I want to talk about a local election that’s an interesting reflection of the change we’re seeing in blue states. It’s my New York State Senate seat, District 55. The Republican holding the seat is your average white man, Rich Funke, who retired rather than face the living hell of being in the minority now that the NY Senate is majority Democrat. Funke is anti-choice and a bit of a tool, but he’s popular due to being a former TV sportscaster. This is a very white (77%) suburban district and Funke won in 2018 52/48 against a good candidate, Jen Lunsford. In 2016 he ran unopposed, and in 2014 he soundly beat the Democratic incumbent, Ted O’Brien (59/41).
After Funke’s retirement, the Republican party ran a 39 year-old male, white lawyer and Army vet, and the Democrats ran Samra Brouk, a 34 year-old black woman whose previous qualifications include doing fundraising for a non-profit. I listened to a debate between the two and she’s razor sharp and quite progressive. Still, I was doubting that she could win a district that recently rejected a couple of good Democrats.
I was wrong: it was 52/48 Brouk, a result that I would not have predicted even in my more optimistic moments.
I would chalk this one up to suburban moms, just as I’ve chalked up other recent Democratic wins in my town, which was formerly a Republican stronghold for the town, county and state legislative offices (even though it consistently voted for Democratic federal and statewide candidates.) Trump has turned the letter “R” after someone’s name in any election into a poison pill, and those moms have a solid turnout operation.
I’ll also add that Brouk won despite some of the most ugly, racist TV ads I’ve seen in a long time. They showed pictures from some rioting in Rochester side-by-side with her face and basically insinuated that she supported the riots. These ads, like most New York Republican ratfucking, aired a few days before the election and have disappeared from sight.
Here’s a thread to report on local races in your area.