Ten GW Alumni Ran for Congress, Seven Won

Gil Cisneros's victory in California marked the seventh successful congressional campaign in the midterm elections for former GW students.

November 8, 2018

U.S. Capitol

(William Atkins/GW Today)

By Tatyana Hopkins

***UPDATED, November 19***

The Associated Press has declared Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros, B.A. ’94, the winner of his congressional race against Republican Young Kim in California’s 39th District. He will be the seventh former GW student to be sworn-in on Jan. 3, 2019, as part the 116th Congress.

The district includes part of Los Angeles and Orange and San Bernardino counties. The congressional district’s incumbent, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), is retiring. Mr. Cisneros’ win concluded the last undecided race in the state.

He previously trailed Ms. Kim by about 4,000 votes. Now, state election results show Mr. Cisneros took 50.8 percent of the vote while Ms. Kim took 49.2 percent.

Mr. Cisneros helped establish the GW Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, which seeks to cultivate scholars and research focused on the Latino community. The institute encompasses a pre-college summer program, college scholarship and mentorship opportunities and a post-doctoral fellowship.

Here are the results, race by race:

Julia Brownley, B.A. ’75: California’s 26th District

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), B.A. ‘75, who ran in a Malibu-centered California district, beat her Republican opponent, soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr. She won 59.4 percent of the vote, while Mr. Sabato took 40.6 percent, according to California’s Board of Elections.

Neal Dunn, M.D. ’79: Florida’s 2nd District

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), M.D. ’79, defeated Democratic opponent Bob Rackleff with 67.45 percent of the vote in the Florida panhandle district, according to Florida election data.

William Timmons, B.A. ’06: South Carolina’s 4th District

Republican William Timmons, B.A. ’06, beat former higher education administrator Brandon Brown in the upstate congressional district. Mr. Timmons will replace Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who has served since 2011. Mr. Timmons captured 59.61 percent of the vote, according to state election results.

Susan Wild, J.D. ’82: Pennsylvania’s 7th District

After keeping a narrow lead in the polls before the election, Democratic candidate Susan Wild, J.D. ’82, won against Republican opponent Marty Nothstein. The two competed in the Allentown, Pa., area where incumbent Republican Rep. Charlie Dent retired and where courts recently redrew district lines. According to the New York Times, Ms. Wild took 53.4 percent of the vote.

Darren Soto, J.D. ’04: Florida’s 9th District

In a Florida district just south of Orlando, incumbent Rep. Darren Soto, (D-Fla.), J.D. ’04, took 58.01 percent of the votes in his race against Republican challenger Wayne Liebnitzky, according to state election results.

Elizabeth Warren: Massachusetts Senate Race

In the Senate, former GW student Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) defeated Geoff Diehl, the former state campaign co-chair for President Donald Trump. With 99 percent of precincts reported, Ms. Warren has 60.4 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times.

Gretchen Driskell, M.B.A. ’87: Michigan’s 7th District

Gretchen Driskell, M.B.A. ’87, lost in her second attempt to unseat Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) in the state’s southeastern congressional district. State election results show Mr. Walberg with 53.81 percent of the vote, with Ms. Driskell earning 46.19 percent.

Tatiana Matta: California’s 23rd District

Democrat Tatiana Matta, who completed work toward her master’s degree in strategic public relations in spring 2018, lost her bid to unseat incumbent House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who won 66.5 percent of the vote in the district that includes parts of Los Angeles.

Morgan Murtaugh, B.A. ‘15: California’s 53rd District

Republican Morgan Murtaugh, B.A. ’15, was projected by The Associated Press to lose her race against incumbent Susan Davis (D-Calif.) in the San Diego County district by a margin of about 2 to 1.

Two alumni who are members of the current Congress—Rep. John J. Duncan (R-Tenn.), J.D. ’73, and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), M.S. ’74 — are retiring when their terms end in early January 2019.