Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Democrats Go 3-for-3

On Monday, we noted that there were three elections to watch yesterday. And, with the ballots largely counted, the Democrats appear to have gotten the result they wanted in all three.

The biggie, of course, was the election to fill "George Santos'" vacated seat in NY-03. Former representative Tom Suozzi (D) became representative-elect Tom Suozzi in a walk, taking 53.9% of the vote to 46.1% for Mazi Pilip (R? D?) with 97% of the ballots in. That means the House will now have 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats with three vacancies (Kevin McCarthy, Bill Johnson and Brian Higgins).

We have very little hard data to work with when it comes to projecting what's going to happen this November. So, it's not too surprising that many outlets are squeezing Tuesday's result for all it's worth, with lengthy lists of "takeaways" (see here, here, here, and here for examples). For our part, we are generally leery of reading too much into special elections, which are inherently wonky. This one was particularly wonky for a whole bunch of reasons, among them the involvement of a Democratic candidate who held the seat until January of last year, the Republicans running a very unorthodox candidate (a Black orthodox Jew who is a registered Democrat), some level of backlash to "Santos," and a last-minute snowstorm that reduced in-person turnout (thus benefiting the Democrats, who are more likely to take advantage of early voting).

That said, we do think there are two meaningful observations to be made here. The first is that "Santos" won by 7 points in 2022, and now Suozzi has won by almost 8 in the special election. A mathematician doesn't even need to be sober to see that's a swing of about 15 points toward the Democrats. That suggests a pretty good 2024 for the blue team, at least in New York. And with presidential coattails, and new district maps, the Empire State might just flip the House to the Democrats all by itself.

The other observation is that NY-03 is tailor-made for the Republicans' messaging on immigration and the border. It's been the target of many busloads of immigrants, and is home to a sizable immigrant detention center. Pilip went all-in on "the Senate border bill wasn't enough; we need to do more," and she got trounced. The folks who run the GOP cannot feel good about that heading into campaign season (and see below for more).

Meanwhile, over in Pennsylvania, the Democrats now have a firmer grip on the state House than they've had in a while. That's not to say they have a firm grip, mind you, just a firmer grip. Last week, state Rep. Joe Adams (R) resigned due to unspecified health problems. And yesterday, as expected, Jim Prokopiak (D) crushed Candace Cabanas (R), 67.7% to 32.3%. That means the state House is now 102 D, 100 R. It also means the Democrats have won six special elections for Pennsylvania state House seats in a row.

And finally, the residents of Renton, WA, appear to have decided that a very high minimum wage is a good idea—$20.29/hour for large employers, $18.29/hour for smaller employers. By the end of the evening, Initiative Measure 23-02 was winning 57.5% to 42.5%. Less than half the ballots have been counted, and the remainder won't be fully processed until next week. However, a 15-point differential is extremely unlikely to dissipate, given how aggressive the skew of the remaining ballots would have to be in order for that to happen.

And so, the day gave the Democrats a big win, a medium win and a small win. If you believe in momentum, the blue team currently has it. (Z)

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