“Republican support in the suburbs has basically collapsed under Trump,” Republican strategist Alex Conant said. “Somehow, we need to find a way to regain our suburban support over the next year.”
The stakes are undoubtably high. While neither Virginia nor Kentucky is likely to be a critical battleground in the presidential race next year, Tuesday’s results confirm a pattern repeated across critical swing states — outside of Philadelphia, Detroit and Charlotte, North Carolina. They’re also sure to rattle Republican members of Congress searching for a path to victory through rapidly shifting territory.
To be sure, Republicans demonstrated their firm grip on rural areas, and turnout for both sides appeared to be healthy for off-year elections. Notably, Kentucky’s voters elected Republicans to a handful of other statewide offices. In Mississippi, another Trump stronghold, Republicans kept their hold on the governor’s office, as Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defended well-funded Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.
But the GOP’s challenge was laid bare in places like Virginia’s Henrico County just outside Richmond.