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Three Major Races to Keep an Eye on This Fall

Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2023
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by Aaron Flanigan
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AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan

American flag with primary election poster ahead of races

With less than six months to go until the first vote of the GOP primaries and just over a year until the general election, many politicians and pundits are already turning their attention to next November. But in the midst of all the 2024 chatter, many political pundits, media voices, and even American voters have overlooked the handful of crucial races taking place this fall. Here are three of the most important state-level races of 2023—and what they could mean for 2024 and beyond.

Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

In the Bluegrass State this fall, incumbent Democrat Governor Andy Beshear will face off against Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron—a conservative favorite hailed as a rising star in the Republican Party.

Though Kentucky is typically a deep red state (Trump carried it by more than 25 points in 2020) Beshear has enjoyed one of the highest approval ratings of any governor in the nation. His ability to sell himself as a moderate despite advancing a number of radical policies like strict COVID-19 lockdowns (which the Kentucky Supreme Court had to strike down) and vetoing a ban on sex change surgeries for minors has won him significant support within his state and throughout the country. In fact, Beshear recently ranked as the most popular Democrat governor in the nation with Republican voters.

Cameron—the first black American to be elected to statewide office in the history of Kentucky and the Bluegrass State’s first Republican Attorney General since 1948—rose to national prominence during the summer 2020 riots, where he found himself at the center of the Breonna Taylor case. While other state officials throughout the country had caved to far-left street activists, Cameron stood strong for the rule of law, refusing to bring unwarranted charges against the police officers involved with Taylor’s death.

Cameron also delivered a riveting speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention, and has since further bolstered his profile as a conservative up-and-comer, going on to win a tough GOP primary battle (thanks in part to former President Donald Trump’s endorsement) to secure the gubernatorial nomination last spring.

The latest polling has Beshear up by eight points over Cameron – meaning that Cameron has some serious, but not impossible, work to do to close the gap. Cameron’s most important task over the next two months will be hammering Beshear’s under-the-radar extremist record. He will also need to lean heavily on his proud embrace of the Trump agenda in a resoundingly pro-Trump state.

If Cameron manages to pull off a victory, it could solidify his status as a major force in Republican politics for years to come.

Virginia Legislative Races

Two years after Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia Governor’s Mansion in an upset—the first statewide Republican victory in the Old Dominion in more than a decade—all 40 state Senate seats, as well as all 100 seats in the House of Delegates, are up for election in Virginia.

Currently, Democrats hold a slim 22-18 majority in the state Senate while Republicans narrowly control the House. Since Youngkin’s 2021 victory, Virginia Senate Democrats have successfully blocked several components of Youngkin’s legislative agenda, including more extensive tax cuts, parental rights legislation, and tougher penalties for fentanyl dealers.

Republicans are making Democrat obstruction of these policies and other popular proposals the major theme of their effort to hold the House of Delegates and retake the Virginia Senate. Democrats, meanwhile, are attempting to turn the election into a referendum on Youngkin’s proposed abortion plan, which is to restrict the practice after 15 weeks of gestation with exceptions for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at stake.

One thing worth paying close attention to is the impact of Youngkin’s “Secure Your Vote” initiative – a major effort to create a GOP early voting infrastructure in the commonwealth. Youngkin and Virginia Republicans have poured significant resources into the campaign, and they need it to pay off. As AMAC Newsline has previously reported, Youngkin and his team believe the initiative will offset the advantage Democrats have had thanks to early and mail-in voting. They’re betting that there are a significant number of Republican-inclined voters out there who might not go to the polls on Election Day, but who will vote early or by mail – a bet that has so far paid off for Democrats.

A Republican sweep of the Virginia legislature this November could indicate that the GOP may have found a repeatable winning formula in a state that was once thought to be trending permanently blue. It would likely also further bolster Youngkin’s conservative record during his final two years in office as he continues to contemplate his political future.

Louisiana Gubernatorial Race

Another opportunity for a Republican gubernatorial pickup this fall is in deep red Louisiana, where Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards cannot run again due to term limits.

Although several Republicans have jumped into the race, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry—who has earned the endorsement of former President Donald Trump—has emerged as a clear frontrunner. Landry gained national attention last year when he, along with then-Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, requested that the Louisiana District Court compel the DOJ to “turn over communications between high-ranking Biden Administration officials from the White House, Department of State, FBI and others and major social media companies”—a major step in the fight against left-wing censorship.

Meanwhile, Shawn Wilson, the state’s former Secretary of Transportation, is the only Democrat in the race—and faces an uphill battle this fall.

Unlike other states, Louisiana uses a jungle primary system, in which every candidate, regardless of party, appears on the same ballot. The winning candidate needs to achieve an outright majority to win the election. If no candidate reaches a majority, the top two primary candidates then advance to a general election. This year, the jungle primary will be held on October 14, with a general election date set for November 18.

With a Landry victory this fall, conservatives in the Pelican State will almost surely achieve unified Republican government, further solidifying the state’s reputation as a conservative stronghold.

Other elections this fall include the Mississippi gubernatorial race—where incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves is expected to easily win reelection—and a ballot measure in Ohio, where voters will decide whether their state constitution should codify a right to abortion.

As voters continue to monitor the presidential primaries and prepare for what promises to be a high-stakes 2024 race, they should not lose sight of elections taking place this year, which could yield significant consequences for our nation and our future.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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Rik
Rik
10 months ago

How does one “praise” HIGHER GASOLINE, FOOD & HOUSING PRICES? . . . What SCARES me is the STUPIDITY OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC! Common Sense tells you that that these Jack*ss Democrats should ALL BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE but Unfortunately STUPIDITY REIGNS SUPREME with the Democratic populace!

