Democrats flipped their 38th and 39th GOP-held seats in state legislatures since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, beating out Republicans in two special elections on Tuesday night.
In New Hampshire, Democrat Phil Spagnuolo, a substance abuse coach, won in a district where Trump had defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a 54-41 margin, according to data provided by Daily Kos. Spagnuolo beat Republican candidate Les Cartier by a 54-46 percent margin.
“The voters in New Hampshire’s Belknap County District 3 elected Philip because of his commitment to fighting for the issues that matter to Laconia, like fighting the opioid crisis and building an economy that works for everyone,” Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said in a statement.
Spagnuolo is a founding member of a community recovery center, and New Hampshire is one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis. It leads the nation in overdose deaths per capita from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has largely replaced heroin.
Hours later in Connecticut, Democrat Phil Young made history by becoming the first Democrat to represent state House District 120 in 44 years. Young beat out Republican Bill Cabral to win the district 51-49 percent. In 2016, Clinton narrowly beat Trump by a 49-47 margin, though she carried the state by close to 14 points, the Daily Beast notes.
“As an advocate for fiscal responsibility while serving as Majority Leader of the Stratford Town Council, voters know [Young will] do the same for them in the Connecticut House,” Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
Young, who has been a resident of Stratford, Connecticut, for nearly four decades, campaigned on school funding, environmental protection and fighting the opioid crisis. He quit his job as a full-time chef to run for the seat.