Highlights From Last Night, Including Victory For The ‘Squad’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) all easily defended their districts against Republican and Independent challengers.  

[Updated at 2:48 pm EST]

The Presidential race isn’t the only nail-biter this election season. Democrats were also looking to hold onto their majority in the House and to gain control of the Senate. 

Here is a quick round-up of last night’s results (some of which are still pending). 

The “Squad” All Win Re-election

Last night saw victory for all four members of 4 congresswomen nicknamed the “Squad” in their Congressional races.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) all easily defended their districts against Republican and Independent challengers.  

The Squad members were all catapulted into Congress on the Blue Wave of 2018, and have collectively been in the spotlight for their progressive views. They have frequently been targets of the President, who famously declared in 2019 that they should “go back” to the countries they came from, although only Omar — who is originally from Somalia — was born outside of the country. 

The victories for each candidate were decisive. Omar and Ocasio-Cortez each won with over 60% of the vote in their respective races; Tlaib won with over 70% while Pressley has so far claimed 86% of the vote. 

“Together, we have fought for our shared humanity,” Pressley tweeted last night. “We have organized. We have mobilized, We have legislated our values.” 

Despite her victory, Ocasio-Cortez also had words of warning regarding the ongoing Presidential election, and specifically President Trump’s claims of victory, which she tweeted were “illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian.” 

She also had words of warning to the Democratic party regarding Latino and Latina voters, who helped Trump carry Florida in the general election. “I won’t comment much on tonight’s result,” she tweeted, but I will say we’ve been sounding the alarm about Dem vulnerabilities with Latinos for a long, long time.” 

In other House news, Ritchie Torres has become the first Black member of Congress who identifies as LGBTQ+ after winning New York’s 15th Congressional District.

Torres, a former city council member, defeated Republican Patrick Delices soundly in the Democratic district with over 88% of the vote.

Democrats Pick Up Key Senate Seats … 

Last night’s total brought a net gain of one Senate seat for Democrats, who managed to flip two of the contested seats.

Mark Kelly, the Democratic challenger for one of Arizona’s two Senate seats, defeated incumbent Martha McSally in one of the most hotly-contested races this election cycle. His victory was a must-win for Democrats who are looking to regain control of the Senate.

Kelly, the husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords, won the seat in a special election to replace the late John McCain for the remainder of his term; Kelly will be sworn into office as soon as the results are verified

His victory is a sign of the changing political landscape in Arizona, a once reliably-red state where growing diversity is making Democrats competitive. The state will now have two Democratic Senators — Kelly joins Kysten Sinema, who defeated McSally in the 2018 election  — for the first time since the 1950s.

In another key win for Democrats, John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Cory Gardner in the race for one of Colorado’s Senate seats. 

The former governor of the state and one-time Democratic presidential candidate — who dropped out of the primary race earlier this year to run for the Senate seat — won with almost 54% of the vote. He was the favorite going into the night’s election, and another pick-up for Democrats looking to reclaim the Senate majority. 

… But Lose Others 

Six seats remain open in nationwide Senate races, with each party now claiming 47 Senate seats.  

Despite flipping seats in both Colorado and Arizona, Democrats did lose one in Alabama where Democrat  Doug Jones — who defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election in 2017 — lost to Republican Tommy Tuberville.  

Democrats also lost a few other Senate seats that were leaning Republican, but where the party had made gains in recent weeks. Senator Lindsey Graham held off a challenge from Democrat Jamie Harrison, who had outpaced the incumbent Senator in funding. 

Republican Senators also held on in Iowa, Montana, Texas and Kansas – reliable red states that Democrats have made some inroads in in recent years. With these seats remaining firmly in Republican control, NPR reports that Democrats have an “uphill battle” to retake the Senate. 

Despite a close race in Maine, the AP has just reported that Republican incumbent Susan Collins will hold onto her seat with just over 50% of the vote. Neither she nor challenger Sara Gideon had a plurality of votes earlier this morning, leaving open the possibility that the race could be decided by ranked-choice voting

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis, the Republican incumbent (48.7%) , currently leads challenger, Cal Cunningham (46.9%).

In Georgia, incumbent David Perdue maintains a narrow lead over Democratic challenger, Ossoff. 

The race for Georgia’s second Senate seat is still up in the air as well. Because no candidate won a majority in yesterday’s race — which featured two Republican and one Democratic candidate — top vote-getters, Raphael Warnock (Dem) and Kelly Loeffler (Rep) will compete in a run-off election in January. 


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