2019 Elections Roundup

Election Day 2019 was a big victory for working families. Across the country, voters elected pro-worker candidates for state and local government, providing further evidence of growing political momentum for working people. Working families elected candidates who support worker rights, greater access to health care, expanding voting rights, making it easier for workers to form unions, providing quality public services and more.

In Minnesota, the overwhelming majority of AFSCME-endorsed candidates won their elections.

  • In a critical special election for the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, AFSCME-endorsed Nicole Joy Frethem defeated former anti-worker legislator Randy Jessup to represent Ramsey County’s District 1.
  • Bloomington elected pro-labor Tim Busse as Mayor and elected endorsed candidates Jenna Carter, Dwayne Lowman, and Shawn Nelson to the City Council.
  • Six of seven endorsed candidates for St. Paul City Council won their elections, including Nelsie Yang, who became the first Hmong woman elected to the Council.
  • In Duluth, Mayor Emily Larson won a second term, and endorsed candidates Janet Kennedy and Arik Forsman were elected to the Duluth City Council.
  • All of the endorsed candidates for school board in St. Paul and two of three endorsed candidates in Duluth won their races.

Beyond Minnesota, AFSCME members helped achieve three huge pro-worker victories. After decades of partisan stagnation, Virginia elected the most pro-worker legislature in a generation. In Kentucky, voters rejected their divisive, staunchly pro-Trump governor and elected Democrat Andy Beshear, who ran on protecting health care and workers’ rights to collectively bargain. A week later, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was reelected, delivering yet another defeat to Republican candidates who campaigned on President Trump’s coattails.

Here are even more highlights from across the country this election season:

  • In Pennsylvania, AFSCME-endorsed candidates won big in Philadelphia, including Mayor Jim Kenney, who won re-election in a landslide. And in the highly contested races for the city’s seven council at-large seats, all five of the AFSCME-endorsed candidates came out on top.
  • In Arizona, AFSCME-endorsed Tucson mayoral candidate Regina Romero rolled over her general election opponent (an independent) 55.7%-39.7%, becoming the city’s first Latina mayor.
  • In Texas, all AFSCME-endorsed candidates for the Houston City Council were successful. Three candidates won outright and four others made it to a December runoff, including HOPE Local 123 member Sandra Rodriguez.
  • In New Jersey, AFSCME members worked hard to protect large, pro-worker majorities in the state legislature. Members also succeeded in winning a number of local races across the Garden State, especially in Mercer County, where they were particularly active.

These victories defy all the odds, and they tell a story that is impossible to ignore: pro-worker candidates are winning everywhere, up and down the ballot.

Hundreds of AFSCME members made these victories possible through one-on-one conversations with voters and get-out-the-vote campaigns. But the work is far from over – 2020 will be a turning point in our nation’s history, and the results of next year’s election will impact our workplaces and communities in countless ways. Rest up, members – we’ve got a lot of work ahead!