Election 2021: What Happened?


By William DeMartinis

On Tuesday, voters headed to the polls nationwide to determine their next governors, state legislatures, and local officials. Last night, Virginia and New Jersey held their gubernatorial elections in the first real test for Democrats nationwide. Tens of hundreds of localities, including right here in Erie Country, held high-profile mayoral elections and legislative races. Here’s the deep dive.

Virginia: The next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is Glenn Youngkin (R), defeating former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) by a margin of 48.58-50.73 (R +2.2). That is a massive blow to nationwide Democrats, who just four ago won the state by eight points (54-46%) in 2017’s governor race. Not only did Democrats lose the top job in Virginia, but the lieutenant governor’s office, attorney general’s office, and the Virginia House of Delegates all flipped to the Republican party on Tuesday. The implications of Democrats losing this race are astounding. Using data given by Dave Wasserman (Editor at the cook political report, @Redistrict on Twitter) the swing from the 2020 presidential election in Virginia vs. the 2021 governor race was R+12 points. If that swing was to be replicated nationwide in 2022, Democratic would lose 44 house seats, more than enough for them to lose their slim House majority come next November. While history certainly wasn’t in the Democrats favor from the start, last night made the chances a heck of a lot worse from Democrats.

New Jersey: On Tuesday, Democrats sought to defy the historical slump of re-electing a Democratic governor in New Jersey (The last time a Democrat won re-election in NJ was 1977) And according to pre-election polls, Phil Murphy (D) was on track to easily defeat former NJ assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R). Yet, in another astonishing twist, the race was incredibly narrow, albeit won by Phil Murphy. While not all the votes have been counted at this moment, Phil Murphy currently leads 1,271,380 votes (50.75%) To Jack Ciatarelli’s 1,214,757 (48.49%). That’s a major ouch for Democrats.

If using the same swing system used earlier when talking about Virginia, this is a similar swing compared to Virginia (R+7.5) Compared to 2017. However, it’s important to note, the votes left outstanding currently (With 96% reported) are from heavily Democratic areas, likely meaning governor Phil Murphy’s margin of victory will increase (hence the call of his victory). So, yes, Democrats did defy a precedent in New Jersey, however, it was horrendously below expectations. 

Buffalo Mayoral Race: On Tuesday, for once in our lifetimes, Buffalo was the seat of a hot mayoral contest between incumbent Byron Brown and Self-described democratic-socialist and primary upset winner India Walton. Brown, defeated by India Walton back in the June primary, mounted a write-in campaign against India Walton, who had the boost of being the Democratic nominee in Buffalo. So, what happened last night? While the results are not officially called, the vote was 59% write-in vs. 41% for India Walton. Considering over 95% of those write-in ballots will almost certainly break for Byron Brown, his victory is almost assured, further supported by Byron’s victory speech on election night. 

Erie County and Amherst Results: Along with the hot Buffalo mayoral race on Tuesday, there were also elections for Erie County sheriff and county comptroller. On the Comptroller side of things, incumbent Democratic county comptroller Kevin R. Hardwick defeated Republican challenger Lynne Dixon by a margin of 53-47%. As for Sheriff, Republican Mike Garcia continued the trend of Republicans in the sheriff’s office by defeating Democratic nominee Kimberly Beaty by a margin of 46-44%, with Independent Ted DiNoto of the Amherst police department taking 6% and Conservative candidate Karen Healy-Case taking 3%. On the Amherst side of things, incumbent Amherst town supervisor Brian J. Kupla (D) cruised to reelection, defeating Jay DiPasquale (R) by a margin of 57-43%. Despite Kulpa’s large win, Republicans managed to net +1 seat in the Amherst town council, defeating Democratic incumbent Jacqueline Burger by a narrow margin of 143 votes, making the Amherst town council a 4-1 Democratic majority

Annnnnnd that’s all. Hope I didn’t bore you too much with election results and data points. Thanks for reading not just my article but also checking out the entire East Newspaper. Tune in next week for the first installment of Will’s Wild Politics stuff where I will be writing a commentary on….This! More specifically, a more in-depth discussion of what I personally think this means for 2022, how it happened, and what Democrats need to do to fix it. And until Issue 5, I will have to be saying adios mis amigos.


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