Republicans suffered a series of losses in highly anticipated elections Tuesday in states where Democrats had recently struggled.
Kentucky, a state former President Donald Trump won twice by significant margins, re-elected Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Democrats in Virginia retained control of the Senate and regained the House majority — striking a blow to the policy agenda of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. In Ohio, where Trump also won big twice, voters passed a constitutional amendment to establish the right to an abortion.
Beshear defeated Attorney General Daniel Cameron in Kentucky by a 6% margin after the Trump-endorsed candidate gained momentum in polls leading up to the election. Trump won the state by 26% in 2020. Beshear has retained a high approval rate as governor and campaigned heavily on maintaining abortion access.
“Tonight, I stand here excited and optimistic about what we’re going to do these next four years together,” Beshear said in his victory speech. “I pledge to be a governor that represents all of us regardless of your party and regardless of who you voted for.”
Virginia Republicans were unable to capitalize Tuesday on their 2022 upset win for Youngkin, who will now lead against a Democrat-controlled legislature in his final two years as governor. Youngkin has been a rising star in his party, stirring speculation that he may run for president.
Ohio passed a constitutional amendment declaring the right to an abortion with a 57% majority. It was the only state to take up the issue this year and became the seventh state to designate abortion as a right. The amendment will allow the procedure up until fetal viability — roughly 24 weeks gestation. The state passed a heartbeat bill in 2019 banning abortion past six weeks that was unable to be enforced due to Roe v. Wade.
Ohio also voted Tuesday to legalize marijuana — becoming the 24th state to do so.