A Small Blue Wave on Nov. 7. Special Elections

by Liam Dunne '26 on November 10, 2023
News Co-Editor


*Disclaimer: This article was written before all elections had reported 100 percent of the vote. However, at the time the article was written, all elections had been called. 

Although not a national election day, many states had issues or candidates on the ballot Nov. 7th. Rhode Island was one of these states, hosting a special election for the RI-1 Congressional seat. The race was hardly a competition, as the district hasn’t elected a Republican in over thirty years. As expected, Democratic candidate Gabe Amo secured the nomination, beating Republican Gerry Leonard with 64.8 percent of the vote. This doubles the Democratic advantage in this district; whereas in the 2022 election the percentage margin was roughly 15 points, in this election it was nearly 30 points. 

In many states, abortion was on the ballot in one way or another. Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear narrowly secured re-election while heavily campaigning on protecting abortion rights. In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly supported enshrining abortion rights within the state constitution, securing the measure with a percentage margin of over 10 points. Since Roe V. Wade was revoked, every state that has left the topic of abortion rights open to voters as a ballot measure has adopted protections of abortion rights. Ohio, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Kansas have all allowed their citizens to vote directly on the issue of abortion, and the people have protected abortion rights every time. Even in solidly Republican states like Kentucky, Montana, and Kansas, the people have voted in favor of reproductive freedom. Many other Republican states such as Texas, or Tennessee, issued a trigger-law that banned abortions as soon as Roe. V. Wade was overturned, which has been the bureaucratic approach to abortion bans in Republican states. 

Virginia became a political battleground on Nov. 7th as well, with Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin working with other GOP candidates to retain control of the state government for the first time since 2013. Before the election, Republicans controlled the House of Delegates, and Democrats controlled the State Senate, which Republicans hoped to flip in this election. Much to the chagrin of Youngkin and the Virginia GOP, voters supported the total opposite. Democrats maintained control of the State Senate while also the House of Delegates, leaving Youngkin entirely opposed within the state government. 

In Mississippi, a competitive gubernatorial race came to a close on Nov. 7. As a solidly Republican state, it may come as a surprise that the Democratic candidate lost by only 37,000 votes. Incumbent governor Republican Tate Reeves won the election with 51.6 percent of the vote, while Democrat Brandon Presley, relative of Elvis, lost with 47 percent of the vote. Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State all also went to Republican candidates.

In other state elections, Philadelphia elected Democrat Cherelle Parker as mayor of the city; she will serve as the first female mayor of Philadelphia. Pennsylvania also elected Democrat Daniel McCaffrey to their Supreme Court. Ohio voted to legalize recreational marijuana. In Maine, voters decided against creating a publicly owned electrical grid, which would have been the first statewide public power company in America. New Jersey retains Democratic control of all chambers of state government. In Colorado, voters passed a proposition that uses state tobacco revenues to fund public preschool programs. 

Despite the lack of a national election, many important races came to a close on Tuesday, Nov. 7. These elections had positive indications for the Democratic party, but this does not necessarily correlate towards a favorability of Biden over Trump in these states. Still, for the politically inclined, Tuesday’s elections bore exciting, somewhat surprising results.