By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023
Virginia: Democrats Score Strong Night — Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, Virginia voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature.
Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 52 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least four seats in the House.
While it’s difficult to overlay an incumbent victory matrix across the Old Dominion legislative elections, it is not unusual to see a state that has become reliably Democratic over the past two decades to again vote for that party’s candidates in the 2023 elections. Therefore, the fact that the state’s favored party over the course of time again performed better is consistent with the incumbent voting pattern seen elsewhere.
Kentucky; Mississippi: Governors Re-Elected — Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected to new four-year terms last night with similar five percentage point victory margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win.
In 2022, 55 of the 56 US senators and governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1 percent of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. Last night, we saw two more incumbent governors win again.
Ohio: Voters Pass Two Major Initiatives — Ohio voters last night, largely on a relatively consistent 55-45 percent majority, passed ballot measures adding abortion rights to the state constitution and legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. Moves are already underway in the legislature to begin determining the parameters for legal marijuana and how much the state will both tax it as a product and regulate its use.
Houston: Mayoral Candidates Head to Runoff — State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) advanced to a runoff election to determine the city’s next mayor. Whitmire placed first in the field of five candidates with 42.5 percent of the vote. Jackson Lee finished a relatively strong second at 35.7 percent. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will now schedule the runoff election for a date in early December. Polling finds Sen. Whitmire, the state’s second longest-serving state legislator, as the early leader for the secondary vote. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) was ineligible to seek a third term.
New York City: Exonerated Rapist and Bronx Republican Elected — Yusef Salaam, one of the “Central Park 5” who was falsely accused of raping a woman in Central Park back in 1989 and who was wrongly imprisoned for seven years before being exonerated, was elected last night to an open seat on the New York City Council. His election became a foregone conclusion when he won the Democratic primary back in late June.
In the Bronx, Republican Kristy Marmorato defeated incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez to become the first member of the GOP to represent the Bronx on the New York City Council in 20 years. Marmorato unseated Councilwoman Velazquez by a 53-47 percent margin, to cap her stunning victory.