Home / World News / Election Updates: Murphy Prevails in New Jersey, Staving Off a Second Major Democratic Loss

Election Updates: Murphy Prevails in New Jersey, Staving Off a Second Major Democratic Loss

ImageGov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey was re-elected, becoming the first Democratic governor in four decades to win a second term in the state.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey was re-elected, becoming the first Democratic governor in four decades to win a second term in the state.Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Philip D. Murphy was re-elected governor of New Jersey by a slim margin, overcoming an early deficit, public pushback over his coronavirus emergency orders and the unpopularity of President Biden in a race that recent polling had suggested he would win by double digits.

Mr. Murphy, 64, became the first Democrat to be re-elected to the governor’s office in 44 years with his victory over his G.O.P. challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman who at one point on election night had led by more than 50,000 votes.

The unexpectedly tight contest gave Democrats a measure of relief in deep-blue New Jersey, but emboldened national Republicans as something that they could build on heading into next year’s midterm elections.

The results came the day after the Republican Glenn Youngkin flipped the governor’s office in Virginia, defeating the former Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, in what was considered the top prize in this year’s elections for both national parties.

Mr. Murphy’s narrow victory showed just how divided the state was over his tough policies to control the spread of the coronavirus and as his liberal agenda on taxation, climate change and racial equity.

The wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive and ambassador to Germany campaigned largely on his first-term record and his unabashedly liberal approach to governing a state where there are nearly 1.1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans.

In New Jersey, the defining issue of the campaign was the pandemic, which has killed about 28,000 residents, hobbled much of the region’s economy and disrupted the education of 1.3 million public school students.

Mr. Murphy was one of the last governors to repeal an indoor mask mandate and among the first to require teachers to be vaccinated or submit to regular testing.

Mr. Ciattarelli made Mr. Murphy’s strict pandemic edicts a centerpiece of his campaign. The Republican opposed Covid-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory masking in schools, and he blamed Mr. Murphy’s lockdown orders for hurting small businesses and keeping students out of school for too long.

Results trickled in slowly on Tuesday from Democratic strongholds like Essex and Passaic Counties, skewing the early totals and making it clear that the race would be far tighter than expected.

Central to why the race was not called until Wednesday was the number of outstanding mail ballots and provisional ballots.

This year, New Jersey did not permit local election officials to begin “pre-processsing” ballots — which includes opening, verifying and scanning ballots — until Election Day, causing a massive backlog of more than 520,000 mail ballots to be counted in a single day. During the 2020 election in New Jersey, officials were allowed to begin processing 10 days before Election Day, which ensured a much smoother tabulation process.

New voting laws and voting equipment in use for the first time in the 2021 election also sparked confusion among both election workers and voters. New electronic poll books proved confusing for workers, forcing some voters to have to cast a provisional ballot. Other voters brought their mail ballot to their precincts, a voting method permitted in 2020 but not in 2021. Those voters were then forced to vote provisionally.

Kevin Armstrong and Lauren Hard contributed reporting.

Felicia Moore is waiting to hear whom she will compete against in a runoff for mayor of Atlanta: Kasim Reed, a former two-term mayor, or Andre Dickens, a councilman.Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Not all of the people eagerly awaiting the outcomes of Tuesday’s elections lived in New Jersey.

The race for governor there was the highest-profile outstanding election, with the Democratic incumbent, Philip D. Murphy, narrowly leading the Republican candidate, Jack Ciattarelli, for most of the day, before the election was called for Mr. Murphy.

Two of the main reasons for the delay are the large number of mail and provisional ballots that need to be counted and confusion caused by new voting laws and equipment.

Other races around the country are still undecided for a range of reasons. Here’s where some of them stand.

Atlanta mayor’s race

None of the five main candidates in Atlanta’s mayoral election received the more than 50 percent of the vote needed to win. Felicia Moore, the City Council president who received by far the most votes, will face either Kasim Reed, a former two-term mayor whose administration was dogged by corruption, or Andre Dickens, a city councilman, in a runoff election on Nov. 30.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dickens narrowly led Mr. Reed.

Seattle mayor and city attorney’s races

Results in two important elections in Washington are still outstanding because Seattle uses an all-mail voting system that allows voters to postmark ballots on Election Day, and many votes still need to be counted.

But the outcomes of those races seem clearer than Atlanta’s. As of Wednesday afternoon, two staunchly pro-police candidates, Bruce Harrell for mayor and Ann Davison for city attorney, were well ahead of Lorena González, who called last year for a 50 percent cut in the police budget, and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, who wants to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Later votes historically favor liberal candidates, sometimes enough to swing results by double digits, but most likely not to the degree needed to close the gaps in these races. Ms. Davison would be the first Republican elected to citywide office in Seattle in three decades.

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Buffalo Mayor Re-elected for a Fifth Term

Mayor Byron W. Brown of Buffalo, N.Y., declared victory in a write-in campaign for a new term. His opponent, India Walton, a democratic socialist and a first-time candidate, conceded.

