2018 Elections

Tuesday's elections in four states — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont — produced some noteworthy results.

Here are four takeaways:

1. It was a big night for Democratic diversity

Christine Hallquist, a former energy company executive, became the first openly transgender person to win a major party's nomination for governor. And the Democrat's candidacy may not be one just for the trivia books — she has a chance at winning this fall.

Rep. Keith Ellison easily won the Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general, the Associated Press projected, just hours after the Democratic National Committee said it is reviewing allegations of domestic abuse against Minnesota congressman, who also serves as the party's deputy chair.

In its first statement on the allegations against Ellison, the DNC tells NPR:

"These allegations recently came to light and we are reviewing them. All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously."

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Sue Campbell and her husband David stand under a tree at a dog park along a busy highway near Lake Hefner. Their dog is here, too — a 3-year-old ball of furry energy named Louie.

“Louie is a miniature schnauzer and Staffordshire terrier mix,” Sue said.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

About 100 teachers and school administrators filed for political office in the 2018 election. Most are not shy about supporting the first tax increase in nearly three decades, even though it’s a progressive political message in a deeply conservative state.

Pro-tax campaigns from educators seem to be resonating with voters in many parts of Oklahoma — but not everywhere.

Polarizing tax package

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Tyler Clifton collapses onto a couch after a long day at the furniture store he manages in downtown McAlester. It’s the same couch where he occasionally interviews people for Facebook videos he calls “The McAlester Leadership Series.”

“Everybody that's asked me about the leadership series, what eventually comes up is they say, ‘What's the motive behind it?’” Clifton said. “Well I didn't really have a motive behind it other than I wanted people in McAlester to know what their leaders were thinking, and I wanted to know, too, if I'm going to be here long term.”

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on behalf of 81 candidates for federal and state offices on Wednesday, his first major batch of endorsements for the 2018 midterm elections.

"I'm proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they're running to represent," Obama said in a statement.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

If you follow your nose to the back of Boots Cafe, you’ll run into swinging wood doors hanging underneath a metal script sign of the word ‘Blessed.’

Inside, you’ll find the kitchen and a staff of two, including owner Sylvia Wilson who immediately recites the days special: “We got loaded baked potatoes today, we got lasagna and salad …”

What if, this time around, a wave of foreign interference is aimed at helping Democrats take control of Congress?

It's an idea that has been batted around a great deal since 2016. It is based on the thesis that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't actually care about either party. What he wants is chaos, strife, deadlock and a corrosion of faith in U.S. political institutions.

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

People over 65 are the most likely to vote. They’re also the group that’s most likely to point to government issues — like mismanaged taxpayer money — as their biggest political concern, according to a poll commissioned by Oklahoma public radio stations.

Martha Buehring, a 71-year-old Republican and former military wife, is one of many older Oklahomans who are frustrated with the state budget.

In an election year shaping up to be a good one for Democratic women candidates, Republican women could see their numbers drop after November. But one state where GOP women might find success is in Tennessee.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn will go up against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in one of the year's most critical and competitive Senate races. Rep. Diane Black is running for governor, though she first has to win a very competitive primary next week.

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