Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves won reelection on Tuesday, while Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to an abortion and other forms of reproductive health care. In Virginia, Democrats swept legislative elections in a blow to GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
What to know
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear elected to second term in Kentucky
Ohio voters enshrine abortion rights in their state’s constitution
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves wins reelection, defeating Elvis’ cousin
Virginia Democrats sweep legislative elections after campaigning on abortion rights
Gov. Reeves wins second term in Mississippi
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has won a second term, defeating his Democratic challenger Brandon Presley.
“Mississippi has momentum, and this is Mississippi’s time,” Reeves told cheering supporters at a party in the Jackson suburb of Flowood, reflecting the main theme of his campaign.
The mood at Presley’s party in Jackson was somber as he said hours after the polls closed: “Tonight’s a setback, but we’re not going to lose hope … This campaign elevated issues that had to be elevated in Mississippi.”
Presley raised more money and made an aggressive push to give Democrats a rare statewide victory in the Deep South.
Reeves managed to avoid a runoff by winning over 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s race.
Presley concedes Mississippi governor’s race
Democrat Brandon Presley has conceded his race for Mississippi governor.
Presley, a state utility regulator and cousin of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, said Tuesday night, “I respect the decision of the voters of Mississippi.”
The Associated Press has not yet called the race because it’s unclear whether Republican Gov. Tate Reeves would remain above the threshold for a runoff. Mississippi requires that contests where no candidate receives a majority of the vote must advance to a runoff.
Reeves, meanwhile, claimed victory, saying his win “sure is sweet” and congratulating Presley for “running hard all the way through.”
The hard-fought contest was disrupted by a voting mess when polling places in the state’s largest county ran out of ballots and voters endured long lines in a key Democratic stronghold.
Hinds County election commissioners — all Democrats — were said to have underestimated the turnout and failed to have enough ballots on hand.
Voters reelect DA who lost Democratic primary and ran as Republican
Voters in Pennsylvania’s second-largest county have reelected their longtime district attorney who lost his Democratic primary and ran in the general election as a Republican.
Steve Zappala bested progressive Democrat Matt Dugan in a rematch for district attorney of Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.
“In terms of my politics, I’m not a politician,” Zappala said during a debate in October. “I don’t care about the GOP. I don’t care about the Democrats.”
Zappala defended his record as DA and said his support came from the county. He also dismissed his opponent as having out-of-state financial support.
Women will lead Philadelphia and county that includes Pittsburgh
Voters have elected women for the first time to lead Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s second-largest county, installing Cherelle Parker as the 100th mayor of the state’s largest city and Sara Innamorato as executive of the county that includes Pittsburgh.
Parker, 51, who has held office at the state and local level after first becoming involved in politics as a teenager, emerged from a crowded field of Democrats in the May primary as the only leading Black candidate. She will replace term-limited Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney.
Across the state in Allegheny County, Innamorato, 37, defeated Republican Joe Rockey, a political newcomer. The former state legislator who campaigned on progressive models to modernize county government will replace Democrat Rich Fitzgerald, who was term-limited.
To the tune of “Ladies First,” an emotional Parker addressed supporters at her election night watch party.
“Who is Cherelle Parker going to be? A get-it-done Philadelphian. A get-it-done mayor who won’t ever forget her deep roots,” she said. “I’m Philly-born, I’m Philly-bred and I’ll be Philadelphian ’til I’m dead.”
‘Absurd’ to claim Kentucky gas leak was election rigging, officials say
Officials are refuting online claims that a gas leak at one polling place in Kentucky’s largest county was election rigging that helped Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear win reelection.
The claims amassed thousands of shares on social media Tuesday after reports of a gas leak at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville caused polls there to close for about 30 minutes while Louisville Gas & Electric investigated the issue. The delay prompted a judge to extend voting at the church until 6:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. EST.
Social media users questioned whether the gas leak was real and insinuated that extended voting hours in a Democratic county gave Beshear the votes he needed to win.
The delay was prompted by a legitimate report of gas emitting from a stove in the church, said Chris Whelan, a spokesperson for Louisville Gas & Electric. Gas was detected, but not at hazardous levels, she said. The stove was turned off and it dissipated.
“This was a legitimate instance of a gas leak so any claims otherwise, we just think are patently absurd,” said Erran Huber, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office.
Huber added that only one voter came to cast a ballot between 6 and 6:30 p.m. at either of the two polling places in the county where a judge extended voting hours. The other polling place, an elementary school, was temporarily shut down Tuesday morning because of a police pursuit.
2 Council members arrested on Election Day in separate incidents
Two Democrats on the 20-member Bridgeport, Connecticut, City Council have been arrested in separate incidents at the same polling place on Election Day.
