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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Did Better Than Expected In Yesterday’s Elections

Despite widespread concerns about President Biden’s sinking poll numbers, Democrats did really well in yesterday’s elections. With the exception of Mississippi, Democrats pretty much ran the table in the most important elections. From a roundup of ‘takeaway’ articles in different media:

In Virginia, Gregory Krieg reports at CNN Politics, “Gov. Glenn Youngkin – the Virginia Republican who believed he could crack one of the most intractable issues in American politics with the promise of “reasonable” abortion restrictions – will not lead a GOP-controlled legislature in the Commonwealth, which denied the party control of the state Senate and put a swift end to both his plan for a 15-week abortion ban and rumors he might pursue a 2024 presidential bid.”

A.P.’s Bruce Schreiner reports “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….The governor withstood relentless attempts to connect him to Democratic President Joe Biden, especially his handling of the economy. Beshear insulated himself from the attacks by focusing on state issues, including his push for exceptions to the state’s near-total abortion ban that he said would make it less extreme. His reelection gave pro-choice advocates nationwide yet another victory since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”

Also at CNN Politics, Arit John writes, “With the passage of the ballot measure Issue 1, Ohio will be prevented from restricting abortion access before fetal viability, which doctors believe to be around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. After viability, the state can restrict abortion access unless the patient’s life or health are at risk….The vote is yet another sign that abortion access is a key issue for voters across party lines, even in a state like Ohio, which has trended Republican in recent elections.”

Ohio voters also voted for the legalization of marijuana, which was supported by most of the state’s Democratic leaders,  on “Issue 2” by a hefty margin – 57 percent (with 95 percent of the vote counted). (More here)

“On Tuesday, all 120 seats in the Democrat-led [New Jersey] State Legislature were again on the ballot, and Republicans were hoping to tally further gains.,” Tracey Tully reports in the New York Times. “But as of 11:30 p.m., Democrats had held on to win in competitive districts in southern and central New Jersey and were leading in other key races.”

The sole downer for Dems was in Mississippi, where the incumbent Republican Governor took 51.8 percent of the vote to beat Democrat Brandon Presley’s 46.9 percent (another 3.2 percent, and he would have won). Geoff Pender reports at Mississippi Today that “Numerous precincts in Hinds County reportedly ran out of ballots, or of the proper ballots, leaving some voters waiting in line for hours and causing others to give up and go home. This prompted legal filings from multiple groups before normal poll closing time at 7 p.m., and prompted a circuit court judge to order all Hinds County polls stay open until 8 p.m. to allow more people to vote.” Hinds County, which includes Jackson, is Mississippi’s most populous county.

As for the importance of turnout in Tuesday’s results, Julia Manchester notes at The Hill: “Democrats benefitted from high turnout in Tuesday’s off-year elections. This was evident in the red states of Ohio and Kentucky, where Democrats turned out in high numbers. In Ohio, the Issue One ballot measure sparked an early voting surge that clearly benefited Democrats. In Kentucky, Democrats benefitted from strong turnout while Republicans struggled to bring out their base in what is typically a reliably red state….Strong Democratic turnout was evident in Virginia as well. NBC News reported earlier on Tuesday that Election Day turnout at one precinct in Henrico County in the greater Richmond area reached 1,200 people by the middle of the day. There are over 3,200 people registered to vote at that precinct and 800 people cast their ballots during the early voting period.”

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