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Democratic Governors and Candidates Praised for Running Strong, Savvy Campaigns

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In their coverage leading up to and following last Tuesday’s midterm elections, news outlets and Democratic leaders have widely praised the strength of Democratic gubernatorial candidates’ campaigns.

They particularly highlighted Democratic governors’ and candidates’ ability to highlight their accomplishments and bold plans while running on savvy social media and ad strategies.

“Democratic governors and candidates won big on Election Day because they ran smart campaigns focused on addressing the issues that working families care about,” said DGA Communications Director David Turner. “When Democrats run on their records of protecting freedoms and delivering on kitchen table issues, we win.”

See below for a roundup of coverage praising Democratic gubernatorial campaigns:

  • Washington Post Opinion: “For running solid races, displaying long coattails, defending freedom and showing how Democrats defeat the ‘coastal elites; jab, we can say well done, Govs. Whitmer and Polis and Gov.-elect Shapiro.”
  • The Guardian: “Take the state governor elections, where historically Democrats have struggled but this time a new generation stepped in. Maura Healey won in Massachusetts, Wes Moore won in Maryland and Josh Shapiro beat the election denier Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania.”
  • ABC News: “Democrats managed to elect or reelect governors in the blue-wall Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — key presidential battlegrounds that Trump won once and then lost.”
  • NPR: “It’s also a massive win for Democrats in an election cycle where they faced significant political headwinds. Typically, when one party controls both the White House and Congress, Wisconsin elections swing in the other direction. Evers’ victory bucked that trend.”
  • CT Mirror: “Lamont showed surprising strength in suburbs Stefanowski won four years ago, resisting what the GOP had hoped would be a red wave.”
  • Hartford Courant: “Among the surprises on election night was the extent of the Democratic victories in once-Republican Fairfield County, especially Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan. Lamont won all three of those communities, which would have been unthinkable for a Democratic candidate for governor during the 1980s or 1990s.”
  • Associated Press: “Lujan Grisham hitched her campaign to support for abortion access as a cornerstone of women’s rights, along with legislative accomplishments that range from tax cuts to gun control and teacher pay raises.”
  • The American Prospect: “Janet Mills thwacked Trumpist Paul LePage on a good night for Democratic women in New England … Mills’s support for abortion was central to her victory.”
  • Daily Beast Opinion: “Kelly chose not to get entangled in the issues by which Trumpists seek to rabble-rouse. She instead concentrated on creating new businesses and jobs—a strategy that can lead other Democrats to prevail over the self-serving charlatans who seek to divide us. While her opponent posted nonsense, Kelly reported the opening of new factories and improvements in infrastructure and extension of broadband to rural areas.”
  • Kansas City Star: “The discipline between the two major party campaigns was stark. Early on, Kelly settled on a ‘middle of the road’ focus that included promoting economic development achievements, fully funding public schools and signing legislation that will eventually eliminate the state sales tax on food — and then stuck to those themes, with rare exceptions.”
  • Politico: “If the dismantling of the blue wall states came at Trump’s own hand in 2016, so too did its reconstruction this week, as Democrats handily ousted candidates endorsed by the former president.”
  • MPR: “Twin Cities area voters turned out in big numbers for Walz, reinforcing a metro ‘blue wall’ of support.”
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “I think there’s been a lot of growth [in messaging]. I think it’s part of the reasons why the results of Michigan and Wisconsin were different from 2016 to 2020.”
  • Reuters: “In Michigan, Democrat Whitmer won a second term, having campaigned hard on abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. Her Trump-backed opponent, commentator Tudor Dixon, supported a near-total ban on abortion, including for child victims of rape and incest.”
  • ABC News: “Democrats are eyeing [Whitmer’s] campaign as a blueprint for how to win not just in Michigan but elsewhere in the industrial Midwest, an increasingly competitive region in which the party likely must remain competitive in the next few years if it hopes to maintain power in Washington.”
  • Michigan Advance: “Whitmer has run a steady stream of TV ads on her accomplishments and personal story while relying on an uplifting, grassroots-focused and savvy-style social media approach.”
  • National Journal: “Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee, has run a near perfect campaign.”
  • Washington Post Opinion: “Like DeSantis, both [Whitmer and Shapiro] won landslides in states that Trump carried in 2016. Both had coattails for down-ballot Democrats. Both linked progressive objectives, staunch support for the labor movement, a moderate tone and pragmatism about governing. Both showed how to isolate far-right culture warriors and broaden what you might call the live-and-let-live coalition.”
  • Denver Post: “For the Democrats, Polis’s win extends the party’s near-record-setting control of the governor’s mansion. By the time Polis’s term ends in 2027, Democrats will have controlled the seat for two decades, a feat only accomplished once before — when Democrats held it from the mid-1970s until 1999.”
  • Washington Post Opinion: “Maura Healey, Baker’s Democratic successor, and Wes Moore, the Democrat who will take over from Hogan, swept to victory by winning back the moderates and independents who had been quite happy to balance power in their very Democratic states with a Republican chief executive.”
  • The New Republic: “The 44-year-old Wes Moore may well be the most important first-time candidate on the ballot this year who isn’t receiving much national coverage.”
  • Politico: “Moore has racked up a slew of endorsements, including a rare political nod from Oprah Winfrey. Democratic luminaries are drawn to the energy and charisma he displays on the trail running for the state’s open governorship.”
  • Washington Post: “Kotek defied expectations, and she continued the long party streak of holding the governor’s office in Oregon. Kotek’s ability to increase Democratic turnout and avoid losing too many votes to Johnson proved key to her success. Moreover, her better than expected performance in this close election offers another signal that Democrats around the country outperformed expectations.”
  • Washington Monthly: “Election-denying candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and secretaries of state in competitive states were largely eviscerated. Add Kari Lake to the list, because Katie Hobbs had a plan to beat crazy and the courage to stick with it.”