Donny
Donny
10 months ago

Allan West and Candace Owens is a winning ticket !!

Dan W.
Dan W.
10 months ago

One race that we have already lost sight of is the presidential primary.

The worst possible outcomes would be either four more years of Biden or even worse, two more years of Biden followed by two years of Harris.

I know, I know….we don’t want four years of another George Bush but sometimes you have to turn mother’s picture to the wall and choose the lesser of two evils. Voting Biden out of office outweighs everything else.

Thinking
Thinking
10 months ago

If Americans do not overwhelmingly vote Republican across the country in 2024 all is lost. That 47% of democrats still will vote for ole Joe, if we are to believe the polls, personally I put no stock in them, America is destroyed. The dems with the help of money from the elites are buying the election all over the country. They bought it in 2020 and will do so again in 2024.
The Red Wave did not happen in 2022 it will not happen in 2024.
America has been destroyed from within.

Myrna
Myrna
10 months ago

How can we have hope when we have so many judges who cannot judge rationally?

Gary Danielson
Gary Danielson
10 months ago

i really don’t understand inability to find common ground on removing these bad actors in government. We’ve watched a President get impeached twice on questionable grounds. Meanwhile we have an AG and Director of Homeland Security lie to Congress without any repercussions.

Kenneth Koona
Kenneth Koona
10 months ago

The GOP must make their case in every race that to elect a Dem is to elect a leftist socialist that abides in Biden/ No loyal US legal citizen should vote Dem again after these 3 yrs. of Biden horrors: open border, crime, illegals swarming the nation up to almost 1.5 million, higher taxes and more inflation, Biden just raised the salaries of all federal workers just what the US needs. In foreign relations, no one trusts the US under Biden and he could not defend the USA. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
10 months ago

All I know is the more ppl that escape what they wrought in California and vote “same-same” here in Nevada, the less places I can look forward to moving to to escape their stupidity! I can go from Washoe to Douglas County where gas and sales tax is 25-40% less. Gas is cheaper in the middle of Nevada then it is at the cheapest local station here!

Barry
Barry
10 months ago

I cannot believe that the dems think blocking tougher fentanyl legislation is a winning strategy given that Virginia was at the epicenter of the OxyContin epidemic in the ’90s. How soon we forget.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
10 months ago

Beshear is another LEGACY governor following in the footsteps of his daddy. He is a DIMM liberal masquerading as a moderate. So far, he has produced many more commercials than Cameron. Cameron’s team needs to start airing some more ads!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
10 months ago

With our current affairs of state one would expect a voting revolution. The fact that evil persists after each vote indicates either drive by voting or serious compromise. In either case our liberties are slipping away.

PaulE
PaulE
10 months ago

The races mentioned will be the first look at how the Democrats plan to deploy their resources ahead of the 2024 general elections. So, we will get to see an advanced look at some of their overall strategy and ground game tactics. If Republicans in the RNC or leadership positions in Washington were smart, they would pay close attention to everything being deployed across the board. Something other than being the usual day late and a dollar short style response we normally see play out. Everything from carefully crafted MSM carpet bombing in support of the Democrats in each race (blanketing the media markets in those areas with non-stop ads and news stories constantly praising the Democrat candidates and vilifying the Republican candidates) to how the Democrats will leverage local, state and national judicial systems to seek advantage and wins will be on display. None of the races in question should be considered a Republican lock to win until the final ballot is counted at the very end. Expect the usual Democrat mudslinging and race baiting that are hallmarks of standard Democrat campaigns, but also expect the Democrats to leverage their other ground assets to try and sway the votes. Nothing is off the table. So, each Republican candidate has to be proactive instead of reactive.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
10 months ago

The above races Dems seek to control IE 2020

Dubby
Dubby
10 months ago

I am from Virginia. We need to vote early so when we get to the polls on election day we don’t find out we already “voted” absentee! I took the rolls (in a county far from Richmond) and found a number of people who were dead, several over a hundred years old. The registrar refused to listen or even take my results because “those names have to go through Richmond to be taken off.” But Richmond wouldn’t even take my now-Florida’s daughter off the rolls despite her filling out the proper forms three times and having been gone over ten years!

Eve E.
Eve E.
10 months ago

The Enemy From Within (liberalism). Michael Savage said it decades ago – and he was right. Enjoy our retirements and memories of what once was the greatest society ever formed – it’s gone. Destroyed.

Compton Oliver
Compton Oliver
10 months ago

In Biden’s America, total control and obedience are their overall objective. However, Joe Biden and his clandestine band of corrupt officials, cannot win, because America is a Covenanted Nation and God is in Control. Let us not look at the dark clouds that have gathered across this nation but rather by faith focus on the silver lining beyond the orison. Be not despair, my fellow Americans, the answer to all of our problems is in your hands. Go out and vote your values (conservative) of course. To sit at home complaining and murmuring is like giving AMERICA to the corrupt, abominable, fake and deceitful Joe Biden on a silver platter. Vote! Vote! Vote!

gserlin
gserlin
10 months ago

Virginia sounds good. Shh! Tobacco sleeping.

Secret Service agents rush Donald Trump off the stage.(AP: Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden greets President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California.(Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
President Joe Biden speaks on the phone with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to discuss his approval of a FEMA disaster declaration in response to the impacts of Hurricane Beryl, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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