Largely due to Donald Trump:
- Democrats retain Kentucky governor but Republicans win all other statewide races
- Ohio voters ratify abortion-on-demand
- Virginia Democrats flip House of Delegates and retain Senate
- Democrats win Pennsylvania Supreme Court Majority
- Nearly 2/3 of Ohio voters do not want to see Donald Trump run for election again
- New Jersey truck driver turned state senator loses reelection bid
Exclusive to McHenry County Blog by John Lopez
The general election of 2023 in states electing their state and local leaders in odd-numbered years have largely come to an end with balloting yesterday. Apart from Louisiana’s runoff election on November 18, most voting in 2023 has concluded (the open Louisiana governor’s race was decided October 14).
Trump Exhaustion Syndrome (TES, something I admit I have) showed itself again in muliple key races, the biggest in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where first term Democrat Governor Andy Beshear faced first term Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron last Tuesday.
Beshear won a 2nd term, with just over 52% of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
Cameron’s campaign made ex-President Donald Trump the cornerstone of his bid, and his “closing argument” commercial was a dated video of Camerson with then-President Trump at his side declaring Kentucky is “Trump country”.
Cameron was the only statewide race where Trump made an endorsement for the Republican nominee, but Kentucky voters had other ideas, and clearly split their tickets, as Republicans won the other statewide races on November 7 by comfortable or super majorities.
So let’s get this straight. The one, highest profile race where Trump endorsed the Republican nominee, the Democrat incumbent won, but in open downballot statewide races without Trump’s endorsements, the Republican nominees easily won.
Yes, Trump’s spin doctors are saying Beshear is an old Kentucky name, it’s an odd-year election or blaming Cameron’s youth (age 37) for losing to Beshear.
The truth, Cameron ran primarily on Donald Trump’s coattails that were not to be found. Trump did no in-person appearances for Cameron in Kentucky, only an election-eve tele-town hall rally.
Where was Trump? Sitting in a New York courtroom during his trial.
And what were the polls saying? Trump claimed the polls showed a tight or dead heat race, but with over 300K voters casting ballots early by mail, any poll movement was muted by the fact voters cast ballots early.
Ohio Issue 1 — Constitutional Amendment protecting Abortion-on-Demand
As expected, the pro Abortion-on-Demand constitutional amendment was ratified by voters by 57% of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
Even over a year since the Dobbs decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Republicans are still having problems messaging effectively on abortion.
IL Governor JB Pritzker’s new national not-for-profit, Think Big America, invested $250K to pass Ohio’s constitutional amendment, and the governor has made it clear abortion-on-demand is the passion issue for him. Expect a similar constitutional amendment on the general election ballot next year in Illinois, given Pritzker will be under some pressure to do in his home state what he’s contributed to other states to do.
But a more revealing finding from Ohio yesterday was the NBC News exit poll, showing something to confound the Republican presidential primary polls throughout 2023.
Nearly 2/3 of poll respondents (64%) said Trump should not be running for president in 2024. Remember, an exit poll, unlike the polls being touted ad nauseum saying the Republican presidential nomination is over, has pollsters actually talking to people in-person on Election Day, not collecting responses by internet.
Whether that poll finding holds up in the Ohio presidential primary on March 12 remains to be seen, but also remember, Trump has been sitting, and testifying at his NY state trial since late October.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Suffers Loss of both Houses of Virginia Legislature
Two years after Glenn Youngkin flipped the Viriginia governor’s mansion in a pre-Dobbs decision race, 2023 saw the Democrats retain control of the Virginia Senate and flip the House of Delegates by the slimmest of majorities.
Red State‘s Brittany Sheehan was in Virginia covering the election for the final 2 weeks of the campaign, and summed up what happened to Republicans, in this order:
- “Stop telling voters their votes don’t count”
While the Viriginia losses rest more on Governor Youngkin, the Virignia Republican Party made an urgent plea to the Republican National Committee for an injection of additional funds in the final weeks of the campaign, a call unanswered by Trump-backed (including earlier this year in the RNC chair election) RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.
Awful Horror of the General Election of 2024 taking shape
For reference, if the Republican presidential polls are to be believed and actually are true and ex-President Donald Trump is nominated, here is the screenshot of my original prediction of the 2024 elections outcome:
The election results last week in the higher profile races beginning to bear this out, particularly the loss in Kentucky’s governor’s race. Just this past Thursday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) announced he would not seek reelection to a third Senate term in 2024, so Manchin will definitely not be in the Senate to preserve the filibuster. I predicted Republicans flipping West Verginia whether Manchin sought reelection or not, but now it is known he’s out.
But refer to the Ohio exit poll and the supermajority of respondents who think Trump should not run in 2024. Trump Exhaustion Syndrome is real.
More about the political events from last week, including the win by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the 3rd Republican presidential debate, as polls confirmed immediately after the debate.
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