Democrats on Tuesday flipped seats in state legislatures in New Hampshire and Oklahoma, while pushing a critical Mississippi race to a runoff election that will determine whether Republicans can maintain a supermajority in the state.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), the arm of the Democratic Party that works to elect members to statehouses, declared victory in a press release celebrating the wins. “The significance of tonight’s achievements by state Democrats cannot be understated,” Executive Director Jessica Post said in a statement. “These three seats were in red states carried by Trump in 2016. Our wins tonight send a clear message to Republicans everywhere that no matter how red the district is, you can’t hide from the shadow cast by the Trump administration–the American people will hold you accountable for dangerous and extremist Republican policies at the ballot box.”
The DLCC targeted the three seats as “spotlight races.” Last night’s wins mark the sixth seat Democrats have flipped this year in state legislature special elections, according to a DLCC statement.
No candidate in the Mississippi race secured a majority of votes, leaving Democrat Kathryn Rehner and Republican Missy McGee to advance to an October 3 runoff election for House District 102 . Unofficial election results published by the Hattiesburg American on Tuesday night reported McGee received 1,475 votes—around 45 percent—to Rehner’s 807.
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If Rehner prevails in the runoff, Democrats could eliminate Republicans’ veto-proof supermajority in the Mississippi house. Rehner, a 27-year-old community organizer and social worker, works as project director at the MS Health Access Collaborative, a group affiliated with the University of Southern Mississippi that seeks, according to its website, to “build sustainable access to health coverage for vulnerable and hard-to-reach citizens.”
Democrat Jacob Rosecrants won a decisive 60 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s race for Oklahoma’s House District 46, making it the third seat in the state legislature to flip from Republican to Democrat since President Trump was elected in November.
Rosecrants, a teacher, describes himself on his campaign site as a longtime “loud activist for public education.” His platform calls for prioritizing criminal justice reform, addressing Oklahoma’s budget shortfall, and opposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its legislative agenda.
“The existence of ALEC and the current Oklahoma legislators who support it are one of the main reasons I decided to run for office,” his site says.
Democrats picked up a legislative seat in New Hampshire, where Charlie St. Clair won his house race against Republican Steve Whalley. Tuesday’s special election was the first under the state’s latest voting restriction, SB 3, which “requires those registering to vote within 30 days of an election to provide documents to prove they live where they are casting ballots,” according to New Hampshire Public Radio. The law originally included a $5,000 fine for those who failed to comply, a provision blocked by a New Hampshire Superior Court judge early Tuesday.