A police spokesperson says Councilmember Samia Suliman was charged with breach of peace after police received a 911 call late Tuesday afternoon about a person causing a disturbance outside the John F. Kennedy School.
Less than an hour later, police arrested Councilmember Maria Pereira and charged her with assaulting a 70-year-old woman on the same school property. Pereira was on the ballot Tuesday.
Police didn’t explain the circumstances of either arrest and declined to say how Suliman disturbed the peace.
Text messages seeking comment from the women were not immediately returned.
Uvalde mom who lost mayoral race says she’ll never stop fighting
An Uvalde mother who lost her bid for mayor says she’ll never stop fighting for her daughter, Lexi, who was among the 19 children killed in last year’s school shooting rampage.
“I meant it when I said this was only the beginning,” Kimberly Mata-Rubio posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “After all, I’m not a regular mom. I’m Lexi’s mom.”
She lost to Cody Smith, a former mayor of Uvalde who left office in 2012. He will complete the term of Mayor Don McLaughlin, who criticized police in Texas over their hesitant response to the shooting and is resigning to seek a seat in the state legislature.
Mata-Rubio, who pressed Uvalde leaders for answers and transparency after the shooting, campaigned on unifying the small town that is still riven with division. Her candidacy put on the ballot one of Uvalde’s most outspoken figures and an aggressive proponent of stricter gun laws.
National Democrats cheer Ohio’s abortion vote
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are cheering Ohio’s vote to ensure access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care.
Biden said in a statement Tuesday that “democracy won” in Ohio. The Democratic president says the state’s voters rejected “attempts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy.”
Harris used the win in Ohio to call for Congress to pass a bill restoring the federal abortion protections that were lost after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
She said in a statement, “When they do, President Biden will sign it into law.”
Beshear says his win shows voters’ disdain for ‘anger politics’
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says his reelection victory “sends a loud, clear message” that there should be an end to “anger politics.”
Beshear said in his victory remarks on Tuesday that Kentucky voters had made “a choice not to move to the right or to the left but to move forward for every single family.”
Beshear defeated Republican challenger Daniel Cameron, who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Beshear said he had been up against a number of GOP-funded, third-party groups that were running ads “full of hate and division.”
“And you know what?” Beshear asked. “We beat ’em all at the same time.”
Ohio becomes 7th state to protect abortion rights in post-Roe era
With Tuesday’s vote to enshrine abortion rights into its state constitution, Ohio is the seventh state where voters have protected abortion access since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Voters in both Democratic and Republican states — California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont — have either affirmed abortion access or turned back attempts to undermine it.
Ohio was the only state to consider a statewide abortion rights question this year, and some view its decision as a signal of how voters nationwide will be feeling about the issue ahead of the 2024 presidential race.
All in the (Beshear) family
It’s officially a two-term trend for the Beshear family.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has joined his father, Steve Beshear, as a twice-elected top Democratic leader of the state.
The younger Beshear won his second term Tuesday by defeating Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron. With it, Andy Beshear is also positioning himself to join a growing list of Democratic governors flagged as potential contenders for higher office nationally.
By the end of Andy Beshear’s second four-year term, a Beshear will have presided in the Kentucky governor’s office for 16 of the last 20 years. Steve Beshear served from 2007 to 2015.
Amo makes history as Rhode Island’s first Black congressman
Democrat Gabe Amo says that he’s “humbled” to be elected Rhode Island’s first Black representative to Congress but that he “didn’t run to make history.”
Amo told The Associated Press shortly after his win over Republican Gerry Leonard on Tuesday that he sees himself as part of a long line of advocates, whether they were people of color or fighting for the rights of woman or working people.
The former White House aide succeeds former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who stepped down this summer to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
The son of Ghanaian and Liberian immigrants, Amo emerged victorious from a crowded Democratic field in the September primary, claiming more than 32% of the vote.
Voting times at 4 precincts in Mississippi county extended again
A judge in Mississippi’s largest county has extended voting times to 10 p.m. EST at four voting precincts after they experienced ballot shortages and long lines.
The order from a special judge in Hinds County came after a nonpartisan group, Mississippi Votes, filed a petition to extend voting in the four precincts in some Jackson suburbs.
The four precincts where voting will be allowed until 10 p.m. EST are Byram City Hall, a United Methodist church in Raymond, and Wildwood Baptist Church and Northside Baptist Church, both in Clinton.
A different judge already had extended voting throughout the county until 9 p.m. EST in response to the ballot shortages.
