Yesterday’s elections provided a mixed bag of results. In the special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, the result was pretty much a tie with the Republican Troy Balderson holding such a small lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor that the result has not yet been called. The margin is about 1, 750 votes in his favor, out of a total of over 200,000. I expect him to win, since it is rare that absentee and provisional ballots overcome a deficit in the regular votes. But this election was to fill the seat for just the next three months, until the general election in November, so it was a race without much practical significance. The symbolic factor is that Republicans should be worried that they had to work so hard to hold on to what has long been a very secure seat for them.
In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer won comfortably over the more progressive Abdul El-Sayed for the Democratic nomination for governor. The faux-progressive Shri Thanedar came in third.
In Kansas, progressive Brent Welder fell short of winning the Democratic nomination for the 3rd district, while fellow progressive James Thompson won the nomination easily for the 4th district. The Republican race for the nomination for governor is being closely watched because the Trump-backed extremist Kris Kobach holds a slim lead over incumbent governor Jeff Colyer and that result is also too close to call.
One of the best results of last night is that Wesley Bell unseated 28-year incumbent Robert McCulloch for county prosecutor in St. Louis county.. This was the prosecutor who brought no charges in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson four years ago. McCulloch had rarely faced any challenge in his previous runs for the office.
A seven-term prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County who gained national attention in his handling of the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson lost a primary challenge Tuesday to a black Ferguson councilman, according to unofficial results.
With the vote counted from all precincts, the county reported Wesley Bell with a 57 percent to 43 percent victory over 67-year-old Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. No Republicans were on the ballot, making Bell all but certain to win in November.
Bell, 43, is an attorney and former municipal judge and prosecutor. He was elected councilman in 2015 as protests continued to rage over Brown’s death.
Bell is in the mold of Larrry Krasner in Philadelphia and promises to reform the prosecutor’s office, investigate police abuses, and do away with things like cash bail that results in so many poor people ending up in jail without conviction or even a trial simply because they don’t have money for bail.
Ryan Grim, David Dayen, and Zaid Jilani have more analysis. about progressive wins and disappointments.
I hope the examples of Krasner and Bell lead to more challenges to the post of prosecutors, an office that is so important and yet so ignored that it has for the longest time been unrepresentative of the community or responsive to its needs.
Donald Trump will, of course, claim that last night was a big victory for him personally since he held a rally in favor of Balderson and endorsed Kobach. Although they have not been declared winners as yet, he will say that without his support they would have lost.