Even as the final presidential election result shapes up to be more of a landslide than thought on election night (a 305-232 electoral count for Joe Biden remains a strong possibility at the time of this writing), many Democrats are concerned that this election was not a strong enough repudiation of Donald Trump and those who enable him, as evidenced by a closely split U.S. Senate, and a handful of Republican gains in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. We looked at the senate races in southern states yesterday, so today, we’ll examine the most competitive House races across the South, where the results were a mixed bag for progressive politics.
We’ll start with the losses.
South Carolina District 1 (Myrtle Beach/Charleston): Incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham, who took the seat in a conservative district two years ago as part of the 2018 blue wave, lost to Republican challenger Nancy Mace.
Texas District 21 (San Antonio/Austin): Incumbent Republican Chip Roy held off former state senator Wendy Davis by seven points.
Texas District 22 (Fort Bend): Republican Troy Nehls defeated diplomat Sri Kulkarni by seven points.
Texas District 24 (Carrolton): This race has not yet been called, and both candidates are anticipating victory. But, as of this writing, Republican Beth Van Duyne leads Democrat Candace Valenzuela by a razor-thin margin.
Oklahoma District 5 (Oklahoma City): Incumbent Democrat Kendra Horn, another product of the 2018 blue wave, lost her re-election campaign to state senator Stephanie Bice by four points.
And now, for the important victories.
Georgia District 6 (Roswell/Marietta): Eight years ago, Republicans dominated this district by twenty-nine points. Two years ago, gun control activist Lucy McBath won the seat from Republican Karen Handel by a single point. This election, she defeated Handel in a rematch by ten points. The future looks very bright for District 6.
Georgia District 7 (Peachtree Corners): Carolyn Bourdeaux, a public policy professor at Georgia State University, defeated Republican Rich McCormick to take a congressional seat that has been controlled by Republicans since 1995.
Virginia District 2 (Virginia Beach): Incumbent Elaine Luria, another product of the blue wave two years ago, defeated her successor, Republican Scott Taylor, by four points in a rematch of the 2018 election.
Virginia District 7 (Piedmont): In a race that is still being contested as of this writing, incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger leads her Republican challenger, Nick Freitas, by a single point. Spanberger’s lead is expected to hold, which will be a huge victory: When Spanberger won the district during the 2018 blue wave, she became the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1971.
So, the South tallied five losses and four wins in its most important House races. Overall, this can be seen as a victory for progressive politics, as the southern strategy slowly chips away. In another four years, Georgia (where, as of this writing, Joe Biden leads by about 1,600 votes) may be on par with Michigan in terms of liberal support, while North Carolina could be as progressive as Georgia is this year, and Texas may be as progressive as North Carolina is this year.
All progressive Southerners should hold their heads high as the South continues to rise.