Democrats lean into 2019 victories to build case for 2020

Simone Pathé, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- The day after a Democrat declared victory in the Kentucky governor's race and Virginia voters gave full control of state government to the party's legislative candidates, national Democrats were eager to spin those victories as a sign of good things to come in 2020.

But the reality in some places, especially longtime red areas, is more complicated.

And while the party interpreted Tuesday's victories as a sign that their messaging, especially on issues like health care, is working, it's yet to be seen how Democrats will compete at the national level in 2020 with the House's impeachment inquiry providing a controversial backdrop.


Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez painted Tuesday night's wins as the latest triumph in a series of down-ballot successes that began with Democratic victories in New Jersey and Virginia in 2017.

"A month later, Doug Jones' victory in Alabama taught us we could win everywhere," Perez said at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning. He went on to tout Democrats' historic gains in the House in 2018 "even in the headwinds of gerrymandering."


The Associated Press hasn't called Kentucky governor's race yet, and GOP Gov. Matt Bevin hasn't conceded. Attorney General Andy Beshear led Bevin by less than half a percentage point Wednesday.

"Yesterday's victory was a victory for all Democrats," Perez said.

Democrats across the country Wednesday tried to claim a part of the victories. A barrage of fundraising emails from down-ballot candidates in states far away from Virginia and Kentucky told supporters that Tuesday night's results were a sign that they, too, could flip Republican seats in 2020.

In Kentucky, Democrat Amy McGrath, who's challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020, sent out a fundraising email soon after Beshear declared victory: "All I have to say is: Mitch you're next."


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