Last night, on Tuesday, 7 November, a handful of off-year elections took place in the United States. Governors were elected in Kentucky and Mississippi; while a new state legislature was chosen in the state of Virginia.
In the deeply red Southern state of Mississippi, no surprise came: incumbent Republican Tate Reeves beat Democrat challenger Brandon Presley by about five percentage points, securing a second term.
Incumbent governors tend to have high reelection rates in the US (thankfully, all of them are also term-limited, so party flips are more frequent). Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear from the Democratic Party further bolstered that trend. He went into the gubernatorial election with a high approval rating and great name recognition—his father, Steve Brashear, was also a popular two-term governor in the state. The younger Bashear ended up winning against his Republican challenger also by around five points.
Last month, Republicans were able to flip the Louisiana governor’s seat without the need for a general election, as Jeff Landry managed to get over 50 per cent of the popular vote in the open primary, despite having only two Democrats against eight Republicans on the ballot.
However, Republicans had to endure a disappointment in Virginia.
Having won the governorship and a majority in the state legislature’s lower chamber, the House of Delegates, they went into last night’s election with the aim of getting a majority (or a tie, as the Republican lieutenant governor would break those ties) in the State Senate as well. Not only did they fail to do that, but they also lost their majority in the House, turning a 52–48 advantage into a 51–49 deficit. That is despite the fact that one of the Democrat’s delegate candidates was involved in an embarrassing sex scandal: Susanna Gibson was revealed to have worked as a nude online cam model in her youth, and video evidence was also published. While she lost her district to Republican David Owen, Democrats still got the minimum majority.
Meanwhile, Democrats gained a seat in the Senate as well, although they did lose a seat in the upper chamber, going from a 22–18 to a 21–19 majority. The Republicans in the state, spearheaded by Governor Glenn Youngkin, made a 15-week abortion ban the focus of their campaign, which seems to have backfired.