NEW YORK – Greek and Philhellene candidates made a solid showing in the federal and state elections on November 6, with the Greek-American presence not only being preserved but also strengthened.
In particular, in the House of Representatives, there are now six Greek-Americans, since Dina Titus (D-Nevada), Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), MichaelWaltz (R- Florida), Charlie Christ (D- Florida), John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) and Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) won their respective races.
The big news was, of course, the victory of the young Pappas, who, after a very close race, prevailed with 53.5% against 45.1% of Eddie Edwards. Pappas is the first openly gay representative in Congress for New Hampshire.
In the 12th District of Florida, Gus Bilirakis gathered 58.1% with 194,383 votes against his Democratic rival, Chris Hunter, who won 132,632 votes and 39.6%. In this way, Bilirakis was reelected, in spite of tough competition and an opponent who raised more funds.
In the 13th district, Charlie Christreceived 57.6% and 185,263 votes against 42% and 134,183 for Republican, George Buck. In the 6th District, the news was good for the candidate of Greek descent, Michael Waltz, the Republican who beat opponent, Nancy Schoenberg (56.3% – 43.7%).
In Maryland, John Sarbanes was a favorite over Charles Anthony and was re-elected by a comfortable majority after receiving 68.6% against 28.8% for his Republican counterpart.
Dina Titus’ win in Nevada was secured with 66% of the vote to citing Republican Joyce Bentley’s 34%.
On the contrary, for the Senate, the unpleasant news for the Greek community came from the State of Wisconsin, where Republican Leah Papachristou-Vukmir lost to Democratic Tammy Baldwin. In the State of New York, Professor Anthony Pappas suffered an overwhelming defeat by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with 13.8% against 78%.
Nonetheless, Democrat Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey, a philhellene and a longtime supporter of Greek national affairs, won the big fight against Republican Bob Hugin. Although initially trailing, Menendez prevailed with 53.1% (1,470,229 votes) against 43.7% (1,210,698).
In California, Democrat and former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis became the first female Lt. Governor, beating fellow Democrat Ed Hernandez, with close to 57%. In Connecticut, Susan Bysiewicz, of Greek and Polish descent, also takes over the position of Lt. Governor, after the thriller for the Democratic candidate for Governor, Ned Lamont. The counting of the ballots lasted until 6 in the morning, as the electronic ballots got wet, so the counting was done manually.
Five Greek-Americans Win in State Elections
Positive results for the Greek-Americancandidates in the state legislatures. In New York, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, had secured their re-election early on, since they ran unopposed in Tuesday’s elections.
The toughest battle was fought by Andrew Gounardes, former Counsel to the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Democratic candidatefor the State Senate. Gounardis,will join Mr. Gianaris, having prevailed with 51%, against 49% for his Republican rival,the incumbent 8-term State Senator Marty Golden.
In the New York State Assembly, Republican Nicole Malliotakis had a comfortable majority against her opponent (Adam Baumel), with 61% against 39%. Assemblymembers Simotas and Malliotakis will be joined by a third Greek-American, James Skoufis, who scored a clear victory against his opponent, Tom Basile.
In Rhode Island, Leonidas Raptakis will continue his consistent presence in the State, with 55% of the vote, without being particularly at risk from Republican Scott Copley. In contrast, in Ohio, Republican Jim Trakas lost with 49% against 51% for his Democratic rival Phil Robinson. In his post on Facebook, Trakas congratulated his opponent,“Congratulations to Phil Robinson, District 6’s new State Representative. Phil ran a great race and put his heart and soul into it. Best wishes to our new State Representative.”
In the two races for State Auditors, Zack Space was defeated in Ohio, but Kathy Kromedas McGuinness won in Delaware. In her social media post, she noted that “the work starts now.”
Republican Erika Harold was defeated in the race for Illinois Attorney General by Democratic State Senator Kwame Raoul, while in Connecticut Eleni Kavros DeGraw failed to be elected after losing the battle to Republican Leslee Hill.
Judge Helen Voutsinas Elected to New York Supreme Court
Judge Helen Voutsinas was elected to the Supreme Court of New York, in the 10th District, taking first place on the single ballot for the 14 candidate judges vying for the 7 open positions.
In particular, Judge Voutsinas received 12.97% and 801,939 votes, with a marginal difference from the second place finisher, Judge Ruth C. Balkin.