Voters across the country head to the polls on Tuesday to decide key elections, including a bid by Kentucky Republicans to flip the governor’s office and a referendum in Ohio on whether to establish abortion as a constitutional right.
In Kentucky, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear is facing a challenge from Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, with recent polls showing a tight race. One survey released on Friday from Emerson College Polling showed Beshear and Cameron tied, with both taking 47%.
Cameron had been behind by 16 points in the previous Emerson poll before appearing to close the gap in recent weeks. Emerson College Polling executive director Spencer Kimball said the gap seemed to narrow because Cameron “appears to have gained ground by consolidating Republican voters who supported former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.”
During his campaign, Cameron highlighted former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Trump won Kentucky by 26 points in 2020, and Republicans have a supermajority in the legislature, overturning Beshear’s vetoes on a number of occasions.
Last year, Republicans gained an edge in voter registration in the commonwealth for the first time, as it has trended red in recent years.
In Ohio, voters will decide whether to place a right to an abortion in the state constitution. Pro-life advocates say that the initiative would allow abortions at all stages of pregnancy.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, has said that, if passed, Issue 1 would effectively legalize all abortion in the state.
“[T]he Amendment would give greater protection to abortion to be free from regulation than at any time in Ohio’s history,” analysis from Yost said. “That new test includes definitions and other terms that likewise make it harder for any law covering ‘reproductive decisions’ to survive.”
Since August 9, more than $18 million has been spent in favor of the pro-abortion initiative, with just $7 million being spent in opposition, according to NBC News. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, seven states have put abortion rights on the ballot, and pro-life advocates have lost every time.
Ohioans will also vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults.
In Virginia, political control of the state legislature is up for grabs with Republicans looking to hold on to the House of Delegates and take a majority in the state Senate. Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has broken fundraising records, prompting President Joe Biden to ask the Democratic National Committee to donate to Virginia Democrats. A win for Republicans would give Youngkin the opportunity to get some conservative legislation passed before his term expires.
Mississippi Republican Governor Tate Reeves is also on the ballot on Tuesday, facing a challenge from Democrat Brandon Presley, who has accused Reeves of corruption. Reeves won his first race in 2019 by five points, and the state consistently voted Republican in presidential elections, with the last Democrat to win the state being Jimmy Carter.
Voters in Pennsylvania will also vote to fill a vacant state Supreme Court seat, which could either increase or narrow the Democrat’s 4-2 advantage on the court. Republican Carolyn Carluccio is facing off against Democrat Dan McCaffery.