“Because we are from Buffalo and we never quit. [crowd cheering] I wish I could thank each and every one of you —” “You did because you won.” [crowd cheering] “— and all the voters individually, and we will find a way to do that in the coming days and weeks and months, and the next four years. [crowd cheering] This has been a remarkable journey that we’ve been on together. And your faith and trust has sustained me over the past four and a half months. It hasn’t been easy, far from it, but it’s been worth it, hasn’t it?” “Yeah.”

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Mayor Byron W. Brown of Buffalo, N.Y., declared victory in a write-in campaign for a new term. His opponent, India Walton, a democratic socialist and a first-time candidate, conceded.CreditCredit…Malik Rainey for The New York Times

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In a sharp reversal of political fortune, Mayor Byron W. Brown of Buffalo has seemingly triumphed in a write-in campaign for a new term, besting India Walton, a democratic socialist who had stunned Mr. Brown in a primary in June and had drawn national attention as a champion of progressive values.

Ms. Walton — a first-time candidate — said on Wednesday afternoon that she likely would not be able to translate the energy of her surprising primary victory into a general election win.

“It seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January,” she wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Brown, 63, had declared victory late Tuesday, as ballots rolled in and it became apparent that write-ins would carry the day: With all precincts reporting, just over 41 percent of votes were for Ms. Walton and 59 percent were marked for “write-in,” a margin of about 10,000 votes.

Those write-ins will need to be tallied by hand to verify the names on them — there is at least one other write-in candidate who has actively campaigned — but it seemed likely that the incumbent Mr. Brown’s aggressive campaign for a fifth term would succeed.

His campaign was crafty, spending $100,000 to distribute tens of thousands of ink stamps bearing the mayor’s name to allow voters to ink his name on ballots, something allowed by state law.

While Mr. Brown’s campaign overcame hurdles — Ms. Walton carried the Democratic line and was the only candidate whose name was printed on the ballot — repairing his reputation as a Democrat in good standing may be more difficult with the more insurgent wing of his party.

In her statement, Ms. Walton did not mention Mr. Brown but was clearly frustrated by the tactics employed against her.

“Every dirty trick in the book was tried against us,” she wrote, adding, “We knew that would be the case. When you take on the corrupt and the powerful you can’t expect them to play fair.”

Her campaign told The New York Times on Wednesday night that she would formally concede to Mr. Brown if she was still down once all votes were counted.

“When all the votes are counted, if we’re still down, then we’ll concede,” she wrote on Twitter. “Until then, relax.”

Ms. Walton had run on a campaign of addressing income inequality, increasing racial and social justice, and spreading the wealth of New York’s second largest city, which has had a surprising jump in population in recent years.

In an interview Wednesday, a buoyant Mr. Brown said his write-in campaign was born in the moments after his stunning defeat in June, when he ran a lackluster campaign.

“I knew from the amazing groundswell of support coming in that a write-in campaign would be very winnable,” he said.

He said he would try to mend the rift among the city’s Democrats caused by the race — “I always plan to bring people from the community together,” he said — but still had little praise for Ms. Walton or her campaign.

“I never saw anything she was proposing that was new, fresh or workable,” he said.

The apparent win for Mr. Brown — a centrist and a lifelong Democrat — is a stinging rebuke for the left wing of the party, both nationally and in New York, which had celebrated Ms. Walton’s unlikely win in June with volunteers and prominent backers flocking to her campaign in recent months.

That included Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx but traveled to Buffalo last weekend to campaign on Ms. Walton’s behalf.

Mr. Brown, meanwhile, rallied a coalition of conservative and moderate supporters, as well as enjoying the backing of several prominent labor unions and independent expenditure groups funded by real estate, which has seen a revival in Buffalo under Mr. Brown.

Ms. Walton also had little help from state party leadership, as Gov. Kathy Hochul — a Buffalo native — and Jay S. Jacobs, the chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, declined to endorse her or work for her election. Many major statewide figures were similarly silent, including the state attorney general, Letitia James, who is running for governor next year.

Another possible gubernatorial candidate, Representative Tom Suozzi, was even more active, endorsing Mr. Brown over his party’s nominated candidate. And on Tuesday, he was arguing that Buffalo’s rejection of Ms. Walton over write-ins should serve as a wake up call for Democrats about straying too far left.

“Democrats need to listen to the voters: they don’t want fence-straddlers, they don’t want pie-in-the-sky philosophical debate, they don’t want scorched-earth tactics,” he said. “They want elected officials who will be straight up with them and get things done.”

Democrats, of course, also lost to Republicans in several closely watched races in New York and nationally. And in Buffalo, Republicans — who are badly outnumbered in a Democratic city — may well have contributed to the crush of write-in votes: they did not mount a candidate, and several local Republicans openly backed Mr. Brown.

Nick Langworthy, the New York State Republican Committee chairman, congratulated Mr. Brown on his victory — “Socialism has been defeated in Buffalo!” he wrote on Twitter — and later taunted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

“When are you coming back to Buffalo?” asked Mr. Langworthy, who had long served as the party’s chair in Erie County.

