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Election results could yield new state policies; TX doubles cancer R&D

November 07, 2019

Corrected version.*

Democrats made some gains in Virginia’s Legislature, and in Kentucky, the governor’s seat looks to be turning over to a Democrat, but the current Republican is requesting a recanvass in the close race. If those results hold, Democratic challenger and current Attorney General Andy Beshear will take the seat from incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin, ending the state’s Republican trifecta (where one party holds the governorship and both chambers of the legislature). Mississippi’s gubernatorial seat remained in Republican control, while the gubernatorial election in Louisiana takes place on Nov. 16, and the incumbent Democratic governor there is seeking another term. Following Tuesday’s elections, the divided government in Virginia turned into a Democratic trifecta in Virginia, as Republicans lost their hold in both the House and Senate. Those outcomes and results from several state legislative elections, along with the results of several innovation-related initiatives, are highlighted below.

Gubernatorial outcomes

In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin refused to concede the seat on Wednesday following a close election with his opponent, Andy Beshear. The current governor has requested an election recanvass, which is different from a recount, in the close race that left his opponent ahead by 5,300 votes. Under Kentucky law, a candidate may request a recanvass of the vote totals by the Tuesday following the election. In the recanvass, which can also happen if a county clerk or a county board of elections notices a discrepancy, each county clerk reviews the vote totals by counting absentee votes and checking printouts. There is no automatic provision for a recount in Kentucky. Meanwhile, Beshear has already announced his transition chair and addressed topics he says he will include in the state budget in January, including education and infrastructure.

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated state Attorney General Jim Hood (D) with 52.2 percent of the vote to Hood’s 46.5 percent, leaving the governor’s seat in Republican control, and maintaining that party’s trifecta. 

The Louisiana general election is Nov. 16 where incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is trying to hold onto his seat. Louisiana’s all-party system allows a candidate to win the election if they receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. No candidate did, and so they advance to the general election.

Legislative outcomes

There were the seven state legislative chambers holding elections this year. Twenty five seats were up for grabs in Louisiana’s House of Representatives. If a candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in the October primary, they won the seat. If not, the two candidate receiving the most votes will face off on Nov. 16, so results for that state are still pending. The Mississippi Republican trifecta held across both chambers and the governorship, and in Virginia, Democrats gained a trifecta as they flipped seats in both the House and Senate to win control of both (Gov. Ralph Northam is also a Democrat). New Jersey’s Democratic trifecta was still undetermined on Wednesday after elections for all 80 seats in the state’s General Assembly, but the Democratic trifecta did not look threatened as Republicans would need to flip 14 out of 80 seats to gain control of the Assembly. While they did flip some seats, the results are still being tabulated in close contests as of publication.

Ballot initiatives

Colorado’s Proposition CC, a measure to decide whether the state could retain revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education purposes, failed (55.1 percent voting against the measure), meaning the state will have to continue issuing refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Proposition DD to legalize sports betting with tax revenue for water projects won by a slim margin with 50.5 percent voting yes to the 49.5 against it.

In Texas, Proposition 6, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) bonds amendment won handily with 64 percent of the vote, which allows the Legislature to double the amount of bonds from $3 million to $6 million.

Washington’s Referendum 88 was too close to call on Wednesday, with 76 percent of precincts reporting and 51.8 percent of those voters rejecting the measure, which would reject the Legislature’s action to restore affirmative action. A majority of voters there (64.9 percent) also said they would repeal the business activities tax to fund higher education programs, although it was a nonbinding question and the tax was approved in House Bill 2158.

* An earlier version of the story did not indicate that it was Kentucky's governorship that flipped parties.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Washingtonelections