In it, but not of it. TPM DC

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump unveiled his pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, which has been leaderless since Secretary Tom Price resigned in late September over his use of private jets on the taxpayer’s dime.

The nominee is Alex Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., who worked at HHS under President George W. Bush.

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A number of top Alabama Republicans were quick to defend Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) following allegations that he’d sought sexual relationships with multiple teenagers — and quick to attack Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for throwing Moore under the bus.

McConnell said Moore “must step aside” if the Washington Post’s story was true that Moore, then 32, initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979. It was a line echoed by most senators.

That infuriated a number of Republicans back in Alabama, many of whom defended Moore’s character and suggested the women were likely lying.

“I think it’s just a bunch of bull,” Perry Hooper Jr., President Trump’s Alabama state chairman, told TPM. “Mitch McConnell should know better to make a statement like he made unless he gets all the answers. We’re right in the political zone right now, the election’s December 12th. This is the same campaign issue the left ran against Donald Trump on, they’re doing the same thing against Roy Moore.”

Hooper, who’d backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) over Moore in the primary, called the allegations “ludicrous” and “gutter politics” unless they could be proven.

“The same thing went on when President Trump ran for office, there was about 15 ladies who ran to the press and said the same thing,” he said.

When asked how the claims could be proven, he suggested the woman take a polygraph.

“Maybe she just needs to take a polygraph test. And the people who are pushing her, they need to take the same test too to see if they’re telling the truth,” he said.

Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry (R), Trump’s other Alabama campaign co-chairman, was even harsher.

“I believe it is very opportunistic and they are just looking for their chance to get on some liberal talk show. I’m sure they’ve probably been offered money by entities that surround the Clintons and that side of the world. We know they will pay to dirty anyone’s name that’s in their way. If you believe for a second that any of these are true then shame on these women for not coming forward in the last 30 years, it’s not like this guy hasn’t been in the limelight for decades. I call B.S. myself. I think it’s all lies and fabrication,” Henry told TPM.

When asked about McConnell’s comments, he erupted.

“Mitch McConnell, and you can quote me on this, is a dumbass, a coward, a liar himself and exactly what’s wrong with Washington, D.C. He would love for Roy Moore not to be in Washington, he’d much rather have a Democrat. Mitch McConnell is scum,” he said, putting the chances at “zero” that the state party would un-endorse Moore.

And he said he’d need photographic evidence to believe the women.

“They got some pictures? That’ll do,” he said. “You can’t sit on something like this for thirty-something years with a man as in the spotlight as Roy Moore and all of a sudden three weeks before a senatorial primary all of a sudden these three or four women are going to talk about something in 1979? I call bull. It’s as fabricated as the day is long.”

Moore is vehemently denying the charges. And while Republicans could pull the plug on his campaign by un-endorsing him and backing a write-in campaign, as long as the state Republican Party stands by him, he’ll remain the GOP candidate.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) also dismissed the allegations.

“These allegations have been made against Judge Moore but at this time that’s all they are, they’re allegations. I know Judge Moore to be a man of integrity and character,” he told TPM. “It’s very interesting to me and very odd that these charges have just now been introduced… People will say and do anything, and you and I both know they will.”

And he wasn’t thrilled with McConnell’s comment.

“It’s always interesting to me when people comment on things before all the facts are available for people to evaluate. I try not to make a rash decision or rash comments about topics that I don’t have all the facts on and I don’t have all the facts on this and I don’t know if Sen. McConnell has all the facts or not,” he said.

They’re not the only ones defending Moore. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said even if the report was true, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Ziegler went even further while talking to the Washington Examiner.

“There is nothing to see here,” he said. “The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said Moore “wouldn’t belong in the Senate” if the allegations were true, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has so far refused to endorse Moore. But few other Alabama Republicans look ready to break with Moore immediately over the allegations — and if the state GOP refuses to abandon him, he’s likely to stay the GOP nominee and still have a real shot at the U.S. Senate.

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Senate Republican leaders were quick to distance themselves from Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) after allegations emerged that he’d sought relationships with multiple teenage women, saying if the accusations are true he must drop out of his Senate race.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement Thursday afternoon, shortly after a bombshell Washington Post report in which a number of women accused Moore of coming onto them when they were teenagers — including a 14-year-old girl who said he initiated a sexual encounter.

“If it is true, I don’t think his candidacy is sustainable, but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters. “It’s not just an allegation, it’s a story. There has to be something more to it so I’m interested in seeing what substantiation there is for the story.”