In many ways, Ms. Walton’s candidacy has underscored a deeper rift in the Democratic Party, which has seen moderates like President Biden and Eric Adams, the mayor-elect of New York City, scuffle with — and sometimes defeat — more left-wing candidates. And even with the obstacles of a write-in campaign, observers in Buffalo felt Mr. Brown had a strong chance of winning because of name recognition. He worked to paint Ms. Walton as a radical, untested and potentially disastrous choice.

Ms. Walton, 39, would have been a trailblazing mayor, as the first woman and the first Black woman to lead New York’s second largest city. She has an evocative life story as a single mother and labor organizer, a narrative that she leaned on in advertisements, some of which were paid for by groups like Working Families Party, a labor-backed organization that often supports progressive candidates.

“Every dirty trick in the book was tried against us,” said India Walton in a statement she posted Wednesday on Twitter. Credit…Libby March for The New York Times

Ms. Walton’s supporters were praising her efforts to bring a socialist ethos to a major American city, something that hasn’t occurred in decades. By the same token, they were disgusted by Mr. Brown’s efforts, which included a number of attack ads by his campaign and outside supporters.

“She never strayed from her values and principles, even as Byron Brown and his GOP backers ran a campaign fueled by fear and division,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the director of the New York Working Families Party.

For her part, Ms. Walton also seemed to suggest on Wednesday that her political career wasn’t over.

“The hour will come when we finally draw down power to the everyday people of this city,” she said.

Lauren D’Avolio and Dan Higgins contributed reporting from Buffalo.

Supporters of Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, watched early return numbers at the candidate’s party in Fairfax, Va., on Tuesday night. Mr. McAuliffe lost to the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Democratic Party was left reeling after an unexpectedly close contest for governor in New Jersey and the loss of the governor’s race in Virginia, inspiring fresh doubts among Democrats about their fortunes heading into next year’s midterm elections.

President Biden returned from his trip to Europe and was immediately greeted with an unwelcome reminder of his party’s shaky political footing. With his approval ratings sagging and Republicans eager to wrest back control of Congress, Mr. Biden is facing an uncertain landscape on Capitol Hill, where a key Democratic senator, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, has raised doubts about the president’s $1.85 trillion social safety net and climate change bill.

Another worrisome development for Democrats was the tight race in New Jersey, a state that Mr. Biden carried by 16 percentage points last year.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, held off his Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman, to win a second term, according to The Associated Press.

A year after Mr. Biden won Virginia by 10 points, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, failed in his quest to win back his old office, losing to the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, in a contest that was closely watched for what it could signal about voters’ satisfaction or lack thereof with the president and his party. Mr. McAuliffe conceded to Mr. Youngkin on Wednesday morning.

The setback in Virginia was the latest in a series of stumbles for Mr. Biden, who has faced criticism over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and over the surge in migrants at the Southern border. And in Washington, he has struggled to unite Democratic lawmakers behind his social safety net bill. With that measure in dispute, the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August has been on hold in the House, depriving the party of an accomplishment that could have been promoted on the campaign trail this fall.

The dispiriting results for Democrats on Tuesday stoked fears in the party that the infighting in Congress was taking a toll with the public.

“The No. 1 concern voters have raised with me over the last several weeks has been inability of Congress and government in general to get things done at a time of great need for the country,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from a swing district in New Jersey. “So the best thing we can do in Congress is to pass these damned bills, immediately.”

Asked on Wednesday whether the Democratic loss in Virginia changed the House’s agenda, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “No, no.”

At the White House, Mr. Biden told reporters that “people want us to get things done.”

“People need a little breathing room — they’re overwhelmed,” he said. “We have to just produce results for them.”

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Police Reform ‘Must Continue,’ Minneapolis Mayor Says

Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who led the city when a police officer murdered George Floyd, was elected to a second term. Mr. Frey opposed efforts to abolish or replace the city’s police force.

We need deep and structural change to policing in America. [crowd clapping and cheering] And at the same time, we need police officers to make sure that they are working directly with community to keep us safe. There will be many that will try to argue that this is a blow to reform — that is dead wrong. [crowd clapping and cheering] Reform — reform has begun, but it must continue with the necessary — with understanding the magnitude of this particular moment, and making sure that we’re all, each and every one of us, rallying around the cause of change.

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Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who led the city when a police officer murdered George Floyd, was elected to a second term. Mr. Frey opposed efforts to abolish or replace the city’s police force.CreditCredit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who led Minneapolis when a police officer murdered George Floyd and the city was overwhelmed by rioting last year, was elected to a second term, The Associated Press projected on Wednesday. Mr. Frey also had opposed efforts to abolish or replace the local police force.

The election in Minneapolis, an overwhelmingly Democratic city, was shaped by Mr. Floyd’s death in May 2020, by a sharp rise in homicides afterward and by disparate views on how to address public safety. Voters on Tuesday also rejected an amendment to replace the city’s Police Department with a new safety agency focused on public health.

In the days after Mr. Floyd’s death, Minneapolis became the center of a national debate on whether to defund policing and invest in new options for emergency response. A veto-proof majority of the City Council quickly pledged to abolish the Police Department, though some members later backtracked.

