AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley
While the prevailing mainstream narrative following the off-year elections earlier this month has been one of an overwhelming Democrat victory, several under-the-radar but nonetheless shocking defeats for radical anti-law and order liberal officeholders throughout the country suggests that Democrats could be far more vulnerable, particularly when it comes to issues of policing and upholding law and order, than the media is letting on.
What should be perhaps the most troubling result for the left-wing criminal justice “reform” movement came in Loudoun County, Virginia, where Republican Bob Anderson ousted incumbent District Attorney Buta Biberaj. Despite the county going for Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 61.5 percent to 36.5 percent in 2020 and for Democrat Terry McAuliffe over Glenn Youngkin by a margin of 55.3 percent to 44.2 percent in 2021, Anderson edged out Biberaj by exactly 300 votes in an otherwise disappointing night for Virginia Republicans.
Biberaj’s loss is also notable because she is one of a growing number of radical left-wing district attorneys backed by liberal megadonor George Soros who have been fired by voters in deep-blue areas in recent months. In 2019, Biberaj’s campaign accepted more than $800,000 from groups linked to Soros (an eye-watering sum for a local prosecutor race considering most candidates fail to raise more than $100,000) and she was heavily funded by Soros-backed entities and other liberal groups this time around as well.
However, voters were clearly fed up. Biberaj had racked up a number of scandals throughout her tenure, including her active participation in a secret Facebook group that plotted to intimidate and harass parents who spoke out at school board meetings. Biberaj also earned the ire of her community when she weaponized her office against Scott Smith, the father of a girl who was raped in a Loudoun County high school. (Biberaj infamously declined to prosecute the rapist until he sexually assaulted another girl.) A judge later booted Biberaj from Smith’s case, citing concerns about impartiality.
Another shocking upset came in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, six-time incumbent Democrat DA Stephen Zappala, a relative moderate compared to Soros-backed prosecutors like Biberaj, lost in a primary to far-left candidate Matt Dugan. Dugan is a former public defender who, according to the Washington Examiner, “advocated eliminating cash bail, lowering incarceration rates, and looking for ways other than criminal convictions to address nonviolent crimes often driven by addiction and mental illness.”
Despite the loss, Zappala remained undaunted. Seeing that no Republican had filed to run, Zappala launched a write-in campaign and earned the GOP nomination. Despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one in the county, Zappala managed to win back his seat and defeat Duggan.
Zappala’s victory, while not exactly an outright win for conservatives, was nonetheless a sign that a coalition of disaffected Democrats, Independents, and Republicans can hold the line against the advances of the left’s extreme criminal justice “reform” agenda.
In New York, which has been hit particularly hard by the nationwide crime crisis, both inside and outside of New York City, Republicans saw a string of historic successes.
In Broome County, which went for Biden 50.7 percent to 47.2 percent in 2020, Republican Paul Battisti defeated Democrat Matt Ryan.
In Suffolk County, situated on the eastern end of Long Island, Edward Romaine became the first Republican elected County Executive in 20 years.
In the Bronx – where Biden won 83 percent of the vote in 2020 – voters picked Republican Kirsty Marmorato over incumbent Democrat Marjorie Velazquez for city council.
New Yorkers also elected Carmella Mantello to be the first Republican mayor of Troy, a city of 50,000 located just outside Albany, in 30 years. In neighboring Saratoga Springs, John Stafford ousted incumbent Democrat Ron Kim to become the first GOP mayor in a decade. Both cities have crime rates significantly above both the national and state average.
These results on Election Day are a continuation of a trend seen since 2020. Biberaj became at least the 13th Soros-backed prosecutor to lose, quit, or be recalled since March of last year. Even Joe Biden – who ironically played a pivotal role in exacerbating the crime crisis in the first place – has warned Democrats that they have to get tougher on crime or face an electoral wipeout.
However, it remains unclear if many Democrats are willing to heed that warning. As the race in Allegheny County suggests, any Democrat who breaks with the far left’s vision for “reimagining” the criminal justice system faces the threat of a well-financed primary challenger.
If Republicans can continue to capitalize on this vulnerability and make the case for why and how conservative leadership will restore law and order, Democrats up and down the ballot could be in for a reckoning in 2024.
Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.