Those statements from Cornyn and McConnell offer Moore plenty of wiggle room, as he’s vociferously denying the allegations while calling the Washington Post liars.

“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” Moore’s campaign said in a Thursday afternoon statement.

Most other Republican senators took the same “if true” stance as McConnell as the news trickled out.

“If that’s true, then he wouldn’t belong in the Senate,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told reporters shortly after the news broke.

“If the allegations are true, yes, I think he should step aside,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told reporters shortly after the news broke. “It’s very troubling. If the story’s true, I would hope that he would do the right thing and step aside.”

One exception: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

According to Alabama law, Moore cannot be removed from the ballot — but if the state Republican Party pulls its endorsement, votes for him won’t count and it can run a write-in candidate. There was buzz around Capitol Hill in the immediate aftermath of the explosive report that’s the path Republicans might pursue.

Moore has had a large but not insurmountable lead in most polls against Democrat Doug Jones in deep red Alabama ahead of the Dec. 12 election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat.

But Moore has so far been fiercely defiant, and doesn’t seem likely to listen to GOP leaders who’d endorsed his primary opponent and spent millions to defeat him.

His campaign has so far shown no signs of being ready to quit.

“Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake,” Moore’s campaign said in a statement. “National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last ditch Hail Mary.”


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President Trump has repeatedly declared the Affordable Care Act “dead” and his administration has done nearly everything possible to make it so. Yet the first enrollment numbers released Thursday by the Department of Human Services show the program very much alive.

According to HHS, more than 600,000 people signed up for a health care plan in the first four days of open enrollment, beginning on Nov. 1. Last year, under an administration pulling out all the stops to promote enrollment, just over 415,000 signed up in the first five days. Importantly, nearly a quarter of this year’s signups are from new enrollees who did not previously have a health care plan on Obamacare’s individual market.

For experts who predicted signups would crater this year thanks to the Trump administration gutting the budget for outreach and enrollment assistance, the rosy early numbers are a surprise, but they cautioned that anything could happen by the Dec. 15 deadline.

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House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announced on Thursday morning that he will retire at the end of his term, leaving yet another Republican House seat open in the 2018 midterm elections.

Goodlatte is one of several powerful Republican members of Congress to call it quits ahead of 2018, and his announcement comes two days after Democrats trounced Republicans Tuesday night in several races for state office. Democrats won the governor’s mansion in Virginia, as well the lieutenant governor and attorney general race, and they made significant pickups in the state legislature, prompting some Virginia Republicans to worry about the future of the party in their state.

The congressman said that since his term as chair of the Judiciary Committee will expire in 2018, it’s a good time for him to retire.

“With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters,” he said in a statement.

House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), a former Judiciary chair, announced last week that he will retire at the end of 2018, also citing the end of his chairmanship as a factor in his decision. House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), another powerful member, also recently announced that he will retire at the end of his term.

Several Republican members of Congress have also cited the state of the GOP and politics at large when announcing their retirements, including Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Though some Republicans, such as LoBiondo, merely mentioned political polarization when announcing their retirements, Flake and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tore into Trump after they decided to ditch Congress.

In a speech announcing his retirement, Flake bashed the “coarseness of our leadership” and the “regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.” Corker has let loose on Trump since announcing he won’t seek re-election, calling the White House an “adult daycare center” and warning that the President could put the U.S. “on the path to World War III.”

Read Goodlatte’s full statement:

When I first decided to run for Congress there were several things I wanted to achieve for the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation. I had a strong passion for public service, a love of the law and the judicial system, and a deep appreciation for the people who call western and central Virginia home. These passions led me to serve on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees throughout my time in the House, and have shaped my work on policies impacting the American people. I’ve had the privilege to serve as Chairman of both of these committees, and I’ve been proud to work on policies that have become law and advance fiscal conservatism, personal liberty, economic growth, and limited government.

For the past 25 years, it has been my honor to represent the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. I cannot begin to express how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to serve and take part in the great experiment of self-government envisioned by our Founders. It has been a labor of love to work countless hours and travel endless miles on the roads of our District for a quarter of a century.

Every two years, Maryellen and I sat down to discuss whether to run again or not. When we discussed the 2018 election, the conversation ended a little differently than in past years. After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District. I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters.