From the start, Mr. Frey, a former professional runner and City Council member, called for a more incremental approach to improving law enforcement. He supported efforts to hire mental health workers to respond to emergencies and to curtail some low-level police stops, while defending a need to maintain a Police Department.

“We’ve got to stop this pendulum from swinging violently back and forth between defund and abolish the police on one side, and do nothing, status quo on the other,” Mr. Frey said in an interview before the election. “Those are not the two options.”

But Minneapolis had been shaken by police shootings and protests before, and many residents said that little seemed to change. When Mr. Frey won his first term four years ago, he pledged to improve police-community relations that had been frayed by the killings of Jamar Clark, a Black man fatally shot in 2015 during a fight with officers, and Justine Ruszczyk, a white woman whose death in 2017 led to an officer being convicted of manslaughter.

Sheila Nezhad, one of Mr. Frey’s challengers, worked as a street medic during the unrest last year and supported the amendment to replace the police force. Ms. Nezhad said Mr. Frey had failed to rise to the moment and listen to the demands of protesters.

“People took to the streets because their voices were not being heard through the quote-unquote ‘appropriate’ channels, through city government,” Ms. Nezhad said. “Whatever we do next has to make sure that we have as many voices included as possible.”

Though more than a dozen candidates ran against him, Mr. Frey retained significant support among Minneapolis residents wary of reinventing or downsizing the police force. On the city’s North Side, where shootings have been a fact of life, the Rev. Jerry McAfee criticized how the mayor had engaged with community groups, but said he still preferred him to the wide field of challengers.

“Jacob is still the best person,” Mr. McAfee said. “The other ones that they’re trying to push, they’re going to push this agenda of basically defunding the police, and I’m not with that.”

Glenn Youngkin greeted supporters at a hotel in Chantilly, Va., on Tuesday. He will be the state’s first Republican governor in more than a decade.Credit…Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

A year after voters elected President Biden and pushed Republicans fully out of power in Washington, the G.O.P. rebounded with a strong election night on Tuesday, highlighted by Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race.

Here is a rundown of election results from around the country.

Virginia governor’s race

The businessman Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who struggled to generate enthusiasm among liberals at a moment when conservatives are energized in opposition to Mr. Biden.

The victory by Mr. Youngkin, a first-time candidate in one of only two governor’s races before next year’s midterm elections, may give his party a formula for how to exploit Mr. Biden’s vulnerabilities and avoid the shadow of former President Donald J. Trump in Democratic-leaning states.

New Jersey governor’s race

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, won a second term after an unexpectedly strong challenge from the former State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, a moderate Republican.

Mr. Murphy was far ahead in most public polling before Tuesday’s contest, but he won narrowly instead. As of around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when The Associated Press called the race in his favor, the partial vote count showed him ahead of Mr. Ciattarelli by less than one percentage point — though, because most of the ballots that remain to be counted are in heavily Democratic parts of the state, that margin is likely to increase somewhat.

New York City

In the city’s mayoral race, Eric Adams, a former police captain and Brooklyn borough president, easily dispatched the long-shot Republican candidate, Curtis Sliwa, to become only the second Black person elected mayor in the city’s history.

And Alvin Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney. He will become the first Black person to lead the influential office, which handles tens of thousands of cases a year and is conducting a high-profile investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his family business.

Boston mayor’s race

Michelle Wu easily defeated City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George to become the first woman, first person of color and first person of Asian descent to be elected mayor in Boston. The city has been led by an unbroken string of Irish American or Italian American men since the 1930s.

Minneapolis police ballot item

Minneapolis residents rejected an amendment that called for replacing the city’s long-troubled Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety, The Associated Press projected.

The ballot item emerged from anger after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd last year, galvanizing residents who saw the policing system as irredeemably broken.

Buffalo mayor’s race

Mayor Byron W. Brown of Buffalo, an incumbent four-term Democrat, declared victory on Tuesday night in his write-in campaign to defeat his own party’s official nominee, India Walton. On Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Walton, a democratic socialist, conceded.

San Antonio state seat

A Democratic stronghold in San Antonio flipped to a Republican in a runoff for a seat in the Texas House on Tuesday.

John Lujan, a 59-year-old retired firefighter who had briefly held the seat before, beat Frank Ramirez, a 27-year-old former legislative aide, by fewer than 300 votes, according to a tally released by the Bexar County Elections Department. About 70 percent of the largely working-class families Mr. Lujan will represent, in the 118th District, identify as Hispanic.

“This speaks loudly that people are concerned about conservative values,” Mr. Lujan told his supporters. “You know, we want to secure our border, we want to grow our economy.”

The agenda that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin laid out in his acceptance speech echoed the light-on-specifics platform he ran on.Credit…Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

Politically, Democrats view the Virginia election result as a sign that the sky is falling.

In terms of how life shifts under a new Republican governor, however, Virginians may find the outcome much more mundane.

The agenda that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin laid out in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning echoed the light-on-specifics platform he ran on, promising Virginians “a commonwealth of high expectations,’’ but mostly sketching out minor-key changes that might not affect everyday life that much.

