RedEye’s 2021 mid midterms recap


Brennan Eberwine

The 2021 midterms were seen as an omen for Democrats in 2022. Graphic by Brennan Eberwine

Brennan Eberwine

On Tuesday, The first big elections since the 2020 presidential election occurred, setting the stage for the Midterms in 2022. Many on both sides of the aisle viewed these smaller races as an omen for the midterms coming up next. The two races watched most closely were the Virginia Gubernatorial Election and the New Jersey Gubernatorial Election. Despite both state’s statuses as solid blue states, both races came down to the wire.

Virginia’s Gubernatorial Election was between former governor and Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin. Campaigning came down to the wire but ultimately Youngkin won over McAuliffe by 2.5 percent. New Jersey’s gubernatorial race was between incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. This race was also tight with Murphy ultimately winning by about 2.4 percent. 

So why were these races so close? President Joe Biden won both of these states in the 2020 presidential election by double digits. There’s the usual finger pointing between establishment Democrats and progressives. Many are blaming McAuliffe for running a lackluster campaign compared to his opponent Youngkin, who stoked fires and mobilized his base by utilizing hot button issues such as the teaching of critical race theory in schools (for the record, critical race theory is not taught in schools.)

Many are also blaming Democrats for their inability to pass an agenda on the federal level for the loss of McAuliffe and the small margin of victory in Murphy’s race. The question many Democrats are now asking is: will the next midterm be a repeat of 2010? A crushing defeat where Democrats lost 6 seats in the Senate, 63 seats in the House of Representatives, and Republicans won 12 gubernatorial elections. The 2010 midterms deeply affected then President Barack Obama’s ability to push through an agenda. For now, Democrats are scrambling to pass Biden’s domestic agenda through Congress and get bills onto Biden’s desk so they can have a stronger case for the midterms.

However, there were other races in the mid midterms, including 6 major cities with Mayoral Elections. In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey won a second term even after the city was shaken by the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Minneapolis also put up a ballot measure asking if the Minneapolis police department should be replaced with a Public Safety Department, the measure was however defeated. 

In Detroit, popular incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan won a third term. Duggan is notable and popular thanks to leading Detroit through bankruptcy, and opponent Anthony Adams struggled to gain ground, resulting in a landslide victory for Duggan, with 75.6 percent of the vote.

New York City elected former police officer and Brooklyn borough President Eric Adams, who defeated Republican and beret-wearer Curtis Silwa. Eric Adams is also the second black mayor of New York City, the first in almost 30 years. 

Boston elected progressive Democrat Michelle Wu, the first woman and person of color directly elected to the office. She defeated Annissa Essaibi George, the moderate protege to former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Atlanta advanced it’s Mayoral election into a runoff between City Council President Felicia Moore and City Council Member Andre Dickens. Earlier in the race Former Mayor Kasim Reed also ran but didn’t advance to the runoff, most likely due to the multiple corruption charges against his administration. 

Finally Buffalo, New York had Democratic Socialist India B. Walton and incumbent mayor Byron W. Brown faced off. Although Walton defeated Brown in the democratic primary, Brown campaigned as a write-in in the general election and won reelection.

It’s difficult to tell a year out from 2022 if these mid midterms were the writing on the wall for Democrats in the midterms or what Democrats needed to mobilize their base and come back stronger next year. Republicans also have to do soul-searching to see if Trumpism is really a winning strategy or if younger, brighter, and better options are viable. As always, the nation and the parties are divided.