WASHINGTON, DC – The day after Election Day brought pleasant news for several Greek-American members of Congress, with four of five being re-elected, and the fifth ahead in a very tight race.
In particular, Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, Gus Bilirakis, John Sarbanes, and Chris Pappas emerged unscathed from their electoral battles, renewing their terms – and their commitments to the promotion of Greek national issues in Congress.
Things are still up in the air, however, for the longtime Representative from the 1st Congressional District of Nevada, Dina Titus. With 88% of the vote counted at the time this article was written, she was slightly ahead of her Republican opponent, Mark Robertson, but votes are still being counted.
RED WAVE WANES
The main story for America, however, is that predictions of a ‘red wave’ of Republican victories locking up control of the House and Senate for the GOP and crippling President Joe Biden’s agenda over the final two years of his term failed to materialize – as was the case with the widely forecast ‘blue wave’ of Democrat victories in the 2020 elections, the challenges to pollsters continuing.
The Associated Press reported, “razor-thin margins around the country left control of Congress still undetermined Wednesday, but Democrats showed surprising strength in the midterm election, topping Republicans in a series of competitive races and defying expectations that high inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings would drag his party to key defeats. In the most heartening news for Democrats, John Fetterman flipped Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate seat that’s key to the party’s hopes of maintaining control of the chamber.”
The Fetterman victory over Dr. Mehmet Oz result was heartening news as well for Greek- and Cypriot-Americans as Oz, with strong emotional ties to Turkey and reported ties to its president, would have been the first person of Turkish descent to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Hopes that the Greek-American delegation in the House of Representatives would remain at five after the departure of Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist were dashed as Republican Alek Skarlatos was defeated in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.
In other races where winners have been declared, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist was defeated in Florida, as expected, Republican incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis. In the 12th Congressional District of the same State, Gus Bilirakis prevailed with a significant margin over Democrat Kimberly Walker. With 97% of the votes counted, Bilirakis won more than 70% of them. In New York’s 11th Congressional District Republican Nicole Malliotakis was declared the winner long before the count was completed. With 91% of election precincts reporting, she led her opponent, former Congressman Max Rose by 62-38%. It should be noted that in 2020, Malliotakis, in her first Federal election, won by a small margin. This time pollsters had her pegged for a victory for weeks, however, despite early polls predicting a tough race.
In Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District John Sarbanes, maintaining a margin of more than 10 percentage points throughout the vote counting period, was re-elected for another term in Congress, defeating Yuripzy Morgan, and in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, Chris Pappas, after a stormy campaign, emerged victorious over his Republican opponent, Caroline Levit. Pappas was considered one of the Democratic Party’s most vulnerable representatives, and his victory was met with satisfaction all around, in both Democratic and Hellenic circles.
ANOTHER MENENDEZ GOES TO WASHINGTON
Robert Menendez Jr. – the son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, the Philhellene Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee – won his race with a comfortable margin, being declared the winner in the 8th District of New Jersey against the Republican Marcos Arroyo.
ALEXI GIANNOULIAS ELECTED IN ILLINOIS
Alexi Giannoulias was elected Secretary of State of Illinois with 55% of the vote. He had previously served as State Treasurer, and as a close friend of President Barack Obama, he reportedly was instrumental in persuading the latter to strongly support Greece during its economic crisis.
NEW YORK STATE
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris was re-elected in an uncontested race as was Assemblyman Michael Tannousis. State Senator Andrew Gounardes also won re-election handily with 79% of the vote. Assemblyman John Lemondes was declared the winner in his bid for re-election. In the race for state senator in District 42, the votes were also still being counted at press time with incumbent Democrat James Skoufis slightly ahead of Republican challenger Dorey Houle with 95% of the voted in.
Susan Bysiewicz was re-elected Lt. Governor and in the Connecticut State House, incumbent Nicole Klarides-Ditria, a Republican, won uncontested in District 105. The race is too close to call – in fact, it is a virtual tie after 95% of the vote was tabulated – in District 81 where Democrat Christopher Poulos faced Republican Tony Morrison. Eleni Kavros DeGraw won her State Representative contest
Rhode Island incumbent State Senator Leonidas Raptakis also won an uncontested race. Independent candidate for Rhode Island State House District 46 Angelo Kapsimalis was trailing with 95% of the votes counted.
At press time The National Herald was also aware of the following results:
In Delaware Spiros Mantzavinos won his State Senate race. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas secured a seventh term in Illinois. In Massachusetts Democratic State Senator John Velis won, as did Republican State Representative Steven Xiarhos, and in neighboring New Hampshire two Hellenes with the same last name, Alicia Lekas Rand Tony Lekas – both are Republicans – are in a virtual dead heat after 95% of the ballots were counted. In Pennsylvania Steven Malagari successfully defended his seat in the State House of Representatives. In Wisconsin John Spiros ran unopposed and will return to the State Assembly. In Wyoming State Republican State Senator Stephan Pappas held on to his seat for a third term Tuesday night. Democrat Sandra Pappas was easily re-elected to the Minnesota State Senate. In Georgia Republicans Mike Efstration and Mike Cheokas were re-elected to the State House, and in Massachusetts Republican Bruce Tarr won.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.