Bomb threat keeps 2 Pennsylvania precincts open for extra hour
Two precincts in a Philadelphia suburb will remain open an extra hour after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of a polling place.
A Delaware County spokesperson says the county solicitor sought and won the extension from a judge after a threat forced the evacuation of Radnor High School and polling places for two precincts to move to Radnor Elementary in Wayne. Officials say police are investigating the threat.
Polls will remain open there until 9 p.m. Eastern time.
The state’s top-of-the-ticket race is an open seat for state Supreme Court, which could play an important role in settling legal challenges in the 2024 presidential election in the battleground state.
Voting times extended in Mississippi county after problems
A judge has extended voting times in Mississippi’s largest county by an hour, until 9 p.m. Eastern time, after several polling places had ballot shortages and long lines.
The order came after the Mississippi Democratic Party filed a petition in one court and a nonpartisan group, Mississippi Votes, filed a separate petition in another court and its request was backed by the Mississippi Republican Party.
The ballot shortages in Hinds County were reported in several Jackson suburbs. Polls in Mississippi were supposed to be open 12 hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
The problems in Hinds County happened after the county’s poll worker training was delayed by a September breach involving the county’s computer system.
Credell Calhoun, a Hinds County supervisor, said he had heard of at least seven Hinds County precincts that ran out of ballots at some point Tuesday. He said the Hinds County election commissioners underestimated turnout.
“This is way beyond anything we’ve ever seen in the electoral process,” Calhoun said. “As hard as we worked to get the vote out and then you’re going to have stupidity to not have enough ballots.”
Polls close in Kentucky and Virginia
Polls are closing in Kentucky and Virginia in pivotal off-year elections.
Voting closed at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday across Virginia, where Democrats and Republicans have campaigned for legislative control by arguing the other party is wrong on abortion. Polls had also closed across Kentucky by 7 p.m. ET as voters decide whether to give Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear a second term.
Over the next hour, polls will also close in Ohio, where voters are considering a constitutional amendment supported by abortion rights groups.
At 8 p.m. ET, voting closes in six other states, as well as Texas counties in the Central Time Zone.
An hour later, polls close in the rest of Texas’ counties, as well in New York.
Democrat who endured sex scandal is on the ballot in Virginia
A key race in Virginia’s pivotal legislative elections hinges on a Democrat whose campaign was upended by revelations she engaged in sex acts with her husband on a pornographic website.
Susanna Gibson is running against Republican businessman David Owen in one of the state’s most competitive districts after all 100 seats in the House of Delegates were redrawn to conform with the 2020 census.
Some people wrote off Gibson’s chances after The Washington Post reported in September about her participation in livestreamed sex, which included soliciting payments from viewers in exchange for specific acts.
But Gibson, a nurse practitioner, refused to withdraw from the race and accused Republicans of dirty politics for exposing her conduct. She has largely ignored the allegations and focused on abortion rights, which Democrats said could be in jeopardy if Republicans gain control of the Legislature.
Polls close in parts of Kentucky as voters decide governor’s race
Polls have closed in parts of Kentucky as voters consider whether to give Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear a second term or replace him with Republican Daniel Cameron.
Much of Beshear’s first term was dominated by his response to a series of natural disasters and the pandemic. But his reelection campaign often focused on dire warnings about the future of abortion rights. He portrayed Cameron as too extreme on the issue, pointing to his support for the state’s abortion ban, which lacks exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
Cameron would be the nation’s first Black Republican to be elected governor if he wins. He has reaffirmed his support for the current Kentucky law, which bans all abortions except when carried out to save a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent a disabling injury.
Pole-wielding man charged with interfering with an election
Authorities have arrested a man accused of wielding a flag attached to a fishing pole as he made threatening gestures to voters and damaged a voting machine at a Kentucky polling location.
The 40-year-old Louisville man was charged with interfering with election and tampering and destruction of a voting machine. Both are felony counts under state law. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of menacing.
Erran Huber, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, said no votes were compromised and voting continued at the polling location.
The man was taken to the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections for booking. A phone listing for him went straight to voicemail and did not accept messages Tuesday.
Coding error in Pennsylvania county flips some votes
Officials say a coding error in an eastern Pennsylvania county caused votes to be flipped on a ballot question that asked whether a pair of incumbent state appeals judges should be retained.
Voters are deciding whether Pennsylvania Superior Court Judges Jack Panella and Victor Stabile should be retained for additional 10-year terms. Officials in Northampton County say the “yes” or “no” votes for each judge were being switched because of the error. If a voter marked “yes” to retain Panella and “no” on Stabile, for example, it was reflected as “no” on Panella and “yes” on Stabile.
