By Johnny Trlica
Commentary: The mid-term elections are behind us and we have good news to report: No more political ads on TV! Well, yes, that is good news but it doesn’t compare to the news that our democratic system of checks and balances has been restored.
After the Republican-controlled Congress failed to perform its duties for the past two years, the blue wave swept Democrats into the House of Representatives where they will take control of all committees effective in January, and along with that subpoena power. After all the votes are finally tallied, it is expected the Dems will pick up as many as 40 seats.
All across America, red seats turned blue at every level of government in every state.
Here are some of the highlights of the election returns presented on the Houston Rainbow Herald’s Facebook page.
Close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades. Beto O’Rourke fired up Texas Democrats more than any candidate in decades but it still wasn’t enough to unseat incumbent Ted Cruz, reports TexasTribune.org. The Republican came in with 50.9 percent of the votes to O’Rourke’s 48.3 percent.
O’Rourke’s popularity is being credited with helping Democrats down ballot as many “safe” red seats found themselves turning blue. Win or lose, Beto is now being mentioned as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.
O’Rourke, hailed as the face of the progressive movement, took a little flak with his election night speech when he dropped an “F” bomb. “I’m so fucking proud of you guys. Everybody who worked on this campaign, every volunteer and ambassador, everyone who knocked on doors, everyone who made phone calls, everyone who allowed themselves to hope and believe, to be inspired by one another and to turn it into action and into votes,” O’Rourke said while addressing his supporters on national television.
Harris County was a major contributor to the GOP’s horrible, no good, very bad day. The blue wave swept every single elected Republican judge out of Harris County courtrooms, reports the Houston Chronicle.
With no elected Republicans left on Harris County benches, Paul Simpson, chairman of the Harris County GOP, released an expansive statement that said he was mad and determined. “I am mad. Mad at the avoidable losses wreaked across Texas by the Beto wave of straight-ticket votes. That straight-ticket wave turned Fort Bend County Democrat, defeated Republicans on appellate courts across Texas, elected Democrats across the state to Congress and the Legislature, and swept every countywide vote in Harris County,” Simpson said in the statement.
In Dallas, all eight of the positions that were on the ballot on the 5th District Court of Appeals flipped from Republican to Democratic hands, reports Dallas Morning News.
In Harris County, Ed Emmett failed in his bid for a third term as County Judge, losing to 27 year-old Democrat, Lina Hidalgo. In another stunner, LGBTQ ally Lizzie Pannill Fletcher sent 18-year incumbent John Culberson packing as she rode the blue wave to victory in Texas District 7 for the U.S. House. It is the first time in 50 years that a Democrat will represent that district in Washington D.C.
How can anyone forget Kim Davis? You know her — the bible-thumping, four-times married county clerk who became a right wing heroine when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
She went to jail for refusing to do her job and follow the law, becoming a martyr to the Christian fanatics and drawing the attention of Mike Huckabee who famously escorted her out of jail upon her release.
Kim Davis is out of a job now, losing to Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. by about 700 votes in Rowan County, Kentucky, reports the New York Times.
In addition to a blue wave sweeping the mid terms, 2018 saw a record number of LGBTQ people elected to public office. Here are a few that were reported by HuffingtonPost.com:
Jared Polis became the first openly gay man elected governor of a state, Colorado. The bakers that made news earlier this year for refusing to make a cake for a same sex wedding now have a gay governor.
Sharice Davids will become the first LGBTQ person and Native American to represent Kansas in Congress. Yes, Toto, we said Kansas.
In New Hampshire, Democrat Chris Pappas edged out his Republican challenger and will represent the 1st Congressional District, becoming the state’s first openly gay member of Congress. “Voters in New Hampshire and all across the country are delivering a strong message,” Pappas said in his victory speech. “When America is faced with a challenge, we don’t give up. We don’t give into fear or anger. We persevere.”
Lesbian Angie Craig defeated an anti-gay incumbent congressman in Minnesota, and becomes the first openly gay person elected to Congress from the state.
And in a feel-good story, Zach Wahls, who defended his two lesbian moms before the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011, becomes a state lawmaker himself, winning a seat in the state Senate.