The Democrats have narrowly taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, a feat that was hard fought in several pivotal districts. In at least two races, African American candidates unseated Republican incumbents, helping the Democratic push.
In upstate New York, Schenectady native Antonio Delgado beat out Rep. John Faso to take the Hudson Valley’s 19th Congressional District seat the Times-Union reports. The candidates were in a dead heat for a while, but Delgado eventually pulled ahead.
Tuesday night, Delgado delivered an emotional speech and thanked supporters and his family.
“This is a new day for NY-19,” he said. “It is a new day built upon our shared values. Values I was raised with in upstate New York. Values that I learned when was raised in Schenectady, values I came across all across this district.”
Delgado now becomes the first black congressman to represent the district. Meanwhile, in Illinois, Lauren Underwood unseated Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren to take the state’s 14th Congressional District in suburban Chicago.
“Look at what we have done,” she said. “ … You stood up and declared that this community deserves better.” Underwood, a 32-year-old nurse, and former adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services won in a traditionally Republican-leaning area. Her ads noted that she has a heart condition that would not be covered in legislation that her opponent supported.
In all, there were 23 seats that stood between the Republicans and the Democrats control of the House. Republicans maintained control of the Senate with Democrats failing in major races in Missouri and Texas. News outlets are reporting the Florida Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson too close to call.
As many as 100 women will take seats in the House, including Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley who, running unopposed becomes the first black woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress.
Pressley, 44, who represents the 7th district, one of Massachusetts’ most diverse, has advocated for a progressive agenda, which includes abolishing ICE, increased mental health care services in schools and Medicare for all. She beat out 10-term Democrat Mike Capuano with 53 percent of the vote.
On Capitol Hill, she will join Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, replacing Rep. Keith Ellison who won his bid to become the state’s Attorney General; Jahana Hayes who becomes Connecticut’s first black woman Congressional representative.
Lucy McBath’s race against GOP incumbent Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District remained too close to call, according to news reports.
Stacey Abrams refuses to concede hotly contested Georgia governor race
As of Wednesday morning, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is still putting up a fight against her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp. She was trailing Kemp 48 to 51 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting. However, she delivered a powerful speech declaring she hasn’t counted herself out of the hotly contested race.
“I want to say this: if I wasn’t your first choice or if you made no choice at all, you’re gonna have a chance to do a do-over,” she said. “Votes remain to be counted, there are voices that remain to be heard…We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is within reach.”
The speech came shortly after Abrams’ campaign manager told the crowd at their watch party, “More than 3.7 million Georgians have cast a ballot which is 1.2 million more than 2014. The returns are coming in slowly. Nearly all of the outstanding votes that remain to be counted are from Democratic strongholds. We also know that there are tens of thousands of absentee ballots around the state, many of them we believe are Abrams voters and they have yet to be counted as well.”
If the Georgia race is not decided, it will head to a December run-off.
However, farther south in Florida, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum conceded defeat in an even closer race against Ron DeSantis, losing 4,052,118 to 3,996,679 — or just seven percentage points.
“I sincerely regret that I couldn’t bring it home for you,” said an emotional Gillum. “But I can guarantee you this. I’m not going anywhere. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep working.”
In Maryland, former NAACP head Ben Jealous lost his bid for the governorship there, giving Republican incumbent Larry Hogan his second term in the largely Democratic voting state.
Finally, a black Republican candidate is trying to hold on in Utah. Rep. Mia Love was seeking to fend off challenger Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County mayor, but ballots may take days to be counted and McAdams was leading 51.4 to 48.6 percent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.