While I’m not running for re-election, my work in the 115th Congress is far from done. There is much that I hope we can accomplish in the next year, including: bolstering enforcement of our immigration laws and reforming the legal immigration system, simplifying the tax code in order to stimulate job growth and benefit families in the Sixth District, enacting criminal justice reform, repealing Obamacare, advancing protections of the freedoms and liberties enshrined in our Constitution, and, of course, continuing first-class constituent service for the citizens of the Sixth District. I look forward to working with the House Leadership, the Senate, and President Trump in bringing real conservative change to our country.

I extend my deepest thanks to the people of Virginia’s Sixth District who have placed their trust in me. It is truly you who are the highlight of my time in elected office. I’ve had the good fortune of having an amazing staff team during my time in Congress – both in my Sixth District offices as well as in the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. They’ve done excellent work, and I greatly value their commitment to serving the Sixth District and the American people. I’d also like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work over the years. I genuinely appreciate your friendship and support. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Maryellen, and our children, Bobby, Jen, and Jen’s husband, Matt. They have my enduring love and gratitude.

I look forward to what the next chapter brings.

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Republicans’ suburban decimation at the polls Tuesday has vulnerable House members increasingly on edge — and it’s likely to make the GOP’s uphill struggle for a big tax bill even harder to achieve.

Democrats shellacked Republicans in elections across the nation on Tuesday, but the GOP’s worst losses by far came in suburbs from Virginia to New York to Washington — the types of places that will be hardest hit by Republicans’ initial tax redistribution proposals.

“The election results are sending a clear signal that middle-class issues like SALT [state and local tax deductions] are going right to the heart of the Trump voter,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told TPM.

To me it’s about the most obvious message you can get. I just hope people listen,” he said, imploring GOP leaders to rethink the contours of the tax bill. “It’s just common sense. These aren’t [just] tough votes, they’re votes that go right against our constituents.”

GOP leaders will need support from Republicans from suburban districts like King’s to pass changes to tax laws through the House — and any members who vote in favor of it are writing Democrats’ attack ads for them.

That puts both suburban Republicans and GOP leaders in a tough spot.

Republicans argue — likely correctly — that if they don’t get tax reform done, their base will be further depressed and (more importantly) deep-pocketed donors will close their wallets, further damaging their chances at holding the House.

If we don’t pass our tax reform bill, if we don’t get this on the president’s desk, our base is going to be less likely to come out,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a close ally of President Trump’s, told TPM. “We really need to deliver this. Nancy Pelosi summed it up when she said ‘if Republicans don’t pass this bill we’re going to flip the House.'”

But that doesn’t make it any more palatable for suburban Republicans who’d likely be voting to raise many of their constituents’ taxes — and hurting their own job security.

House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black (R-TN), a key player on tax reform, told TPM not to over-read Tuesday’s results.

This is one election night, and there are a lot of different factors that effect any election night,” she said, arguing that tax reform is a political must-pass for her conference.

We’ve promised the American people that we’re going to reform the tax code, and I think we need to reform the tax code,” she continued. “We have got to come through with what we’ve promised people.”

King isn’t the only suburban Republican from a district with a higher cost of living and higher local taxes who is deeply skeptical of the bill — and who thinks the GOP losses should serve as a warning sign a day after college-educated voters abandoned the party in droves and huge turnout from fast-growing minority communities and millennials handed Democrats huge wins from coast to coast.

Many suburban Republicans from higher-tax states have been critical of the House GOP’s tax reform plan, which eliminates a number of provisions like the state and local tax deductions and student loan interest tax deduction that help their constituents in disproportionate numbers.

Those deductions are relied upon by middle- and upper-middle-class suburban voters in states like California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Minnesota. Studies show those voters would likely see their taxes go up in future years to pay for the big corporate tax cut Republicans are pushing through.

Republicans facing potentially tough races that have a high number of people reliant on the SALT deductions include Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN). Near the top of the list: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), whose district was carried by Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam (D) by a double-digit margin on Tuesday.

Democrats warned their GOP brethren of what will befall them if they back the plan.

“If you continue to try and eliminate the state and local deduction you are going to kill suburban legislators who are already in trouble because the suburbs don’t seem to like Donald Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday. “We say to our Republican friends on this tax bill, as Clinton Eastwood said, You want to pass this tax bill? You want to hurt the suburbs? Make our day.”

According to the Tax Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank, Republicans hold nine of the 20 districts with the most people reliant on SALT deductions, and seven of those who’d be hardest hit by the percentage of their income. That includes a number of swing districts like Comstock’s, which is fourth on that list and where more than half of her constituents claim SALT deductions.

