The Political Report – November 9, 2023

Abortion rights proved a winning issue again for Democrats last night and nowhere was it more clearly on the ballot than in Ohio, where voters approved a constitutional amendment that ensures access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care.

But the chart below shows why the issue is like kryptonite for Republicans. Exits polls showed shows an astonishing 77% of voters aged 18 to 29 — from both parties — were in favor of enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution.

As John Ellis noted, 77% “is not a figure you often see in American politics.” Banning abortion is a big loser for Republicans — and it’s amplified when young people vote.

NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE. While Republicans went into election night arguing that they had a shot to take control of at least one chamber, Democrats decisively preserved their majorities in both the Senate and Assembly. One particularly satisfying result came from South Jersey where former Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli unseated Republican state Sen. Edward Durr two years after Durr defeated state Senate President Steve Sweeney in a shocker.

Jonathan Chait: “It may well turn out that Biden can beat Donald Trump next year, and I obviously hope he does. But the Democrats’ performance in the off-year elections, and in recent special-election victories, don’t actually tell us that.”

ALLEGHENY COUNTY (PA) EXECUTIVE. Former state Rep. Sara Innamorato overcame a huge spending disadvantage and beat Republican businessman Joe Rockey 51-49 in the contest to succeed her fellow Democrat, termed-out Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Innamorato, who campaigned as a progressive, will be the first woman to lead Pennsylvania’s second-largest county.

 “The 2024 Republican primary is entering a fraught and caustic new phase, as Donald Trump’s wide lead remains undiminished, the days until voting begins dwindle and his rivals take aim at each other as much as at him,” the New York Times reports.

“Ahead of Wednesday’s debate in Miami, the campaigns of Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott each put out memos on the state of the race that knifed each other’s viability, skills and standing, in a bid to present themselves as the only true alternative to Mr. Trump, the man who refuses to debate them.”

“The Trump campaign put out a memo, too. It ignored his primary rivals entirely, and instead previewed his run against President Biden, one year out from the general election.”

“Just four candidates appear to have qualified so far for the third Republican presidential debate in Miami on Nov. 8, half the number that made it to the first and second debates earlier this year,” the New York Times reports.

They are Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie.

“Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in polling and fund-raising, did not participate in the first two debates, and is unlikely to take part in the third.”

Dave Weigel reports that Tim Scott says he’s also qualified.

BUCKS COUNTY (PA) BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS. Democrats maintained control of the three-member board of commissioners for this populous and competitive community outside of Philadelphia.

Because each party could nominate only two candidates, the body was guaranteed to have a 2-1 split. The two Democratic incumbents, Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Bob Harvie, respectively won 28% and 26%. Fellow Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo secured the third and final spot by beating out his Republican ticketmate, County Controller Pamela Van Blunk, 24-23.

CHESTER COUNTY (PA) BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS. Democrats also will continue to hold the three-member board of commissioners for Chester County, a suburban Philadelphia community that swung hard to the left during the Trump era. Democratic incumbents Josh Maxwell and Marian Moskowitz finished with 28% each; former state Rep. Eric Roe led his fellow Republican, teacher David Sommers, 23-21 for the final spot on the commission.

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTION. Democrat Paige Beauchemin beat Republican David Narkunas 61-39 to hold this seat for her party.

Beauchemin’s win leaves the GOP with a tiny 198-197 edge in a 400-member chamber that also includes three independents. The final two seats are both in Coos County: The 1st District went for Donald Trump 53-45 in 2020, while the 6th voted 55-43 for Joe Biden.

HOUSTON MAYOR. State Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee advanced to the Dec. 9 general election to succeed their fellow Democrat, termed-out Mayor Sylvester Turner. Whitmire led the nonpartisan primary with 43% while Jackson Lee beat former METRO board chair Gilbert Garcia 35-7 for second.

INDIANAPOLIS MAYOR. Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett secured a third term by fending off Republican Jefferson Shreve, a wealthy businessman who self-funded at least $13.5 million60-40.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY (PA) DISTRICT ATTORNEY. District Attorney Stephen Zappala won his rematch against former Allegheny County Chief Public Defender Matt Dugan 52-48 months after Dugan beat him in the Democratic primary. Zappala, a 25-year-incumbent who is despised by criminal justice reformers, says he still identifies as a Democrat even though he secured the GOP nod through a write-in campaign. 

Open AI CEO Sam Altman is making moves to back — or even to be “embedded” in — Biden primary challenger Dean Phillips’ campaign, Puck reports.


“Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is seeing little support for his longshot primary bid against President Joe Biden from a group of power brokers in his home state who have donated to his past successful runs for Congress,” CNBC reports.

MAINE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFERENDUM. Mainers rejected Question 3, which would have replaced the state’s current investor-owned energy system with a publicly owned nonprofit69-31.

Central Maine Power and Versant, the utility giants that deployed at least $34.7 million to beat this referendum, also successfully passed Question 1 by a 65-35 margin. This measure bars the public nonprofit envisioned by Question 3 (and other entities like it) from taking on more than $1 billion in debt without first winning statewide voter approval.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION. Democrat Gabe Amo beat out Republican Gerry Leonard 65-35 in the special election to replace former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline; Joe Biden won this constituency by a similar 64-35. Amo, who is the son of immigrants from Ghana and Liberia, will be the first person of color to represent Rhode Island in Congress.

Seth Masket: “Donald Trump picked Mike Pence as his running mate in 2016 for pretty sound strategic reasons — he wanted to lock down the evangelical Christian wing of the party, which was not yet staunchly in his corner. Today, there is likely no major faction in the party Trump is worrying about winning over, so it’s less clear just whom he might want.”

“There are many different values a party can use as a guideline for picking a VP. Where the candidate is from, how old they are, whether they’ve been running for president, etc., weigh heavily on the choice. But picks usually fall into one of two major categories: ticket-balancing (that is, picking someone from a different faction of the party, ideological position, or geographic region) and reinforcement (that is, picking someone who is in many ways similar to the presidential nominee and would carry on with their agenda). John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson would be a great example of ticket-balancing, while Bill Clinton and Al Gore are a common example of reinforcement.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “The Political Report – November 9, 2023

  1. cassandram

    One of my own takeaways from the Youngkin/GOP defeat on Tuesday is that voters seem to be deciding that the GOP is just not to be trusted with any abortion proposals. Their own maximalist tendencies would mean that the minute they get control of the legislature is the minute they propose an abortion ban. Compromising with the GOP on this is like facing Lucy with the football.

Leave a Reply