Columbia graduates headlined ballots in New York and nationwide in the midterm elections on Tuesday.
Letitia James, SIPA ‘03, broke multiple barriers to become the first African-American and first woman elected to the position of New York Democratic Attorney General. James served previously as the New York City Public Advocate, and was the first African-American woman to hold citywide office. James, who was endorsed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has committed to pursuing criminal justice reform and continuing the office’s close scrutiny of President Trump.
Columbia attendee Julia Salazar won her race in New York’s 18th senatorial district. However, Salazar’s Democratic socialist campaign came under scrutiny after a series of interviews and reports brought her personal narrative as a left-wing Democrat with an Ivy league degree into question. Initially registered as a Republican at Columbia, Salazar rallied behind pro-Israel and pro-life causes on campus. However, according to the New York Times, Salazar also did not graduate from Columbia.
Columbia alumni also featured on ballots across the country, notably in Texas, where Beto O’Rourke, CC ’95, narrowly lost to incumbent Ted Cruz in the race for a Senate seat. While at Columbia, O’Rourke was a member of the heavyweight rowing team and was active in the campus rock scene.
In Michigan, Democrat Elissa Slotkin, MPA ’93, defeated Republican Mike Bishop to win Michigan’s 8th congressional district seat. Slotkin, previously a CIA -analyst, ran on a platform of that emphasized the need for affordable healthcare and gun control.
Ben Jealous, CC ’94, ran as a Democrat for the Governorship of Maryland, having won winning the Democratic nomination in the June primary. However, Jealous lost in the midterm election to incumbent governor Republican Larry Hogan.