Yesterday was election day and while Democrats did well nationally, not much changed in Dutchess County. Republican Marc Molinaro remains our County Executive, the County Legislature remains in Republican hands, and Republican Bill Grady appears to have won a narrow victory for County DA. To prove the point that every vote counts, the race for county legislator in District 11, including Rhinebeck and Clinton, appears to have been won by one vote. Incumbent Democrat Brennan Kearney garnered 2,165 while Republican challenger Howard Traudt received 2,164. Seems likely that this race will be recounted or contested or whatever county candidates do when the margin of victory is a single vote. But it should also be a wake-up call that Liberals and Progressives need to continue to organize and expand in Dutchess County.
In the next day or two we will see more analysis of the turnout and the voting trends in our county (and neighboring counties), but for now it seems that Dutchess remains, on balance, a red county.
On the national stage, a Democrat beat the unpopular incumbent Republican in the race for Governor of Kentucky. Democrat Andy Beshar beat Matt Bevin by about five-thousand votes. While other state-wide Kentucky races were won by Republicans, the state should be solidly red and it’s not, which has big implications for next year’s Senate race between “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and challenger Amy McGrath. McConnell should be very concerned by Beshar’s win.
The other important outcome occurred in Virginia where, despite Republican attempts at extreme gerrymandering, Democrats managed to win control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in 25 years. Democrats only needed to flip two seats to take the Virginia House of Delegates but managed to pick up at least five (with several still too close to call). The Governor was already a Democrat, so many experts were concluding that Virginia has morphed from a purple state to a solidly blue state.
One thing seemed clear from this election. Democrats suffered no impeachment penalty at the polls. In fact, the Virginia and Kentucky outcomes suggest that, if anything, the Democrats received an impeachment bonus. This could have huge national implications for the 2020 election.
On the subject of impeachment, more massive news broke yesterday. The millionaire Republican who bought an ambassadorship to the EU, Gordon Sondland, “updated” his congressional testimony in light of disclosures from other witnesses, contending that he now recalls that Trump did, indeed, condition aid to the Ukraine on their providing dirt on the Bidens and their making a public announcement of such. In other words, Sondland affirmed that Trump was demanding a quid pro quo. Sondland apparently decided that he would rather tell the truth than face perjury charges. Recall that Sondland was the one Trump official whose testimony didn’t fit with all the others and Trump made much of this, lying that Sondland’s initial testimony proved there was no quid pro quo. Trump’s alternate version of events no longer has a backer.
We also learned yesterday from newly released deposition testimony that Trump operatives produced a script for Ukraine President Zelensky to read when making the asked-for public announcement that Ukraine was investigating the Bidens. The Ukraine bribery/extortion shakedown wasn’t just a phone call. It was a coordinated plan carried out by a team led by Rudy Giuliani that included an actual script of what they wanted Zelensky to say. This is highly damning and incriminating stuff.
Bribery is explicitly outlined in the Constitution as a basis for impeachment.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office” if he isn’t removed first. As we’ve seen, every vote counts.