The November mid-term elections are 284 days away (yes, we're counting), but important results are already emerging in several states, thanks to special elections. In what is seen as a sign of shifting tides, Patty Schachtner won Wisconsin's 10th Senate District special election, marking the first time in 17 years a Democrat won that district. Schachter campaigned on universal issues framed through a local lens, calling for increased education spending in school districts decimated by Governor Walker's budget cuts. To the relief of many, Schachtner hardly mentioned Trump, who won the district by 17 points in 2016. This makes Schachtner part of a growing movement in campaigning: ignore the distraction-in-chief, and make local races just that—local.  This strategy is proving effective in Pennsylvania's upcoming special election for the 18th Congressional District, too. The race between Republican State Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has become competitive in a reliably conservative district. While Lamb is focused on local issues, like the heroin epidemic, Saccone has welcomed Trump's support and spends more time on rhetoric than policy details. Saccone's extreme views on multiple issues are, frankly, terrifying (didn't we agree a long time ago that torture wasn’t cool?). Whether these races prove to be bellwethers for the midterms is yet to be seen and all that talk is missing the point. We are keeping an eye on whether focusing on local concerns will continue to shake local elections.

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