Notably, Mr. Youngkin, who sought to appeal to suburban moderates, never shaped his candidacy around repealing the bulk of the sweeping liberal agenda that Democrats have passed since taking full control in Richmond last year. Democrats ended the death penalty, raised the minimum wage to $15, broadly expanded voting rights and introduced gun safety measures such as universal background checks.

With the House of Delegates likely to end up with a Republican majority, it can be counted on to introduce bills next year to reverse those progressive laws. But they will meet resistance in the State Senate, where Democrats retain control.

Mr. Youngkin’s major campaign message, to give parents more input to schools, is both broadly popular and highly vague. Parents already elect school boards that choose the curriculum of their local schools.

Likewise, the incoming governor’s promise to ban critical race theory may have little practical effect, educators say, because it is not taught in K-12 schools, nor does it shape curriculums.

More specific education items on Mr. Youngkin’s punch list, such as raising teacher salaries and creating 20 new charter schools, must pass the General Assembly. Kirk Cox, a former Republican speaker of the House of Delegates, who is a retired teacher, predicted both initiatives would have a good shot in a “holistic” education package in the legislature, along with Mr. Youngkin’s proposal to have a police officer in every school.

Mr. Youngkin’s most concrete agenda is aimed at stimulating the economy, including ending a sales tax on groceries, doubling the standard deduction on state income taxes and paying a one-time rebate of $300 to individuals. Each item will have to pass via the state budget that requires lawmakers’ approval.

Richard Saslaw, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, said zeroing out the grocery tax and other revenue sources would lower the money the state has to spend, including on Youngkin proposals for higher pay for teachers and police officers.

“We have to see what all the numbers look like,” Mr. Saslaw said. “We’re not the federal government, we don’t have a printing press.”

Ann Davison, left, is leading her opponent, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, right, in the race for city attorney in Seattle.Credit…via Associated Press

A Republican candidate for city attorney and a pro-police candidate for mayor each held large leads in Seattle’s election on Wednesday, as voters appeared to reject rivals who had sought more aggressive overhauls of policing and the criminal justice system.

If the results hold, Seattle would elect a Republican to citywide office for the first time in three decades, with a city attorney candidate, Ann Davison, who has vowed more prosecutions for low-level crimes in a traditionally liberal city grappling with homelessness.

Ms. Davison was running against Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, who had praised those who perpetrated property destruction during last year’s policing protests and has called for eventually abolishing the criminal justice system as it is currently structured. Ms. Davison held a lead with 58 percent of the vote on Wednesday morning.

The debate over policing also featured prominently in the race for mayor, with one candidate, Lorena González, endorsing steep cuts to the police budget last year and another, Bruce Harrell, advocating for hiring more officers. Early results showed Mr. Harrell in the lead with 65 percent of the vote.

The results were not yet conclusive, with many votes left to be counted in an all-mail voting system in which ballots can be postmarked on Election Day. Later votes historically skew toward more liberal candidates, sometimes changing results by double digits but not to the degree that would close the gaps shown in Tuesday’s results.

In a city that typically elects only Democrats, Ms. Davison entered the city attorney’s race after having switched last year to the Republican Party. She recorded a “WalkAway” video for a social media campaign led by Brandon Straka, a prominent Trump supporter who pleaded guilty this year to disorderly conduct during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. But Ms. Davison worked to distance herself from the national Republican Party leadership, saying she voted for President Biden in the 2020 election.

Ms. Thomas-Kennedy, a self-described “abolitionist,” had vowed to pursue fewer prosecutions of misdemeanor crimes. Last year, during racial justice protests, she had posted on Twitter about her “rabid hatred” of the police and called property destruction “a moral imperative.”

While the city’s major Democratic groups endorsed Ms. Thomas-Kennedy, some prominent leaders in the party broke ranks to endorse Ms. Davison, including former two former governors, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire.

Seattle’s elections are technically nonpartisan, but many candidates run with a party preference. The last Republican to serve as mayor left office in 1969. The last Republican to serve as city attorney departed in 1989. And the last Republican to serve on the City Council left office in 1991.

Along with policing, the race for mayor focused on the issue of homelessness in a region that has seen years of soaring housing prices. Researchers have counted a 50 percent increase in tents within the urban core since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Harrell, a former member of the City Council, has called for removing homeless encampments from public spaces. Ms. González, the current Council president, said she would not pursue forced removals from city parks. Both have said they want more shelters and alternative housing.

Abdullah Hammoud was elected mayor of Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday. He is one of a number of successful candidates across the United States who represent firsts for their roles.Credit…Robin Buckson/Detroit News, via Associated Press

Voters in cities across the country made milestone choices on Election Day, elevating Asian Americans, Arab Americans, African Americans and women to top municipal offices.

That was particularly true for three cities in the Detroit area, which chose Muslim and Arab Americans as mayors for the first time. The area is home to some of the country’s largest Muslim and Arab American communities.

In Dearborn, Wayne County’s unofficial election results showed Abdullah Hammoud, a 31-year-old state Democratic lawmaker and the child of Lebanese immigrants, with 55 percent of the vote.