Plenty of other suburban districts with vulnerable members could be hard-hit as well.

Rep. Darrel Issa’s (R-CA), who won a nail-biter of an election last year and is facing another tough challenge, told TPM he wasn’t thrilled with the bill and wasn’t “currently willing to support” it. Nearly half of his constituents claim the SALT deduction, according to a study from the Government Finance Officers Association.

If we had stuck just to things that generated economic growth and left all the other so-called reforms out we’d have a cleaner bill that’d be easier to pass,” he said. “Once we got into telling people how much we were going to cut their taxes we got into a question of how we’re going to pay for it, and we’re paying for it by raising other people’s taxes, and it happens that it is not evenly distributed by state.”

And King says that’s a good reason that a number of his suburban brethren would be forced to vote against the bill if major changes aren’t made.

“It’s one thing to take a courageous vote if it’s for a good cause. To take a vote that’s going to damage your own constituents makes no sense,” he said. “To me, it’s not tax reform — it’s just a tax increase.”

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Democrats dominated elections across the country Tuesday night, and health care was a major issue on the ballot both explicitly and implicitly.

Voters in Maine overwhelmingly backed a measure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to more than 80,000 state residents, voters in Virginia’s blue wave named health care as their top issue, and pro-Obamacare candidates won on the state and local level from New Jersey to Georgia.

But on Capitol Hill, most Republican lawmakers told TPM they don’t plan to change course on health care, and will continue working to repeal the Medicaid expansion and the entirety of the ACA. Despite polls showing that more Americans approve of Obamacare than at any time since its implementation, and the vast majority disapprove of Republican bills to repeal it, GOP members said the message they got from Tuesday’s elections was that their failure to deliver “results” is what is hurting Republicans, not their repeated attempts to gut the ACA.

Democrats, meanwhile, say the GOP’s health care agenda is guaranteeing its own electoral doom in 2018.

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Diverse Democratic candidates scored wins on Tuesday night in cities and states across the country, with female, transgender, and minority candidates making history by winning public office.

Take a look at some of the Democrats who made history Tuesday night with their election victories:

Danica Roem

Democrat Danica Roem (pictured above) became one of the first openly transgender women to win public office when she unseated incumbent Virginia Republican state Del. Robert Marshall, who drafted a “bathroom bill” in the state.

Roem will be the first person to campaign as an openly transgender person to take a seat in a statehouse. Stacie Laughton was the first openly transgender woman to win a seat on a state legislature in a 2012 New Hampshire race, but she never took office. Althea Garrison, a transgender woman served a term in the Massachusetts state legislature but did not run as an openly transgender person.

“To every person who has ever been singled out, who has ever been stigmatized, who has ever been the misfit, who has ever been the kid in the corner, who has ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own,” Roem told supporters Tuesday night. “This is for you.”

Joyce Craig


Democrat Joyce Craig became the first female mayor of Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, when she defeated incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas. Manchester saw its largest election turnout this decade, helping propel Craig to victory, according the Union Leader.

Vi Lyles

Charlotte, North Carolina elected Vi Lyles mayor on Tuesday, making her the first female African-American mayor of the city. The Democrat defeated Republican Kenny Smith by more than 15 points, according to unofficial returns.

“With this opportunity you’ve given me, you’ve proven that we are a city of opportunity and inclusiveness,” Lyles said Tuesday night, according to the Charlotte Observer. “You’ve proven that a woman whose father didn’t graduate from high school can become this city’s first female African-American mayor.”

Andrea Jenkins

Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • - November 2, 2017, Minneapolis, MN - Third Ward city council race -
Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. CARLOS GONZALEZ •

Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender black woman to win public office on Tuesday when she won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council.

Jenny Durkan

Seattle voters on Tuesday night elected the city’s first openly lesbian woman to be the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkan. The Democrat is also the first woman to serve as Seattle mayor since 1926.

Justin Fairfax

Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justine Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Democrat Justin Fairfax became the second African-American man to win statewide office in Virginia when he won the lieutenant governor race. Former Gov. Doug Wilder was the first African-American to hold statewide office in Virginia.

Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia also elected its first two Latina state delegates when Democrats Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman won their elections.

Sheila Oliver

New Jersey voters elected their first female African-American lieutenant governor Tuesday night, Sheila Oliver. The Democrat was also the first black woman to serve as the New Jersey state assembly speaker.

