Donald Trump’s presidency has pulled the Republican party far to the right, and several of the candidates on the ballot tonight have openly embraced extremist views to court his base, including railing against non-white immigrants and courting white supremacist groups. Nearly all of the incumbents have voted closely with Trump since he took office.
American voters are rejecting some, and embracing others.
Democrats picked up their very first House seat when Barbara Comstock, a Virginia representative since 2009, was ousted by lawyer Jennifer Wexton. Comstock didn’t support Trump when he became the Republican nominee for president, but like many Republicans who once snubbed him, she voted for almost all of his policies in Congress, and was a big recipient of gun lobbyist money. Wexton is projected to beat Wexton with about 55% of the vote.
And current Virginia senator Tim Caine easily fended off challenger Corey Stewart, the state’s Trump campaign chairman, who made preserving a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee a major plank of his platform,
Kim Davis, the Kentucky town clerk who became a conservative Christian folk hero for refusing to give a marriage license to a gay couple in her town after the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, was knocked out of her clerk seat by Elwood Caudill.
Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who campaigned on anti-immigrant messages and huge tax cuts, was easily defeated by state senator Laura Kelly.
Elsewhere in Kentucky, however, Andy Barr, whom Trump touted in one of his rallies, defeated Amy McGrath.
Jim Jordan, the Ohio Congressman and Trump booster who was accused by multiple wrestling students of ignoring their complaints of sexual harassment when he was a coast, easily won reelection with a projected over 60% of the vote.
Marsha Blackburn, the pro-Trump, anti-LGBTQ Republican running for retiring moderate senator Bob Corker’s seat, will easily defeat Phil Bredesen in Tennessee.
Ron DeSantis, who spoke in front of white supremacist groups and praised Trump in his campaign ads, held his slim lead over Andrew Gillum for Florida Governor.
Ted Cruz, who closed out his Texas senate campaign against Beto O’Rourke with fear-mongering ads against poor immigrants, is expected to win, but less than half the votes have been counted so far.