“Dearborn, we won!” Mr. Hammoud posted on Twitter.

In Hamtramck, whose City Council in 2015 became the first in the country to have a Muslim majority, Amer Ghalib, a 42-year-old health care worker who immigrated from Yemen, defeated the longtime incumbent, Karen Majewski. Mr. Ghalib will be Hamtramck’s first mayor in a century who is not Polish, according to The Detroit Free Press.

“History has been made,” read a post on Mr. Ghalib’s Facebook page.

In Dearborn Heights, the mayor, Bill Bazzi, a 58-year-old Lebanese immigrant who was appointed to his position by the City Council, was elected to a full term.

Among the other milestone elections across the country, according to news reports:

In Leadville, Co., voters approved a new 3 percent tax on visitors staying in hotels, motels and short-term rentals.Credit…Rachel Woolf for The New York Times

A slew of initiatives aimed at the addressing the nation’s housing crisis passed on Tuesday, a test run for ballot choices in 2022 as more cities and states take aim at rising rents, a continued explosion in short-term rentals and the depressed housing stock nationwide.

The epicenter of the action was in the West, particularly in Colorado, where housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years, with short-term rentals helping lead the way. In Leadville, a scenic former silver mining town, voters overwhelmingly approved a new 3 percent tax on visitors staying in hotels, motels and short-term rentals, which will be used to create more affordable housing.

Measures to increase fees on short-term rentals passed in Telluride, Avon and Ouray; Vail approved a sales tax increase for housing.

“If folks want to play in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, then individuals must also be able to live and work in those same towns,” said Corrine Rivera Fowler, the director of policy and legal advocacy at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

Other cities and counties around the country passed similar initiatives. In coastal Lincoln County, Ore., where tourism is a major economic driver, the sole item on the ballot was a measure that would require the phasing out of short-term rental homes in unincorporated residential areas — and it prevailed in spite of a large spending campaign by opposing groups. Houses used for short-term rentals have pushed up rents n tourist towns, making them unaffordable for workers. In some cities, houses targeting short-term rentals have been built faster than cheaper units for lower-income residents.

In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., residents approved rent-control measures, and in Boston, Michelle Wu won the mayor’s race after calling for a form of rent control.

Other cities approved funding measures such as bond issues or dedicated tax revenue for housing. In Albuquerque, voters approved new bonds that would finance the construction and rehabilitation of low- and moderate-income housing.

Experts expect more of the same in the next election cycles.

“As housing availability decreases and housing costs increase in cities, especially big cities across many states, voters will continue to see more housing-related measures on the ballot,” said Josh Altic, the ballot measures project director at Ballotpedia.

Within hours, the president went from celebrating American credibility abroad to contending with growing anxiety in his party back home.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Wednesday returned from his second trip abroad since taking office aiming to celebrate the return of U.S. leadership on the global stage and hoping for Democratic victories in key elections in Virginia and New Jersey. It did not work out like that.

Instead, as the president stepped off Air Force One on Wednesday morning, Glenn Youngkin delivered a victory speech as the first Republican to win the governorship of Virginia in more than a decade. In New Jersey, an unexpectedly strong Republican showing against Gov. Philip D. Murphy made the race too close to call until later in the evening, when he narrowly won. And a central piece of Mr. Biden’s sweeping domestic agenda remained stalled after Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, raised new doubts about the $1.85 trillion climate change and social safety net bill.

The political losses meant that within hours, the president went from celebrating American credibility abroad to contending with growing anxiety in his party back home.

The results in Virginia and New Jersey exposed the party’s limitations in relying on anti-Trump sentiment to galvanize voters, and they also highlighted a growing concern for Democrats and the White House: that failure to pass Mr. Biden’s agenda or make good on his campaign promise of overcoming the coronavirus pandemic fueled dissatisfaction.

“People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from Covid to schools to jobs to a whole range of things,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday when asked about the election results. He added that he believed passing his infrastructure and social spending bills would address those concerns “quickly and swiftly.”

He sidestepped questions about how much his stalled agenda was to blame for the Democratic loss in Virginia. But a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy, said the administration would use it to highlight the urgent need to pass the president’s legislation.

Mr. Biden and his advisers are intent on emphasizing progress in negotiations to empower Medicare to lower the price of prescription drugs, an issue that White House officials view as one that can win support among a range of voters, including the suburban Virginians who turned to Mr. Youngkin on Tuesday.

But it remains unclear when the president will have a legislative victory to show voters. This week, after liberals signaled support for votes on both bills, Mr. Manchin outlined his concerns with the revised social policy package and said he would not be pressured by their demands.

That left Mr. Biden without a major piece of his domestic agenda to use to rally foreign allies, and it left Democrats without a victory that they could promote to voters.

Glenn Youngkin became the first Republican to win the governorship of Virginia in more than a decade.Credit…Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

David Axelrod, who was a top adviser to President Barack Obama, said the Republican gains came at a particularly vulnerable time for the White House. Mr. Biden’s approval rating has declined across the board in recent months amid concerns about rapidly increasing inflation, a persistent pandemic, the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a record high number of illegal border crossings.

