6 Election Night Takeaways: Democrats win big, but GOP holds Mississippi
Democrats are expected to score several key victories in Tuesday’s election, suggesting that abortion remains a motivating factor for voters and that the party can remain successful, including in red states, even in the face of President Joe Biden’s weak approval ratings.
A referendum to ensure access to abortion in Ohio was scheduled to pass by a wide margin, and Democrats in Virginia were expected to flip control of the entire state Legislature, with the party warning loudly that unified GOP control in Richmond would lead to a 15-prohibition Abortion for a week.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, won a second term in a part of the country that just three years earlier had been easily won by former President Donald Trump, marking a setback for Daniel Cameron, a rising star and state attorney general who was the Republican nominee in the race. .
Here are six takeaways from Tuesday’s results.
The backlash to Roe v. Wade will disappear
Tuesday’s election results made clear even more clearly that in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down constitutional protections for abortion, voters are casting ballots in favor of abortion access when it is a prominent election issue.
Ohio’s vote on the state’s first issue, to enshrine in the state constitution “the right to make and perform one’s own reproductive decisions,” including abortions, may ultimately pass by a double-digit margin in a state Trump won twice by 8 points. who was recently elected Republican governor and senator.
In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin put intense pressure on the GOP to take control of state government — while introducing what he called a 15-week “limit” on abortion, with exceptions — but was rebuffed by warning messages from Democrats. That Republicans wanted to limit access.
These two races followed a growing trend across the country, including in conservative places like Kansas and Kentucky, where states have passed pro-abortion rights referendums since the 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1972 Supreme Court decision that first codified abortion rights measures. National protection for women. Action.
Despite the consistent results, Republicans still have not been able to unite around consistent messages about abortion, including whether there should be federal restrictions, what exceptions should apply, and when the procedure should or should not be allowed late. From pregnancy.
“Going into 2024, the energy is still on Democrats’ side,” Democrats said. “As long as Republicans embrace unpopular abortion positions and nominate extreme candidates, they will continue to underperform. Fortunately for Democrats, the GOP appears unwilling to correct course.” “. Strategist Liz Smith.
A bad night for the rising stars of the Republican Party
Tuesday’s results also posed major obstacles in the way of rising Republican stars.
Youngkin, who won Virginia’s governorship in what was seen as an upset in 2021, has been touted as a future presidential contender.
But his state’s legislative elections are likely to undermine his record, given the extent of his involvement in the races, where he has spent months and raised millions of dollars to help boost other Republicans.
Speculation about Youngkin’s future is unlikely to completely die down, given his ability two years ago to win the governor’s office in a state that Biden won by 10 points in 2020, although Tuesday’s results are likely to raise questions about his ability to win over Democratic voters in the region. America’s Post-Roe Elections.
“It appears that Youngkin is not as politically motivated as he thought,” Democratic strategist Karen Finney said.
Cameron’s loss also tarnishes the reputation of another emerging leader in the party.
The Kentucky attorney general, a 37-year-old black Republican, is a disciple of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a Trump supporter who has managed to win the former president’s favor. This combination has fueled speculation that Cameron will be able to build bridges between warring factions in the Republican Party.
However, his loss in a Republican-friendly state like Kentucky — despite its history of voting for Democratic governors — would likely leave a mark. It seems that he will lose to Bashir by more than the governor of the state at the time. Matt Bevin did just that in 2019, despite Bevin being mired in approval issues.
How did Bashir win?
Beshear’s victory offers a potential path for Democrats looking to separate themselves from the national party banner and succeed in a less liberal district.
He ran in part on his record of helping his state overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating floods and hurricanes, as well as promoting economic development projects started during his term.
Cameron has repeatedly sought to shift the focus to national issues, running ads trying to link Beshear to Biden and touting his endorsement of Trump.
However, voters of all stripes told ABC News during a recent press trip to Kentucky that they view Beshear as separate from Biden, a message the governor included in his victory speech on Tuesday.
He called his victory proof that “candidates should run for something and not against someone.”
National Democrats said they are taking notes.
“The overall results also demonstrate the power of the ground game, clearly outlining the choice and importance of connecting with voters on their terms and the issues that matter to them. Governor Beshear’s win in Kentucky was a great example,” Finney said.
Mississippi is a silver lining for Republicans
The race for governor of Mississippi has offered a major upside for Republicans.
Gov. Tate Reeves has won a second term, ABC News predicts, amid late speculation that Democratic candidate Brandon Presley, a second cousin of Elvis Presley, could take the race at least to a runoff by preventing the governor from winning by at least 50%. of voters’ votes. vote.
Pressley launched a comprehensive lobbying campaign to increase turnout among black voters in a state where African Americans make up just under 40% of the population, though it was not enough to keep his challenge afloat. He also attempted to link Reeves to allegations of corruption, which Reeves denied.
For his part, the governor portrayed Pressley as part of a group of “radical” Democrats — who haven’t won the governor’s mansion in more than two decades.
Philadelphia elects its first mayor
Different parts of the country made history with their electoral choices on Tuesday.
Among them, Philadelphia was expected to elect its first mayor.
Cheryl Parker previously worked as an educator and served in the state legislature, representing Northwest Philadelphia, and will serve as the city’s 100th mayor. Her campaign focused on issues of public safety, education, and the economy, and she received endorsements from Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Her Republican opponent, David Oh, a former colleague on the Philadelphia City Council, would also have made history had he won, as the city’s first Asian American mayor.
Elsewhere, Democratic House candidate Gabe Amo, a former Biden administration official, is expected to become the first person of color Rhode Island sends to Congress.
Biden polls weak, but other Democrats continue to win
The positive results achieved by Democrats on Tuesday appear to contradict recent public opinion polls that showed major issues for Biden, the leader of his party, raising fears that he may be at the top of the ballot next year.
However, Democrats have performed consistently well in non-presidential elections since he took office, including during last year’s midterms and several special elections this year.
Democrats who spoke to ABC News on Tuesday said the results don’t mean they’re out of the woods yet — but the party may not be in as dire straits as some feared.
“Voters have shown up in 2022 and 2023 for Democrats and our issues when the stakes are very high,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of the center. “This is the best news tonight, because the stakes in 2024 will be astronomical.” Left group third way.
For his part, Biden took a victory lap on Tuesday — calling for congratulations to successful candidates like Beshear and Parker and appearing to criticize polls showing him behind Trump in key swing states where a runoff in 2020 looks increasingly likely.
“Across the country tonight, Democracy won and MAGA lost,” Biden wrote on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, in reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “Voters vote. Polls don’t.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com