Pluribus AM: Lessons learned from the 2023 elections

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!? Join us today at 1 p.m. ET to recap last night’s election results, with Democratic strategist Tom Bonier and Republican strategist Daniel Scarpinato. Pluribus News members can register here.

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, November 8, 2023. In today’s edition, all the election results fit to print; Dems win big in races where abortion mattered; incumbent governors survive challenges:

Top Stories

VIRGINIA: Democrats won control of Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates Tuesday, sweeping to wins in expensive suburban seats. Democrats will hold at least 21 seats in the 40-seat Senate, with two races still counting. They will control at least 51 seats in the 100-member House, with two seats still contested. (Pluribus News)

KENTUCKY: Gov. Andy Beshear (D) won re-election over Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) on Tuesday. With more than 95% of the expected votes in, Beshear held a 52.5% to 47.5% lead. Republicans swept the other five races on the ballot, and they continue to hold supermajorities in the legislature. (Pluribus News)

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) won re-election over Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), taking 51.8% of the vote to Presley’s 46.9%. By taking more than half the vote, Reeves avoided a runoff Republicans had privately worried about. Republicans swept the other three statewide races on the ballot. (Pluribus News)

Kentucky and Mississippi reinforce one of our bedrock theories of politics: Beating a sitting governor is one of the hardest things to do in American politics.

NEW JERSEY: Democrats made gains in New Jersey’s legislature, where they have maintained a majority for two decades. Democrats picked up at least one Senate seat — held by Sen. Ed Durr (R), who stunned Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) four years ago — and at least three seats in the Assembly. (

OHIO: Voters approved a constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion and reproductive care, with 56.6% of the vote. At the same time, 57% voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, making Ohio the 24th state to allow legal pot sales. (Pluribus News)

OUR TAKEAWAY: Democrats have a potent tool to take into the 2024 presidential election: Where abortion was on the ballot, explicitly or implicitly, Democrats won. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) effort to coalesce Republicans around a 15-week ban, with exceptions, didn’t work. Republicans have a year to figure out how to respond.

You can relive last night’s elections hour-by-hour: Check out our live blog.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Florida’s House approved a measure providing $45 million in grants to secure Jewish schools, synagogues and institutions. The House also voted to increase sanctions on businesses that interact with Iranian companies. The Senate is expected to take up the bills today. (Associated Press)

IMMIGRATION: Massachusetts House leaders are proposing to spend $250 million to address the surge of homeless and migrant families that are straining the state’s shelter system. Massachusetts can house up to 7,500 families, a limit they are likely to hit today or tomorrow. (Boston Globe) Illinois and Chicago officials are partnering with the White House to open a one-stop work authorization clinic aimed at addressing the migrant surge. The clinic will be able to help about 150 migrants a day. (Chicago Tribune)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Judge Daniel McCaffery (D) beat out Judge Carolyn Carluccio (R) in a race that gives Democrats a 5-2 majority on the state Supreme Court. With most votes in, McCaffery won 52.9% to 47.1%. And former city council member Cherelle Parker (D) will be Philadelphia’s next mayor — and the first woman to hold the job in the city’s 330+-year history. (Pluribus News)

MAINE: Voters soundly rejected a plan to create a publicly-owned utility, with 69% voting against. They approved a measure barring foreign-owned or -controlled entities to spend money on Maine elections, with 86% of the vote. And 84% supported an automotive “right to repair” bill. (Pluribus News)

MICHIGAN: State Rep. Kevin Coleman (D) won election to become Westland’s next mayor, and state Rep. Lori Stone (D) won her race to be the next mayor of Warren. Their wins, and their pending resignations from the legislature, mean Democrats will lose their two-vote majority in the state House. House rules give Speaker Joe Tate (D) control of the chamber in event of a tie, and both Coleman and Stone are likely to be replaced by Democrats, restoring the party’s majority. (Bridge MI, Detroit Free Press)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democrat Paige Beauchemin (D) took almost 61% of the vote to claim an open state House seat in Hillsborough. Her victory means Republicans will hold 198 seats in the House, Democrats will hold 197 seats, and independents hold three seats. Another two seats are vacant. (WMUR) Republican Jay Ruais held off Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh to win election as Manchester’s next mayor. (WMUR)

MASSACHUSETTS: State Rep. Peter Durant (R) won a special election to fill a vacant state Senate seat in Worcester and Hampshire counties, flipping a district that had been held by a Democrat. He beat out state Rep. Jon Zlotnik (D) by a 54%-46% margin. (WWLP)

TEXAS: State Sen. John Whitmire (D) and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) will face off in a December 9 runoff for the right to replace Houston’s term-limited mayor, Sylvester Turner. Both are Texas Democratic institutions: Whitmire has served in the legislature since 1983, and Lee has represented Houston in Congress since 1995. (Pluribus News)

Texas voters also approved 13 of 14 ballot propositions advanced by the legislature. The lone measure to lose would have increased the mandatory retirement ages for Texas judges and justices from 75 to 79. (Texas Tribune)

CRIME BLOTTER: North Carolina Auditor Beth Wood (D) has been indicted on a misdemeanor charge of misusing a state vehicle that she allegedly took to hair and dental appointments. Wood said last week she would not seek re-election. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

195: The number of mayoral elections Philadelphia has held since 1691. Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker will be the first woman to hold the job. (Pluribus News)

$8.55 billion: The economic impact generated by Georgia’s film industry tax credits in 2022, according to a study from a London-based consulting firm. The tax break generated almost 60,000 jobs and returned $6.30 for every dollar the incentive cost the state. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)

Off The Wall

A week or so ago, we made a joke about Texas Prop. 12, which would have eliminated the position of Galveston County Treasurer. Well, turns out that was the most closely-fought election in Texas last night: The proposition passed by a 53%-47% margin, while most other ballot propositions scored at least two-thirds of the vote.

Yusef Salaam, who spent six years in jail after being wrongfully convicted in the Central Park Five case, will spend the next four years — at least — at city hall. Salaam won a seat on the New York City Council representing Harlem on Tuesday. He was unopposed. (Associated Press)

Guard your Taco Bell: A hungry black bear scored a free meal when it snagged a $45 Uber Eats delivery off someone’s porch in Longwood, Fla., last week. The bear returned a few minutes later to take a soda that accompanies the delivery. (Fox 35)

Quote of the Day

“Well, that didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it to.”

Kentucky Attorney General Cameron. During his gracious concession speech, Cameron said he had called Gov. Beshear to congratulate the winner. (Pluribus News)