The Blue Wave crashed on the eastern shores of Florida on Tuesday evening, as Democrat Margaret Good won a highly contested special election and flipped yet another legislature seat from red to blue. Good — who received support from Progressives Everywhere readers — beat James Buchanan, the son of Rep. Vern Buchanan, for the right to represent House District 72 in the Florida legislature. The in gives Democrats their 36th new state house seat since the beginning of last year.
What’s more, not only was HD72 previously represented by a Republican, it also voted for Donald Trump. The Sarasota-area district went 51-46 for Trump, but like so many other local constituencies, turned to a Democratic candidate after a disastrous year. Good won by 52-45 margin, a 12 point swing that made her victory an unquestionable sign that Democrats are primed and ready to swamp the polls come November.
In fact, Good’s was the second major victory for the Democrats this week. On Monday night, Karla Bigham — another Progressives Everywhere endorsee — won her race for the State Senate in Minnesota, keeping Democrats one seat away from retaking the chamber.
These are obviously huge wins, and we need to keep the momentum going. There are several more special elections coming this month, including two in Kentucky. Next week will feature a race shaped by tragedy, making it a grim but important pickup opportunity.
In December, Dan Johnson, the GOP representative for the 49th House District in Kentucky, took his own life after news broke that he was accused of molesting a friend of his daughter’s during a sleepover, when the friend was just 17 years old.
He was controversial long before that — he had made racist Facebook posts and made up all kinds of lies, including claims that he worked in the White House and set up a morgue and blessed bodies for weeks after 9/11. Now his wife is running to take over his seat, facing off against Linda Belcher, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Johnson as the incumbent in 2016. She’s hoping to return to Frankfort after a year off, and we can help make it happen.
Another race in Kentucky involves a teacher running for a previously uncontested Republican seat. We spotlighted several teachers running for office in Kentucky a few weeks ago, and a now a librarian, Kelly Smith, is running in District 89. Her election is on February 27th, and just a little bit of money could make a big difference. She’s in a solid red district, but a good Democratic showing could at the very least begin the long climb back to parity in states like Kentucky.
Smith has a very progressive platform, and that’s important in Kentucky, where Gov. Matt Bevin is rolling back access to healthcare and cutting school budgets. Notably, she’s also focused on gun control, a bold position to have in Kentucky.