Safiya Khalid becomes the first Somali American elected to the Lewiston City Council in Maine.
If you were looking for a bellwether for the 2020 Presidential Elections from the results of Tuesday night’s elections, whether or not you found one depended on where you looked and what side of the vote you were on.
While mainstream media focuses on signs that President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans are in trouble as 2020 approaches, you need look no further than Virginia, where for the first time in 25 years, Democrats took over both houses of the state legislature, and Kentucky, where a Trump rally wasn’t enough to keep incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin from trailing his Democratic challenger Andy Beshear by nearly 5,200 votes with 100 percent of the precincts in the Commonwealth reporting. Perhaps an even more tell-tale sign, however, is the election of Ghazala Hashmi, a Democrat who unseated Republican Glen Sturtevant, Jr. to become the first Muslim woman elected to that state’s senate.
Hashmi isn’t the only woman of color to have made history Tuesday night.
Virginia’s new Democratic majority also included a second term as chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for Phyllis J. Randall, who bested Republican John C.Whitbeck to maintain her seat.
Tucson, Arizona elected Regina Romero its first female and first Latina mayor.
Safiya Khalid became the first Somali American elected to the city council in Lewiston, Maine.
Rochelle Bilal becomes Philadelphia’s first woman sheriff.
Rochelle Bilal became Philadelphia’s first female sheriff. She replaces incumbent Jewell Williams who leaves the role under a cloud of sexual harassment accusations.
And Kendra Brooks, who ran under the banner of the Working Families Party, became the first third-party candidate to win one of the two City Council At-Large seats designated by the City’s Home Rule Charter for “minority parties” defeating Republican Al Taubenberger.
Election night was not without a few apparent setbacks for Democrats and people of color, however.
While Philadelphians made history, Pennsylvanians on the other side of the state turned back history when voters pushed out Myneca Ojo as Mayor of Hanover Borough. Ojo — who made history in October 2018 when she was sworn in as the borough’s first African American mayor and was only the second woman to serve in the post and the first Democrat since 1960 to hold the office — was defeated by Republican Sue Ann Whitman, a self-employed landscape designer from Ojo’s ward who campaigned as a write-in and got some traction due to the borough’s sizable Republican voter registration edge.
While Pennsylvania voters in and around Philadelphia broke barriers, voters on the other side of the state turned back history. Myneca Ojo, who was appointed mayor of Hanover Borough, lost her bid to keep the job in Tuesday’s election.
In the end, it was that edge that gave Whitman the race, Ojo said.
“I knew it was going to be an uphill race,” she said. “It was about what I expected. I had a good turnout and a lot of support. It just wasn’t enough.”
She was part of a group of Black women called the Sisters on the Fairway who made national headlines a year ago for being asked to leave a golf club near Hanover for playing too slowly.
Two of the other women on that golf outing —- Sandra Harrison and Sandra Thompson —- were also on the ballot in Pennsylvania’s elections Tuesday night. At press time, Harrison was losing her bid for York County Prothonotary to Republican Alison Blew and Thompson was losing her race for York County Common Pleas Court judge to Republican Matthew Menges.
The count was delayed due to an injunction filed by York County Republicans due to problems with the county’s new voting machines.
Other losses include:
Sheila Bynum-Coleman lost her bid to unseat Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox. In a statement issued via Twitter, Bynum-Coleman thanked her supporters and applauded the upcoming changes in Virginia.
In Kansas City, Missouri, voters removed Martin Luther King Jr.’s name from a historic street.
Flint, Michigan lost its black woman mayor. Sheldon Neeley will replace Karen Weaver at City Hall.
Daniel Cameron, a black Republican and Trump supporter, who lodged disparaging attacks against Mexican immigrants, became Kentucky’s first black attorney general.