After the midterm election results, future Democratic candidates in tough races might hope that the national media completely ignore their campaigns, lest they find themselves in the same position as Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and, probably, Stacey Abrams.
All three were affectionately covered as part of the unrealized “blue wave,” but both O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Texas, and Gillum, the Democratic nominee in Florida’s gubernatorial race, lost to a Republican. Votes are still being counted in Georgia but Abrams looks set to lose her governor’s race, as well.
The media called O’Rourke “a rock star,” “Kennedyesque,” and “cool.” Yet Sen. Ted Cruz, universally reviled in Washington, handily won re-election.
When President Trump called Gillum “a stone cold thief” over allegations of corruption during his tenure as Tallahassee mayor, the press attempted to run interference for Gillum, calling it “racist.”
He conceded his race Tuesday night to Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Oprah Winfrey knocked on doors for Abrams, and the New York Times hailed her for her “pragmatism.”
Though Abrams has yet to accept defeat to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Associated Press has Kemp with just more than 50 percent of the vote, the requirement to avoid a run-off election in December.
The national media’s emotional investment in competitive races rarely pays off.
Ask Jon Ossoff, former Democratic House candidate for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The media hyped him as a prophet of the "Resistance" and he failed.
Coincidentally, the Republican he tried defeating in a special election last year, Karen Handel, lost her re-election campaign Tuesday to Lucy McBath, someone you probably are just now hearing about.
Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race, another one that went under the radar, resulted in a win for Tony Evers, who ousted former Republican star Scott Walker.
The national media can turn Democrats into stars. But it doesn’t win them races.