County officials say voters first noticed the error, which affected all the county’s voting machines in use on Tuesday. They plan to correct the error when votes are tabulated.
Officials say the coding error was limited to the county and only affected the judicial retention question.
Mood is somber at polling places in Maine town where 18 were slain
Less than two weeks after 18 people were killed by a gunman in their small New England city, residents headed gingerly cast ballots Tuesday for a slate of municipal races in an election that took on a more subdued and somber tone after the tragedy.
The mood in Lewiston, Maine, was somber. Several shooting survivors remained hospitalized, flags flew at half-staff, and funerals were being held this week for those who died in the attack.
Citing civic duty and a quest to return the community to normal life, Lewiston residents turned out to vote in several high-profile referendums and local races.
“This is a necessity. We have to do this. So we can’t neglect it even though we’ve been through a terrible tragedy,” said James Scribner, 79, a retired teacher and Marine veteran, who was joined by his wife at local school that was transformed into a polling place.
Election websites in Kentucky and Mississippi suffer some glitches
State election websites in Kentucky and Mississippi, two states featuring key governors’ races, experienced some issues early on Election Day.
In Mississippi, voters looking up details about their polling location experienced slow loading times, according to Elizabeth Holbert Jonson, spokesperson for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office. She said that increased traffic to the website caused the problem and that an additional server was added that “appears to have resolved the issue.”
But the polling place locator was still spotty late Tuesday morning. The Associated Press checked addresses in several cities — including Jackson, Madison, Gulfport, Greenwood and Marks — and it wasn’t working.
“We encourage folks to type slowly in the residential address box,” Holbert Jonson said. “When doing that, the system should auto-populate the addresses.”
In Kentucky, a spike in traffic to the State Board of Election’s website disrupted access for a “short period of time,” according to Michon Lindstrom, spokesperson for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. Issues were resolved and officials don’t expect further issues, Lindstrom said.
Abortion and inflation are on Kentucky voters’ minds
Kentucky voters had different issues on their minds as they went to vote Tuesday.
Kayla Long was thinking of abortion as she cast her ballot for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in Shelbyville, between Louisville and Frankfort, on a warm fall morning.
“I think it’s a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “And I don’t think politicians should be involved in that choice at all.”
The state currently has a near-total abortion ban.
Another Shelbyville voter, Kent Herold, said it’s time for a change at the top of state government. Herold voted for Republican nominee Daniel Cameron. Herold, a registered Republican, criticized President Joe Biden, especially for his handling of the economy amid surging inflation during his term.
“Do you go grocery shopping? Do you buy gas? Let’s be real. I’m not sure he knows what he’s doing,” Herold said.
Ohio is the latest state to determine abortion question
Voters in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, are weighing in on whether to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing an individual right to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care.
Mathis Kleckley, a charter bus driver from Reynoldsburg, on Tuesday cast his ballot in favor of Issue 1.
Kleckley said he’s a Christian and that those who share his faith may disagree with him, but he believes that God gives people choices.
“We don’t want the government playing God, either,” he said.
Lester and Sheila Bowling, a married couple from Reynoldsburg, voted no on Issue 1. Sheila Bowling said it’s not a political issue but a moral one.
Lester Bowling, a pastor and veteran, quoted Psalm 139 as saying God formed babies in their mother’s wombs and deserve life at any stage of pregnancy.
Swifties to the polls!
Taylor Swift is encouraging her pack of Swifties to head to the polls on Election Day.
“Voters gonna vote!” Swift wrote in a post to her 275 million Instagram followers, riffing off the lyrics to her hit single “Shake It Off.”
In the post, she encouraged those registered to vote in Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia to “use your voice” and directed them to the nonpartisan voter advocacy group Vote.org for more information.
Vote.org says nearly 40,000 people registered to vote on their website after Swift mentioned the group on National Voter Registration Day in September.
“Taylor Swift is one of the busiest people in the world, but she always has time to stand up for democracy, use her own voice and encourage her fans and followers to use theirs,” Vote.org CEO Andrea Hailey said in a statement Tuesday.
Polls begin to open on Election Day
Polls have begun to open in a few states for off-year elections that could give hints of voter sentiment ahead of next year’s critical presidential contest.
In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is hoping that his support of abortion rights will persuade voters in his Republican-leaning state to look past their skepticism of the national party and give him another term in office.
Ohio is the only state to consider a statewide abortion rights question this year. Voters there will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing an individual right to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care.
In Virginia, party control of the state legislature is up for grabs in what Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is calling the “most important elections in America.” The results will determine whether Republicans are empowered with full state government control or Democrats can continue serving as a bulwark against Youngkin’s agenda.