle, made tough choices, kept people safe. But it's a hard job.”

Booker couldn’t say whether the race had any implications for congressional races in 2022.

“I'm not extrapolating anything on this right now,” the second-term senator said.

– Bart Jansen

Kaine weighs in on McAuliffe's loss: 'Dems blew the timing'

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said if Democrats in Congress had passed legislation for President Joe Biden’s social welfare program and for infrastructure, the victories would have helped Terry McAuliffe in the race he lost Tuesday for governor of Virginia and helped congressional Democrats in 2022.

Progressive House Democrats have blocked a vote on infrastructure legislation, which the Senate has already approved, until it can be considered with Biden’s broader package.

“Instead, Democrats wanted to be purists about whatever their own particular goals were left, right and center and hold out and dither and delay,” Kaine said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has proposed voting on both bills as early as this week. Kaine said they might both be completed by Thanksgiving. But McAuliffe has already lost.

“A lot of politics is about timing,” Kaine said. “Dems blew the timing.”

Kaine said McAuliffe could have campaigned on universal pre-kindergarten and child care in the larger package, and on the jobs that the infrastructure bill would have created.

“He could have had a really great wind at his back if Democrats had been willing to get the deal done,” Kaine said. “So I'm just saying I hope my colleagues absorb this notion that when you’re in the majority, the D in Democrats should stand for doing and not delay, dithering, do nothing, division.”

Kaine noted that turnout was 25% higher than the previous governor’s race four years earlier. The state doesn’t require voters to register by party, so Kaine argued Democrats needed to win over independent voters.

“Terry could have won a lot of them over if we had given him some things to sell, instead of the message primarily that, you know, Dems are in disarray,” Kaine said. “I hope the Dems view this as the Ghost of Christmas Future experience. Like this isn't what the future has to be. But if you don't change your ways, this is the future.”

– Bart Jansen

3 Democratic Senate races now considered toss-ups

A political odds-maker at the University of Virginia changed its ratings Wednesday in four competitive Democratic U.S. Senate races, after Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which is named for Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said the election confirmed a poor environment for Democrats, which if replicated in 2022 could help Republicans could win control of the House and Senate.

The ratings changed in three races from “leans Democratic” to a toss-up, for Sens. Mark Kelly in Arizona, Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. The rating for Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., changed from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”

– Bart Jansen

McAuliffe concedes to Youngkin in Virginia governor's race

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe conceded his run for governor after a bruising campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin. The race was widely watched as a bellwether for the national mood amid the coronavirus pandemic and first year of Democrats' unified control of Washington.

“Congratulations to Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory. I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family,” McAuliffe said in a Wednesday morning statement.

While he acknowledged the campaign “came up short” in the race, McAuliffe reiterated the need to make progress on progressive priorities like health care, voting rights and family policy.

McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor after a 2013 victory that presaged Democrats’ later victories in the state legislature in 2018. Youngkin’s victory, as well as a narrow Republican recapture of the state House, came as a shock to Democrats in Virginia and nationally.

– Matthew Brown

Supporters of Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe watch returns during an election night event at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on Nov, 2, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits McAuliffe against Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.

Virginia fallout:Red alert: Crushing defeat in Virginia could signal more bad news for Democrats ahead

GOP says it will target 13 more House Dems in 2022

The Republican campaign committee for the House announced Wednesday it would add 13 Democrats to the list targeted for defeat in the 2022 election, after Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race.

The National Republican Congressional Committee had 57 Democratic lawmakers in its sights and added 13 names.

“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who is chairman of the campaign committee. “Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders and spurred a nationwide crime wave.”

The Democrats added to the target list are: Reps. Greg Stanton in Arizona, Ed Perlmutter in Colorado, Joe Courtney in Connecticut, Darren Soto in Florida, Sanford Bishop in Georgia, Frank Mrvan in Indiana, David Trone in Maryland, G.K. Butterfield in North Carolina, Annie Kuster in New Hampshire, Teresa Leger-Fernandez in New Mexico, Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania, Jim Cooper in Tennessee and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia.

– Bart Jansen

McCarthy: 'America wants new leadership'

National Republican leaders are wasting no time promoting Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, calling it a sign that they will triumph in next year’s congressional elections.

In a memo to colleagues, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said that “Washington Democrats have ignored their constituents, and they have been punished by the voters they serve.”

“Americans want new leadership,” added McCarthy, who would presumably become Speaker of the House if the Republicans win a majority in next November’s election.

Not so fast, some Democrats said. While reversals in Virginia and elsewhere were disappointing, Democrats and their allies said they still plan to retain the House and Senate - though Tuesday’s election did yield warning signs.

Republican scare tactics only work “if Democrats in Washington aren’t offering a bold vision for the future and delivering on that promise,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “They have to start delivering, because the midterm election season is now here.”

