fb-pixel Skip to main content
Political Notebook

Youngkin’s Va. governor win continues streak of presidential opposition

Glenn Youngkin, governor-elect of Virginia, arrived to speak during an election night event in Chantilly, Va., on Wednesday.Al Drago/Bloomberg

With Republican Glenn Youngkin’s win on Tuesday, President Biden became the eighth consecutive new US president to see a member of the opposition party prevail in the gubernatorial race in Virginia.

The streak began in 1977 when Republican John N. Dalton was elected governor of Virginia during Democrat Jimmy Carter’s first year in the White House.

Subsequently, the same dynamic played out in the first year of the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Democrat Ralph Northam was elected in 2017, the first year of Trump’s presidency.

During that stretch, members of the president’s party in Virginia have only won when their party’s president was serving a second term. Democrat Terry McAuliffe won Virginia’s governorship in 2013, the first year of Obama’s second term.


Washington Post

St. Petersburg elects first Black mayor Ken Welch

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Thirty years ago, Ken Welch’s father sought unsuccessfully to become the first Black mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla. Welch wore his dad’s campaign button Tuesday when he claimed a resounding victory for the top office in the once-segregated city.

Welch recognized his milestone in a speech to supporters after easily defeating Republican Robert Blackmon in a city that is almost 70 percent white. But he said his victory is only the beginning.

“For me, making history without making a positive impact is an empty achievement,” Welch said. “Our election victory must be followed by a purposeful agenda of accountability and intentional equity for our entire community.”

Beneath its sunny exterior and tourist-friendly beaches, the St. Petersburg area has a troubled history of segregation, including racial unrest in 1996 after police fatally shot an unarmed Black man during a traffic stop.

The victory party Tuesday was held at the Woodson African American Museum of Florida, which commemorates events in St. Petersburg’s racial history, such as the ultimately successful 1958 effort by eight Black people to gain entry to the Spa Pool and Spa Beach that had allowed only white patrons.


Until the late 1960s, Black police officers in St. Petersburg could only patrol Black neighborhoods and had no authority to arrest white people. That changed when the “Courageous 12,” a group of Black officers, successfully sued to gain the same powers as their white counterparts.

The green benches that once famously lined the city’s sidewalks were popular, but off-limits to Black people until St. Petersburg leaders removed them in the 1960s, not for racial reasons but because they wanted a more youthful image than elderly people sitting there.

“What green benches meant to me was racism. It meant, ‘you’re not good enough,’” said Eula Mae Mitchell Perry, a docent at the Woodson museum.

Welch also said that his father, David, was the target of death threats and racial abuse during his run for city mayor in 1991. Welch said his father’s experience “taught me what real strength and courage looks like and the value of perseverance.”

As Welch spoke Tuesday night to a diverse crowd, he said, “This is what progress looks like. History is important because we must fully understand where we are coming from as a community to determine where we want to go.”

Associated Press

Winsome Sears first woman of color elected Va. lieutenant governor

Winsome Sears became Virginia’s first woman and first woman of color to win the post of lieutenant governor after the Republican ex-Marine narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Hala Ayala.


With nearly all precincts reporting, Sears, a former chairwoman of a group of Black Americans who sought to reelect Donald Trump, held a thin 51,672 vote margin over Ayala on Wednesday. She posed for campaign ads in a dress and suit jacket, holding a military-style rifle.

Sears, 57, was the first Republican elected to the Virginia House of Delegates from a majority-Black district since 1865, according to her campaign website.

“It’s a historic night, yes it is, but I didn’t run to make history,” Sears said in a victory speech early Wednesday. “I just wanted to leave it better than I found it.”

She added: “I’m telling you that what you are looking at is the American dream.”

The former delegate, who was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, said during the campaign she didn’t believe people should be required to disclose whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

She was elected independently of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, who defeated former governor Terry McAuliffe early Wednesday to become the first Republican elected governor since 2009.


97-year-old WWII veteran wins reelection as N.J. major

Vito Perillo, a 97-year-old World War II veteran, has won reelection as mayor of Tinton Falls, N.J., beating three other candidates with 100 percent of precincts reporting in the nonpartisan race.

On Facebook, Perillo — who is thought to be the oldest mayor in the United States — thanked his fellow residents for trusting him to lead the borough forward for another four years.


“You may know that I am not a politician, but today I stopped to think about why people might vote for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a WWII veteran, or an ‘old guy’ (hopefully not), or maybe it’s because you read my flyer highlighting our accomplishments over the last 4 years,” Perillo wrote.

“My hope, however, is that it’s because you see that I care about our town and the people who live in it above anything else,” he added. “I promise to do my best everyday to ensure every member of our community can be proud to live in Tinton Falls!”

Perillo was first elected mayor of the small borough, about 40 miles south of Newark, in 2017. He was 93 years old at the time, with no political experience, but said he felt “drastic improvements” could be made to the town. In his reelection campaign, he touted lowering taxes and streamlining the Police Department — among a slew of other accomplishments like paving more than 10.6 miles of roads and sidewalks, acquiring a new park “where residents are enjoying pickle ball and family time,” and erecting a “long overdue” traffic light on Hance Avenue.

The job had been rewarding for his personal well-being, too, he said.

“I love my job. It keeps me alive, actually,” Perillo told People magazine recently. “It keeps me going.”


Washington Post

Minneapolis mayor wins reelection, voters reject replacing police

MINNEAPOLIS — Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who led Minneapolis when a police officer murdered George Floyd and the city was overwhelmed by rioting last year, was elected to a second term, the Associated Press projected on Wednesday. Frey also had opposed efforts to abolish or replace the local police force.

The election in Minneapolis, an overwhelmingly Democratic city, was shaped by Floyd’s death in May 2020, a sharp rise in homicides afterward, and disparate views on how to address public safety. Voters on Tuesday also rejected an amendment to replace the city’s Police Department with a new safety agency focused on public health.

In the days after Floyd’s death, Minneapolis became the center of a national debate on whether to defund policing and invest in new options for emergency response. A veto-proof majority of the City Council quickly pledged to abolish the Police Department, though some members later backtracked.

From the start, Frey, a former professional runner and City Council member, called for a more incremental approach to improving law enforcement. He supported efforts to hire mental health workers to respond to emergencies and to curtail some low-level police stops while defending a need to maintain a Police Department.

New York Times