Five Facts on Surprising 2021 Election Result

The recent Republican victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race and near-win in New Jersey dominated coverage of last month’s elections, but Republicans won unexpected victories in other contests as well.

Here are five other surprising results from the 2021 elections.

1. Republicans swept statewide judicial races in Pennsylvania, including the race for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Republican Kevin Brobson won a tight race for the Supreme Court seat over Democrat Maria McLaughlin, and will become just the second Republican on the current seven-member bench. Republicans also won all three elections for seats on the statewide Superior Court and Commonwealth Court.

2. A Republican was elected mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, one year after President Biden carried the city in a landslide.

Daniel Rickenmann won the race with 52% of the vote. In 2020, Biden won the county containing the city by a more than two-to-one margin.

3. Republicans posted gains on the New York City Council for the first time since 2009.

The GOP won four contested Council races even as Democrat Eric Adams defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa 66% to 29% in the mayoral race. This will more than double the GOP’s representation on the Council.

4. Ann Davison became the first Republican to be elected Seattle city attorney since 1985.

Although the race for city attorney is technically a nonpartisan race — meaning candidate party affiliations do not appear on the ballot — Davison, a registered Republican, won by 11 points. Davison ran on a platform of restoring law and order in the city, while her opponent, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, was a supporter of defunding police.

5. The centrist Serve America Movement won its first election victory.

Newtown, Connecticut, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal — twice elected as a Democrat — chose to seek reelection as the nominee of the Serve America Movement, a centrist party founded in 2017 and chaired nationally by former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL). Rosenthal won reelection without opposition.

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