– David Jackson

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Maine voters agree: Food is a basic right

The right to food won rave reviews Tuesday from Maine voters, who passed the nation's first guarantee for people to grow, harvest and eat according to their own wishes.

The Maine ballot measure was one of several in states seeking to create new constitutional rights touching on an array of issues. Some were a response to policies put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, including a pair of Texas proposals limiting restrictions on religious gatherings and nursing home visits.

Maine's unique measure declares individuals have an “unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing.” It passed comfortably.

“It’s always a good idea to secure and protect an individual right in the world we live in. Food is life,” said Democratic state Sen. Craig Hickman, a supporter of the proposal. “I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid of saying so out loud in the constitution.”

Opponents had worried the measure might lead some people to try to raise cattle in cities.

– Associated Press

Opinion:Virginia governor: Youngkin win shows voters will reward Trump's dangerous Republican Party

Dems trailing in Virginia's lieutenant governor, AG races

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Candidates for Virginia's statewide down-ballot offices were engaged in tight races early Wednesday, with the Democrats slightly trailing their GOP rivals. The races were too early to call. 

In the lieutenant governor's race, voters chose between two women for a post that has been held by men for as long as the state has existed. Democrat Hala Ayala, a delegate from Woodbridge, faced Republican Winsome Sears, who served in the legislature for a single term two decades ago and was attempting a political comeback. Either also would be the first woman of color to be elected to statewide office in Virginia.

The winner will succeed Democrat Justin Fairfax, who unsuccessfully ran for governor. The marquee election Tuesday was the gubernatorial race, which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won, defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe

While the AP did not call the down-ballot races, Republicans were claiming victories in both. Sears stood with her family in front of cheering supporters at a victory party in Chantilly, saying, "What you are looking at is the American Dream."

Ayala did not concede defeat early Wednesday morning.

For attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring was seeking a third term against Republican Jason Miyares, a delegate from Virginia Beach. Herring would be the first attorney general to win a third term since World War II.

Miyares, the son of a Cuban immigrant, also declared victory early Wednesday, saying he is now the first Latino to be elected statewide in Virginia. "I can't wait to go to work with Governor Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Sears for you," he said.

Herring had not conceded defeat early Wednesday morning.

– Associated Press

Buffalo mayor's write-in campaign looks successful

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appeared to win a fifth term Tuesday after lodging a robust write-in effort against India Walton, a trained nurse and activist whose socialist beliefs became a central issue in the race.

Brown, a Democrat who first took office in 2006, resorted to a write-in campaign after losing a June primary to Walton, a Democrat making her first run for office.

The effort, initially thought to be a longshot, appeared to be successful, though it won't be official until the write-in votes are verified and mail-in ballots are counted.

Write-in candidates received 33,994 votes — about 59% of the total — with 98% of election districts reporting late Tuesday, according to the Erie County Board of Elections.

– Jon Campbell, New York State Team

Youngkin flips Virginia

An excited Glenn Youngkin claimed the governor's office in Virginia by telling supporters he would pursue a transformation of the state's economy and school system.

"We can build a new day," Youngkin told screaming supporters at a hotel in northern Virginia early Wednesday.

Youngkin, a decided underdog at the start of the campaign, overtook Democrat Terry McAuliffe by stressing education – especially the teaching of race and history – and the economy.

"Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth," Youngkin said in his victory speech.

– David Jackson

More:Red alert: Crushing defeat in Virginia could signal more bad news for Democrats ahead

Adams wins in NYC, Bragg takes Manhattan DA's race

Retired police officer Eric Adams defeated underdog Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa on Tuesday to become the second Black mayor in the history of New York City. The mayor-elect promised to reflect the needs of working and middle-class voters of color.

Former federal prosecutor Alvin Bragg will become the first Black person to lead the Manhattan district attorney's office after his win over Republican opponent Thomas Kenniff.

– Chelsey Cox

Minneapolis police initiative defeated

MINNEAPOLIS – Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a new Department of Public Safety, an idea that supporters had hoped would bring radical change to policing in the city where George Floyd’s death under an officer’s knee brought calls for racial justice.

The initiative would have changed the city charter to remove a requirement that the city have a police department with a minimum number of officers. Supporters said a complete overhaul of policing was necessary to stop police violence. Opponents said the proposal had no concrete plan for how to move forward and warned it would leave some communities already affected by violence more vulnerable as crime is on the rise.

Those opponents welcomed the amendment's defeat but stressed the urgency of transforming policing in the city even without it.

“Tonight Minneapolis voters have made clear that we want a planful approach to transforming policing and public safety in our city that needs to include meaningful consultation with the communities that are most impacted by both violent crime and by over-policing,” said Leili Fatehi, manager of the All of Mpls campaign.

The ballot proposal had roots in the abolish-the-police movement that erupted after Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year.

– Associated Press