“On some level, it’s not that complicated. When you have a country that’s stressed or ornery, the party in charge is in a bad position,” Mr. Axelrod said. “This has been an unsettling time from the summer on.”

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, had begged the White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push for passage of the infrastructure bill to galvanize voters.

“We asked the entire country to show up to vote last year. We gave the Democrats the House, Senate and White House, the presidency, and people are questioning now: What have they done with that?” said Quentin James, a founder of Collective PAC, an organization dedicated to electing African American officials.

While his legislation is pending, Mr. Biden and other Democrats will also need to develop a more effective message to voters, including a response to Republicans who tapped into the politics of the Trump base by focusing on how the history of racism is taught in schools, Mr. Quentin said.

“They’re talking about prescription drugs and paid leave and climate change,” Mr. Quentin said, adding that while those issues were important, “there’s a different conversation happening in Loudon County, Virginia.”

White House officials said some election results pointed to Mr. Biden’s growing influence on the Democratic Party. Eric Adams, a former New York City police captain, won the city’s mayoral race on Tuesday in part by striking a similar balance as the president on public safety: appealing for reform while not hesitating to support funding for the police.

But the election outcomes on Tuesday showed that Mr. Biden will need to address not just the potential impact of his sweeping policies, but also issues that are currently animating voters, Mr. Axelrod said.

“It’s a very uphill fight,” he said. “But you’ve got an uphill chance if the economy is better; you pass these bills, and the approval rating is in better shape.”

In Buffalo, India Walton appeared to be headed to a defeat after the long-serving moderate Democratic mayor ran a write-in campaign aided by Republican voters.Credit…Libby March for The New York Times

In Southern Brooklyn, a New York City Council seat long held by Democrats flipped to Republican control. On Wednesday morning, two other Democratic seats nearby still hung in the balance, including a race where the incumbent — a likely candidate for Council speaker — was trailing.

On Long Island, Democrats were wiped out at every level of government.

And in Buffalo, a democratic socialist who had been hailed by left-wing leaders as a future face of the party appeared to be headed to a defeat after the long-serving moderate Democratic mayor ran a write-in campaign aided by Republican voters.

As national Democrats grappled with losing the Virginia governor’s race and confronted a far closer race than expected for governor of New Jersey, New York Democrats of varying ideological stripes were dealt one stunning blow after the next on election night. While Eric Adams and fellow Democrats easily won races to retain control of City Hall and the City Council overall, Republicans made significant inroads across a state perceived by much of the country to be a liberal stronghold.

Statewide, voters appear to have soundly rejected a pair of constitutional amendments meant to liberalize access to the ballot in future elections — a major national priority for the party — that Democrats had believed would sail to approval. Democrats were left to grapple Wednesday morning with how they lost so many local seats that had been safely in their corner for years, with the potential for the greatest Republican presence on the New York City Council since Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor.

And to Democrats already worried about next year’s midterms, there were abundant warning signs that the moderate suburbs that had increasingly shifted left in the Trump era were going to be far more difficult to maintain without a polarizing Republican president on the ballot.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat this: This was a shellacking on a thumping,” said former Representative Steve Israel of New York, a former chair of the House Democratic campaign arm.

Nowhere was that clearer than on Long Island, where Democrats lost a pair of district attorney races, a county executive who had been widely seen as a strong incumbent was trailing her Republican opponent Wednesday morning and other local seats tilted toward Republicans.

Fears about Black voter turnout and a lack of enthusiasm did not materialize in Tuesday’s results.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Democrats across Virginia expressed profound disappointment on Wednesday after Republicans romped to an unlikely victory in the governor’s race, an ominous sign for the Democratic Party ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

But one group refused to be blamed for the party’s poor showing: Black voters and elected officials.

Fears about Black turnout and a lack of enthusiasm did not materialize in Tuesday’s results, as former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, ran close to expected totals in the state’s majority-Black areas. Instead, Black state leaders and voters who backed Mr. McAuliffe said the results were a sign that the party could not rely on minority voters to cover its cratering totals in more white areas of the state, particularly in rural communities that voted heavily for Glenn Youngkin, the Republican businessman who won the governor’s race.

“I believe that Black voters are easily the first target for when things don’t go for how they want it to go,” said Marcia Price, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates who won re-election.

“It’s a trash take to look at us and not the middle,” she said. “The middle said Youngkin is more palatable than Trump and they were willing to take a chance with him.”

Ms. Price’s words reflect a sense among the state’s Black political class that communities of color are often blamed when Democrats lose.

At the grass-roots level, voters in Newport News also said that their support for Mr. McAuliffe did not mean they were satisfied with the performance of Democrats in Washington.

Several voters cited a radio advertisement that had been playing on local stations saying Black voters should not back Mr. McAuliffe because Democrats cared about Black communities only during election season. They rejected the ad’s plea to stay home but said the general theme resonated, and they urged Democrats in Congress to pass bold legislation on President Biden’s core campaign promises, including climate change, police reform and economic investments in Black communities.

