Lori Lightfoot: A Defeat Marked by Missteps
Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election campaign, which pitted her against current Mayor Brandon Johnson, was characterized by a series of self-inflicted wounds. Lightfoot faced intense criticism over the city’s rising rate of violent crime and drew bipartisan blowback for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including clashes with progressives and the teachers union.
Glenn Youngkin: From Upset Victory to Political Stardom
Glenn Youngkin’s surprising win over former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2021 catapulted him into the political spotlight. The Republican governor, known for his focus on parental rights, was immediately touted as a potential future presidential candidate. However, Youngkin’s reputation hinged on Republicans winning the full Virginia legislature, a goal that fell short when Democrats flipped the Virginia House of Delegates while retaining control of the state Senate.
Susanna Gibson: A Promising Campaign Derailed
One Virginia Democrat who experienced a disappointing election cycle was Susanna Gibson, a nurse practitioner running for a swing seat in the House of Delegates. Just weeks before Election Day, revelations emerged about Gibson and her husband broadcasting explicit content on social media for financial gain. These revelations ultimately contributed to Gibson’s loss in the Richmond-area seat by a margin of less than 1,000 votes.
Rashida Tlaib: A Controversial Stance on Israel
Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan has long been a vocal critic of the Israeli government, aligning herself with a growing faction of progressives who challenge the traditional pro-Israel stance within the Democratic Party. Tlaib faced isolation this year due to her response to Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel and its subsequent military response. Her controversial stance on the war in Gaza resulted in a bipartisan rebuke in November.
George Santos: Scandals and Expulsion
Former House Rep. George Santos, a Republican from New York, made headlines this year for a range of colorful scandals, including federal charges of wire fraud and allegations of responsibility for the death of a military veteran’s dog due to negligence. Santos’ credibility unraveled further when it was revealed that he had lied about his education, work experience, and ancestry. The final blow to Santos’ career came with criminal charges related to campaign fund misuse, leading to his expulsion from Congress by a two-thirds majority vote on December 1.
Joe Biden: Challenges and Low Poll Numbers
This year has been a test for President Joe Biden as he grapples with various challenges and struggles to improve his low poll numbers. Despite promoting key victories such as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Biden continues to face doubts about his fitness for another four years in the White House. Questions about his age and allegations of profiting from his role as vice president, combined with progressive discontent over his support for Israel during the conflict with Hamas, have led to gloomy forecasts for his re-election prospects.
Kevin McCarthy: From Ousted Speaker to Uncertain Future
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican congressman from California, began 2023 with a grueling battle for the speaker’s gavel, enduring 15 rounds of voting across three days. On December 14, he officially became the speaker but had fewer than a dozen lawmakers present in the House chamber. McCarthy described it as a “bittersweet” end to his career in Congress, having made history in October as the first ousted speaker. He announced in December that he would be leaving Congress altogether, but he remains optimistic about his future. McCarthy plans to remain influential in GOP fundraising and could potentially return to government in the future.