Democrats Face Heavy Losses in 2021 Elections


Ian Chung, Current Events

As election results rolled in from around the country Tuesday, November 2nd, a clear picture began to emerge. In Virginia, a state Joe Biden won by ten points in 2020, the critical governor’s race was called for Republican Glenn Youngkin in a matter of hours after the polls closed. Republicans also picked up the Lieutenant Governor’s and Attorney General’s seats and even gained a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. In New Jersey, which went Democratic by over 15 points last year, the governor’s race was too close to call for days. For Democrats looking ahead to the midterms, it was a series of disturbingly worrisome defeats.

However, at the Broome County Democratic Headquarters, the mood was bright as candidates waited for the first votes of the local elections to arrive. Speaking exclusively to BearFacts, Harris Weiss, Democratic candidate for Broome County Clerk, noted that he felt good about the race. “We’ve done everything we can,” he said, “and we’ve done it well.” Binghamton City Councilwoman Aviva Friedman also looked cheerful as results began to appear on the local elections website, showing wide leads for the Democratic slate of candidates.

However, the night wore on, and early leads soon began to shrink. Update after update showed them falling further and further behind their opponents. Digesting the latest votes in Joe Burns’s race for Binghamton mayor, New York Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo was noticeably glum, as she corrected someone who mistakenly believed that Burns was winning. “No, he’s down,” she muttered. “He’s behind.”

By midnight, it was clear that Broome County had experienced the same surge as the rest of the country. In the race for Family Court Judge, Democrats Mara Grace and Sandy Monachino faced narrow losses to Republicans Veronica Gorman and Brett Noonan. Harris Weiss was defeated by Republican Joseph Mihalko by a significant margin. Joe Burns also eventually conceded to Republican Jared Kraham. The sweep extended to Vestal, where Republicans Stephen Donnelly and Patrick McPherson have a lead in the race for Town Council over Democratic incumbents Suzanne Messina and John Fletcher, with absentee ballots still outstanding. ( This particular election appears to have been heavily impacted by the recent battles over the potential usage of Bunn Hill for new development, which has energized Vestal voters. After the Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the area from Rural Residential to a Planned Development District in April, the local group Friends for Responsible Vestal Zoning issued an endorsement for Donnelly and McPherson.

Despite the local and relatively nonpartisan nature of these campaigns, many voters appeared to be fueled by the drama of national politics. “I’m not voting for anyone from Trump’s party,” one voter said. “The way things are right now, with Biden and Harris in charge; it’s no good,” another worried. With former president Trump now a much smaller presence on the political stage, he may have had more of an effect on voters than the current Biden administration, which could partially explain the outcome of the 2021 election for many states and localities all across America. Will the nationalization of politics continue? How will the newly elected officials perform? What’s next for the losing candidates? The answers remain to be seen.