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Democrats Win Big in Tuesday's Elections

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Progressive Democrats were big winners in Tuesday's nationwide elections -- signaling what some observers say is a referendum on President Donald Trump's administration.

In Virginia, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in a race in which Gillespie, a lifelong moderate, adopted stances and tactics Trump successfully employed as a candidate. 

Gillespie offered tough positions on immigration, supported the retention of Confederate monuments and made football players' protest campaigns an issue. Northam, a moderate Democrat, won the election by about 9 percentage points.

Trump, who supported Gillespie in the campaign, quickly hedged his endorsement after Northam's win.

"Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for," he tweeted. "With the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!"

Tuesday's were the first nationwide elections under the Trump administration.

Democrats also made gains in Virginia's legislative House of Delegates, where all 100 seats were up for vote.

Winners included Dawn Adams, the state's first openly lesbian delegate; Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala, Virginia's first Latina delegate winners; Kathy Tran, the first Asian-American delegate; socialist Lee Carter; and transgender Danica Roem, who defeated social conservative Robert Marshall. Roem called Marshall "a mirror" of Trump, and Marshall had referred to himself as the state's "chief homophobe" throughout the campaign.

The progressive cause also succeeded in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy easily defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno -- possibly hampered by her association with outgoing Gov. Chris Christie, who saw historic levels of unpopularity toward the end of his tenure. He is also a prominent member of Trump's circle of advisers.

Democrats will also hold, if not increase, their majorities in both of New Jersey's legislatures.

Republicans didn't lose any grip on their control in Congress, however. In an expected win, John Curtis easily defeated Democrat Kathie Allen in Utah's 3rd House District, a seat vacated by Republican Rep. and oversight committee chairman Jason Cheffetz.

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