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Marijuana & Abortion Rights Guaranteed in Ohio

Mathew Biadun | Staff Writer

Source: Harm Reduction Ohio

Tuesday saw important elections take place all across the United States. While this election was neither a midterm nor a Presidential election, many important questions were answered by the voters this Election Day. Two states held gubernatorial elections, Ohio held public plebiscites on controversial issues, Connecticut elected mayors in several major cities, and Virginia elected its statewide legislature.

Mississippi and Kentucky both re-elected their incumbent Governors to office. Republican Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi won reelection easily; a victory that was all but assured. Every Mississippi governor since 2003 has been a Republican and won two consecutive terms. Tate Reeves was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Mississippi seems unlikely to become competitive anytime soon, having leaned comfortably Republican since the new millennium. His opponent, Brandon Presley, is a second-cousin of famed singer Elvis Presley; a fact that did not aid him enough in the election.

Andy Beshear, incumbent Governor of Kentucky, was re-elected as well. Beshear had originally won by shockingly slim margins in 2019, only being elected by a difference of .37%, or just over 5,000 votes. He was re-elected far more comfortably this time by a margin of 5%, Kentucky is dominated by the Republicans federally, who have consistently won the Congressional elections in the state. However, the state is far more competitive on the state level, as proven by the success of Andy Beshear, and previously his father, who was also Governor from 2007-2015.

Ohio also held important votes on Tuesday, holding two statewide plebiscites to determine key issues. A proposal asked voters whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana for all adults twenty-one or older, while another asked if abortion should be protected by the state constitution for up to about-23 weeks. Both proposals passed by over 55%. Abortion rights has proven to be a powerful issue in animating voters. The outcry at the overturning of Roe v Wade was one factor attributed to the lack of a significant Red Wave in the 2020 midterm elections.

A similar rebuke to Republicans occurred in Virginia, where Democrats won both chambers of the state legislature, creating a difficult situation for Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin. Election Day left the Governor, who had been previously seen as a potential future Presidential candidate, looking weak and disliked. The loss of legislature control will leave it difficult for him to implement his agenda or policies.

In Connecticut, many important cities held mayoral elections. The incumbent Democratic mayor of Bridgeport, Joseph Ganin, only won by a difference of a little over one percent. Ganin’s victory in the previous Democratic Primary had been contested by a judge and deemed illegitimate, leaving his political career in a quagmire of legal confusion. New Haven’s incumbent mayor Justin Elicker, another Democrat, won the election far easier, cruising to a victory with almost 80% of the vote. Another easy victory was achieved by Arunan Arulampalam, who won his bid for the Hartford mayorship with almost 70% of the vote. His victory in the Democratic Primary all but assured his victory; Hartford has not elected a Republican mayor since 1967.

The trend of this election has neither set trends nor broken them, but merely followed what was already occurring nationwide. Incumbents won all elections mentioned in this article, marking a lack of serious change in public opinion since the last elections. The success of Democratic candidates, even in states that lean red like Kentucky, or states with previous Republican victories in Virginia. This certainly bodes well for President Biden’s re-election campaign in 2024. However, low turnout in odd-year elections also makes long-term predictions difficult to make. Whether these are actual discernible trends remains to be seen.


“Connecticut Election Results.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023, ck&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=election-results&context=election_recirc® ion=StateResultsFooter.

“Ohio Election Results and Maps 2023 | CNN Politics.” CNN, Accessed 8 Nov. 2023.

“Ohio Issue 1 Election Results: Establish a Constitutional Right to Abortion.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023, html.

Pettus, Emily Wagster. “Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves Wins 2nd Term, Defeating Democrat Brandon Presley.” AP News, AP News, 8 Nov. 2023, 4846c2d4.

Schreiner, Bruce. “Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear Reelected to Second Term in Kentucky, Overcoming State’s GOP Dominance.” AP News, AP News, 8 Nov. 2023, 91ba447c84bafc.

“Virginia State Legislature Election Results.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023, ml.


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