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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Pay Attention: Big Election Doings Coming Shortly

Some nuggets from “The races to watch next week and why 2024 is already here” by Daily Kos Staff:

It’s not a midterm or a presidential year, but voters in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and other states all face important state or local elections, and everyone should watch closely to see what the results presage for 2024.

In blood-red Kentucky, Republicans are struggling to gain traction in the governor’s race, where popular Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear remains the favorite. Indeed, after months of trying to make “the radical transgender agenda” a thing, the Republican candidate is now claiming that “Andy Beshear is a nice enough guy.” Attacking transgender people remains an electoral loser for Republicans, even in one of the most evangelical states in the country.

In Ohio, a ballot initiative to guarantee a right to abortion is headed toward a landslide victory, with a Public Policy Polling survey finding support at 55-38. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine must be looking at similar polling: He’s now trying to convince people to vote against the measure by saying he’ll loosen Ohio’s oppressive abortion restrictions. Are there any abortion-rights supporters brainless enough to fall for that trap? Hopefully not. After all, DeWine signed the state’s six-week ban, which lacks exceptions for rape and incest. Why would anyone trust him to do better? This election will demonstrate the continued potency of reproductive rights heading into next year.

In Virginia, Democrats can retake control of the state House of Delegates by picking up just a handful of seats. You can still make a difference in these races by supporting these five great Democratic candidates. And by doing so, you can help quell the insufferable Beltway narratives that somehow it is Democrats who are currently in trouble.

You know who is in trouble? Republicans. And not just because they picked a radical weirdo as their new House leader. There are few states more conservative than Mississippi, where its racialized politics means that roughly 90% of white voters vote for Republicans no matter what. Yet infighting among Magnolia State Republicans could offer Democrat Brandon Presley an opening for a surprise victory. And like the GOP civil war happening inside the U.S. House of Representatives, a divided Republican Party could pay big electoral dividends for Democrats next year.

The post didn’t really address New Jersey’s election, in which Republicans hope fallout from Sen. Menendez’s indictment will help them. As Matt Friedman notes at Politico,

New Jersey Republicans are practically giddy at a prospect that had been virtually unthinkable until now: Could they retake control of one or both houses of the state Legislature?….It’s a longshot scenario in a state where Democrats have a nearly one million voter registration advantage and have controlled the Statehouse for two decades….buoyed by Republicans’ surprising gains in the 2021 election — and the sudden fallout of Sen. Bob Menendez‘s indictment — GOP leaders see a narrow path to scoring key upsets that could put them on top in Trenton….“We are looking at a razor-thin proposition of holding the majorities in both houses this year. It’s going to come down to a few districts,” Kevin McCabe, the Middlesex County Democratic chair and one of the leading power brokers in the state, said at a party meeting in June….Democrats hold a 25-15 majority in the Senate and a 46-34 majority in the Assembly. Flipping either chamber would take an extraordinary run in swing districts and at least some upsets.

It’t undoubtedly too much to hope for that Dems will pull the inside straight and win all five elections. But three or four out of five would be something to crow about.

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