Well, that was an interesting Tuesday.
Actually, things played out pretty much as expected, so maybe it wasn’t that interesting after all.
The Democrats took the U.S. House, buoyed by a large number of women running for office as well as a large turnout by female voters.
Meanwhile, as expected, the Republicans solidified control of the U.S. Senate, thanks to races in predominantly red states.
At the local level, Republicans retain control of Legislative District 14 — which represents Graham and Greenlee counties — while Democrats held the congressional seat and picked up an additional seat in the congressional district that represents Cochise County.
Honestly, our only surprise Tuesday was in a race almost no one would pay attention to in a normal election year — clerk of the Graham County Superior Court. We thought voters would choose a candidate with more than 20 years’ experience in the court system over someone whose main claim to fame was having an “R” next to her name.
Guess the voters showed us.
So while Tuesday was the culmination of months of escalating rhetoric, name-calling, race-baiting and fear-mongering, the real action begins now.
We’re curious if our new state senator — former Speaker of the House David Gowan — has changed his approach to governance or will continue where he left off two years ago.
He was termed out of his House seat and decided to run for Congress in our district (despite not living in the district) as a way to remain in political life until the end of Doug Ducey’s second term. Gowan makes no secret his desire to one day be governor.
Because of that desire, Gowan, both as speaker and before, seemed to care more about the concerns of Maricopa County than his district.
We don’t begrudge his aspirations, and understand his previous approach — after all, one can’t be governor without winning Maricopa County — we just wonder if the district will actually be served this time around, or will Graham and Greenlee be forgotten once again?
At the federal level, we expect a number of battles over the next two years, with Democrats having subpoena power in the House. The president wasted no time in threatening Democrats, saying if they initiate investigations into him or his businesses, he would do the same, or, as he said via Twitter on Wednesday, “Two can play that game!”
President Trump fired the first salvo Wednesday, first by demanding (and receiving) the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is expected to produce an attorney general who will carry out Trump’s bidding and close the special counsel investigation into the Russian attack on America during the 2016 election and whether any members of Trump’s campaign team collaborated with the Russians.
He followed that by holding a bizarre press conference where, in a defeated tone, he claimed victory (despite losing the House), mocked members of his own Republican party who lost and attacked the media for reporting the results accurately.
Bizarre public appearances by the president are nothing new — remember his kowtowing to Putin in Helsinki — it’s what will come after, given this new political climate, that has us curious and concerned.