POLITICS

US Election Day roundup: Democratic Gov. Beshear reelected in Kentucky

Nov 7, 2023, 7:47 PM | Updated: 9:54 pm

Incumbent Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at his last campaign stop before the electio...

Incumbent Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at his last campaign stop before the election on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: Michael Swensen, Getty Images)

(Photo: Michael Swensen, Getty Images)

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear reelected to second term in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection to a second term Tuesday, notching another significant statewide victory in an increasingly red state that could serve as a model for other Democrats on how to thrive politically heading into next year’s defining presidential election.

“Tonight, Kentucky made a choice, a choice not to move to the right or to the left but to move forward for every single family,” he told supporters following his win.

“It was a victory that sends a loud, clear message. A message that candidates should run for something and not against someone. That a candidate should show vision and not sow division. And a clear statement that anger politics should end right here and right now.”

Beshear, 45, rode his stewardship over record economic growth and his handling of multiple disasters, from tornadoes and floods to the COVID-19 pandemic, to victory over Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a protégé of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In what could be a preview of how Democrats campaign in 2024, Beshear hammered Cameron throughout the campaign for his support of the state’s sweeping abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Cameron, in his concession speech, quipped: “Well, that didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it to.” He said he called Beshear to congratulate his former law firm colleague on his hard-fought victory.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves wins second term in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves won a second term Tuesday in the conservative state where his party dominates.

Reeves defeated challenger Brandon Presley, who raised more money and made an aggressive push to give Democrats a rare statewide victory in the Deep South.

“Mississippi has momentum, and this is Mississippi’s time,” Reeves told cheering supporters at a party in the Jackson suburb of Flowood, reflecting the main theme of his campaign.

Image: Republican Gov. Tate Reeves speaks in Bolton, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2023.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves speaks in Bolton, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2023. (File photo: Rogelio V. Solis, AP)

The mood at Presley’s party in Jackson, the capital city, was somber as he said hours after the polls closed: “Tonight’s a setback, but we’re not going to lose hope … This campaign elevated issues that had to be elevated in Mississippi.”

The race was unusually competitive for this GOP stronghold. But Reeves prevailed with a message focused on job creation, low unemployment and improvements in education. He also cast Presley as a liberal backed by out-of-state donors who were out of step with Mississippi. Presley is a state utility regulator and second cousin of Elvis Presley.

“For you to believe Brandon Presley in anything that he says, you’ve got to believe that everything in Mississippi is bad,” Reeves said last week during the candidates’ only debate.

Ohio voters pass constitutional amendment protecting access to abortion

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that ensures access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, the latest victory for abortion rights supporters since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Ohio became the seventh state where voters decided to protect abortion access after the landmark ruling and was the only state to consider a statewide abortion rights question this year.

“The future is bright, and tonight we can celebrate this win for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights,” Lauren Blauvelt, co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, which led support for the amendment, told a jubilant crowd of supporters.

The outcome of the intense, off-year election could be a bellwether for 2024, when Democrats hope the issue will energize their voters and help President Joe Biden keep the White House. Voters in Arizona, Missouri and elsewhere are expected to vote on similar protections next year.

Image: Supporters of Issue 1 cheer at a watch party on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.

Supporters of Issue 1 cheer at a watch party on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Sue Ogrocki, AP)

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issued statements celebrating the amendment’s win, emphasizing that attempts to ban or severely restrict abortion represent a minority view across the country. Harris hinted at how the issue would likely be central to Democrats’ campaigning next year for Congress and the presidency, saying “extremists are pushing for a national abortion ban that would criminalize reproductive health care in every single state in our nation.”

Virginia Dems sweep elections after campaigning on abortion rights

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Democrats who campaigned on protecting abortion rights swept Tuesday’s legislative elections, retaking full control of the General Assembly after two years of divided power.

The outcome is a sharp loss for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who exerted a great deal of energy, money and political capital on an effort to secure a GOP trifecta.

“It’s official: there will be absolutely no abortion ban legislation sent to Glenn Youngkin’s desk for the duration of his term in office, period, as we have thwarted MAGA Republicans’ attempt to take total control of our government and our bodies,” Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said in a statement referencing Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Virginia was one of just four states holding legislative races this year, and it’s something of a microcosm of other closely divided states that will be critical in next year’s presidential election. That fueled outsized interest in the legislative races, as both parties closely monitored the results for signs about voter moods heading into the 2024 campaign.

With a full statehouse majority, Democrats will have even greater leeway to thwart Youngkin’s policy agenda, though they will have to work with him to advance their own.

Philadelphia’s 100th mayor will be first woman to hold the post

Voters elected women for the first time to lead Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s second-largest county, installing Cherelle Parker as the 100th mayor of the state’s largest city and Sara Innamorato as executive of the county that includes Pittsburgh.

Image: Democrat Cherelle Parker is seen during a debate with Philadelphia Republican mayoral candidate David Oh at KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia on Oct. 26, 2023.

Democrat Cherelle Parker is seen during a debate with Philadelphia Republican mayoral candidate David Oh at KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia on Oct. 26, 2023. (File photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

The races will set the electoral stage for 2024, when Pennsylvania will be a presidential battleground state, with candidates taking lessons about how Democrats see crime and the strength of progressives in local races. into the next election cycle.

Parker, 51, who has held office at the state and local level after first becoming involved in politics as a teenager, emerged from a crowded field of Democrats in the May primary and was heavily favored over Republican David Oh in the Democratic stronghold. She will replace Democrat Jim Kenney, who was ineligible for reelection due to term limits.

She campaigned on a promise to make Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, greenest big city in the nation that will provide access to economic opportunity for all.”

Parker, who served for 10 years as a state representative for northwest Philadelphia before her election to the city council in 2015, touted herself as a leader whose government experience would allow her to address gaping problems in the city.

Exonerated ‘Central Park Five’ member Salaam wins New York City Council seat

Exonerated “Central Park Five” member Yusef Salaam won a seat Tuesday on the New York City Council, completing a stunning reversal of fortune decades after he was wrongly imprisoned in an infamous rape case.

Salaam, a Democrat, will represent a central Harlem district on the City Council, having run unopposed for the seat in one of many local elections held across New York state Tuesday. He won his primary election in a landslide.

The victory comes more than two decades after DNA evidence was used to overturn the convictions of Salaam and four other Black and Latino men in the 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. Salaam was arrested at age 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years.

“For me, this means that we can really become our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” Salaam said in an interview before the election.

Ohio becomes 24th state to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters approved a measure legalizing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, defying Republican legislative leaders who had failed to pass the proposed law.

Passage of Issue 2 makes Ohio the 24th state to allow adult cannabis use for non-medical purposes.

“Marijuana is no longer a controversial issue,” said Tom Haren, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Ohioans demonstrated this by passing State Issue 2 in a landslide. Ohioans are being extremely clear on the future they want for our state: adult-use marijuana legal and regulated.”

The new law will allow adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow plants at home. A 10% tax will be imposed on purchases, to be spent on administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries and social equity and jobs programs supporting the industry itself.

The election’s outcome represents a blow to GOP lawmakers, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and business and manufacturing organizations concerned about its impact on workplace and traffic safety.

Editors’ note: This piece contains news updates from The Associated Press curated by MyNorthwest editors.

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US Election Day roundup: Democratic Gov. Beshear reelected in Kentucky