“This may not be the first glass ceiling I have broken, but it is certainly the highest,” Oliver said Tuesday night, according to the Huffington Post. “And I hope somewhere in this great state of New Jersey, a young girl of color is watching tonight and realizing that she does not have a limit to how high she can go.”

Tyler Titus

Pennsylvania elected its first openly transgender person to public office when Tyler Titus won a seat on the Erie School Board.

Ravi Bhalla

Hoboken, New Jersey elected its first Sikh mayor Tuesday night, Ravi Bhalla. He is one of the first Sikhs to win a mayoral race in the U.S., following in the footsteps of former Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja.

Bhalla faced racist flyers in the last days of the campaign that read, “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.”

Wilmot Collins

Wilmot Collins became Montana’s first black mayor when he won the mayoral race in Helena Tuesday night. Collins came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee from Liberia and now works for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Melvin Carter

St. Paul, Minnesota, elected its first black mayor Tuesday night, Melvin Carter.

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Maine voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to become the first state in the nation to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative, approving the measure by a nearly 20-point margin. But Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a vehement opponent of Medicaid who has vetoed expansion bills five times since the Affordable Care Act became law, is threatening once again to block more than 80,000 low-income Mainers from gaining access to government health insurance.

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After coast-to-coast victories Tuesday and a romp in a key swing state, Democrats smell blood in the water for a 2018 election that could deal a body blow to President Donald Trump and the GOP.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) blowout victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial race — the biggest election since Trump’s victory one year ago today — was the capstone of an impressive night that showed Democrats’ burning hot hatred of Trump can translate into sweeping electoral victories across the country.

“It was a rejection of Donald Trump and his bigoted, hateful and divisive rhetoric,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) told reporters Tuesday night. “All Republicans are in trouble. Look at the sweep.”

He paused when TPM asked if he thought Democrats had a shot at retaking the U.S. Senate next year. Democrats haven’t seriously considered that possibility before last night, as they’re defending 10 seats in states Trump won.

“Now I do,” he said. “I think this changes the whole dynamic of electoral politics.”

Northam defeated former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie by 9 points — a far larger spread than even the most optimistic Democrats predicted, more than the five-point win Hillary Clinton managed in the state and the widest margin for any Democratic gubernatorial candidate in decades.

His sweeping win was coupled with a Democratic sweep of statewide offices and huge gains by Democrats in the statehouse no one thought possible that have put the House of Delegates teetering on the edge of their control. Democrats have picked up at least 15 seats in the chamber, double the number most of them thought likely, and turned a two-to-one GOP edge in the chamber into a virtual tie. Control of the chamber hangs in the balance, with recounts still pending in some races.

But Virginia wasn’t the only state where Democrats were crushing their foes. The party won a state Senate seat in Washington long held by the GOP, giving them an edge in the chamber and unified control of the state government. New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) beat his GOP opponent by double digits, flipping a gubernatorial seat to his party. Democrats won a mayoral race in Manchester, N.H., for the first time in more than a decade, won a statewide referendum in Maine to expand Medicaid, and picked up two deep red state senate seats in Georgia long held by Republicans. They also beat a Trump-aligned county executive in Westchester County, N.Y.

“You have sent a message across the globe to South Korea: Donald Trump, you don’t stand for our values! The America that Donald Trump comes back to in a few days is far different than the America he left. It’s an America where we are regaining our values,” an ebullient Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez declared from the stage at Northam’s victory rally.

Republicans are as alarmed as Democrats are delighted after a bruising election night in which Republicans got swept.

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck told TPM Tuesday night that he was still getting his head around the GOP’s shellacking in the state.

“Six months is an eternity in politics, but boy, we’ve got a lot of work to do in Virginia,” he said. “It’s looking like the urban areas are just a huge problem for us and I don’t know what the answer is yet.”

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) agreed, saying Trump and the Trump-like ads from Gillespie helped drive the results.

“Last night was a referendum. I don’t think there’s any way you can look at it any different way, to be honest with you,” he said on CNN Wednesday morning.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said he wasn’t surprised Northam won, but the lopsided numbers worried him.

“What surprised me was the margin — Gillespie got crushed in suburbs and with millennials,” he said. “Democrats are fired up and Republicans are facing some tough headwinds and how they try to hold on to House will vary from district to district.”

As Republicans fret, Democrats are gleefully looking ahead to next year.

“Based on the rejection we saw from voters tonight, one things is clear about President Trump for Republicans in 2018,” Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson told TPM after midnight early Wednesday morning. “Can’t live with him and can’t live without him.”

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