“A lot of people are upset with Biden,” said William Joyner, a 54-year-old Democrat. “We have high gas prices. Everything is so expensive right now.”

He added, “Biden made promises to Black people he hasn’t kept yet.”

Tony McCright, 68, who also voted for Mr. McAuliffe, said there was a sense among Black voters that they were voting for Democrats only out of necessity.

“Republicans are happy to come together to do the wrong thing,” Mr. McCright said, “but Democrats never come together to do the right thing.”

Kevin Brobson, a Commonwealth Court judge, at a polling site in Harrisburg, Pa., on Tuesday. He prevailed in his bid for a seat on the state’s Supreme Court vacated by a fellow Republican. Credit…Marc Levy/Associated Press

Even without presidential contenders fanning out across the state, Pennsylvania presented one of the biggest prizes in this year’s elections, one influencing everything from the governor’s coronavirus powers to redistricting — a seat on the state’s Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, P. Kevin Brobson, a Republican and a Commonwealth Court judge, defeated Maria McLaughlin, a Democrat and a Superior Court judge, in a fiercely contested race for a seat vacated by a Republican. The candidates raised more than $5 million, much from special interests.

Unofficial tallies reported by the Pennsylvania Department of State showed Judge Brobson with about 52 percent of the vote.

The election protected one of the two seats Republicans control on the seven-member court in Pennsylvania, which is one of a handful of states that elect rather than appoint their Supreme Court justices.

While judicial races often fly under the radar, they are hugely consequential.

In Pennsylvania over the past few years, the Supreme Court has redrawn the state’s congressional districts, throwing away a Republican gerrymander and contributing to Democrats’ net gain of four House seats there in 2018. It has also upheld an emergency declaration that enabled Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to issue stay-at-home orders and other restrictions in response to the pandemic; allowed Pittsburgh to enact a paid sick leave law; and slapped down a Republican lawsuit seeking to invalidate mail-in ballots in the 2020 election.

Given the persistence of efforts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to delegitimize the voting process, more election-related cases are likely to come before the court. So might one or more cases challenging Pennsylvania Republicans’ efforts to subpoena voters’ personal information in their bid for a partisan review of the 2020 election results. The court is also expected to decide whether Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program must cover abortion without restrictions.

Republicans also won judicial races in lower courts. Megan Sullivan beat Timika Lane, a Democrat, for a seat on the state’s Superior Court. Stacy Wallace, a Republican, finished first among four candidates for two seats on the Commonwealth Court. Another Republican, Drew Crompton, who was seeking a permanent seat on the court, was leading the two Democrats in that race.

Daniel Slotnik contributed reporting.

Glenn Youngkin won by making broad gains over Democrats in every part of the state, across every demographic group.Credit…Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

Over the last two decades, American politics has steadily polarized along urban and rural lines, with Democrats running up the score in well-educated metropolitan areas and Republicans making gains in the countryside.

For one night in Virginia, that trend did not continue.

In a departure from recent demographic trends, there weren’t really any notable demographic trends in Virginia at all.

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor, won by making broad gains over Democrats in every part of the state and, apparently, across every demographic group. He gained in the cities, the suburbs and rural areas. He gained in the east and west. He made inroads in precincts with both white and nonwhite voters.

It’s an unusually simple picture for such a noteworthy result. When a candidate outperforms expectations, it’s often accompanied by a big breakthrough among a particular demographic group; when a candidate disappoints, they still usually have a few bright spots. There were no bright spots for the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, but no breakthroughs for Mr. Youngkin, either.

The broad shift to the right could indicate widespread revulsion against Democrats, or it could simply be a sign that longstanding trends have finally run their course. Or perhaps it’s because Mr. Youngkin adopted a message that appealed to the kinds of voters who have gradually been fleeing the Republican Party.

Whatever the reason, it makes it harder to tell the usual story about why Democrats lost on Tuesday.

Vito Perillo, believed to be the oldest mayor in the country, has said he does not want to be known for his age.Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

In a milestone Election Day for mayoral races around the country, a 97-year-old World War II veteran in New Jersey won his second term in his borough’s top municipal office.

Vito Perillo bested three opponents in the nonpartisan race for mayor of Tinton Falls, a small borough a few miles off the Jersey Shore, with 40 percent of the votes.

Though there is no official record-keeping, Mr. Perillo is believed to be the oldest mayor in the country. When he leaves office, he will be 101.

“Today I stopped to think about why people might vote for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a WWII veteran, or an ‘old guy’ (hopefully not),” Mr. Perillo wrote on Facebook. “My hope, however, is that it’s because you see that I care about our town and the people who live in it above anything else.”

Mr. Perillo made his first run for political office in 2017, and in a surprise, he ousted the borough’s former police chief and two-term incumbent mayor. He was motivated in part by high property taxes and a whistle-blower lawsuit involving the Police Department that cost his town $1.1 million.

Despite his achievement on Tuesday, Mr. Perillo, who is a golfer and remains active, does not want to be known for his age.

“I just want to be known for being the mayor of Tinton Falls,” Mr. Perillo told The Asbury Park Press last month.

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