Tuesday saw several key races in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida, highlighting former President Trump’s hold on the Republican base and the strength of Democrats in suburban areas, among other things.
In one of the marquee races of the night, the Trump-endorsed candidate in the Kentucky GOP gubernatorial primary, Daniel Cameron, won against the favorite of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft. Florida’s governor-elect also lost the Jacksonville, Fla., mayoral race, in one of the biggest upsets of the night.
Meanwhile, Democrats scored a key victory in the Philadelphia suburbs in a race that largely hinged on abortion.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night’s election.
Trump won DeSantis in Kentucky
Trump scored a victory over his chief rival in Kentucky on Tuesday night when his endorsed candidate won the GOP gubernatorial primary.
Cameron, who was favored by the former president, won the Republican primary to challenge Gov. Andy Beshear (D) this November. Craft, who received a last-minute endorsement from DeSantis on Tuesday, placed third in the primary.
DeSantis’ decision to support Craft comes against the backdrop of an evolving 2024 Republican presidential primary field. The Florida governor is expected to formally launch his presidential bid in the coming weeks and is seen as Trump’s fiercest opponent.
DeSantis isn’t the only high-profile Republican backing Craft — declared 2024 candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also endorsed him.
Cameron, a rising star of the GOP, believed in endorsing the former president, even after Trump was convicted of sexual battery and defamation against writer E. Jean Carroll.
Good night for Dems
Democrats had a lot to celebrate Tuesday night.
In one of the most closely watched races of the year, Democratic candidate Heather Boyd defeated Republican Katie Ford in a special election for a Pennsylvania state House seat outside Philadelphia, giving her control of the lower room.
The race is seen as critical because Democrats fear Republicans will use a potential majority to push tougher measures related to abortion and LGBTQ issues.
Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, Fla., Democrats scored an upset after Donna Deegan (D) won the mayoral race there against Republican Daniel Davis, who was backed by DeSantis. The election offers Democrats some relief given Duval County’s red leanings, suggesting Democrats can still compete in the state even though Florida has trended Republican in recent years.
Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, independent candidate Yemi Mobolade won the mayoral race against Republican Wayne Williams, former Colorado secretary of state. The election dealt another blow to the Republicans because El Paso County, where Colorado Springs is located, a county that former President Trump won by 11 points in 2020.
Progressives’ streak of big-city wins has suffered a blow
Not all Democrats are celebrating the primary results, as progressives suffered a blow after their favored candidate, Helen Gym, lost the primary in the mayoral race in Philadelphia.
Gym, who has received endorsements from high-profile progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), lost the race to become the next top executive in Philadelphia to former City Council member Cherelle Parker. Former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart placed second and Gym placed third.
Parker is almost certain to prevail in the November election against Republican David Oh because of the city’s Democratic leanings.
Crime is one of the driving issues in the race, and Parker, who is Black, has particularly voiced support for the use of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy. His platform on safety and policing on his website also calls for the hiring of 300 additional police officers to be assigned to a neighborhood beat.
A surprise upset in Florida
Deegan’s victory in the Jacksonville mayoral race was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night. Deegan was able to flip the mayor’s office, which has been led by Republican Mayor Lenny Curry since 2015.
The race also further hurt DeSantis on Tuesday, as he endorsed Davis in March.
Polls ahead of the race showed the race to be tight. Polling from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida (UNF) last month found that 48 percent of respondents backed Deegan while Davis received 47 percent support, falling within the poll’s margin of error. by plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The poll also found that the highest percentage of respondents believe that crime is the most important issue facing the city.
Davis’ loss is a blow to Republicans in a county that has become more GOP-friendly in recent years. DeSantis won Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, by 12 points during the November midterms against Crist. But in 2018, Democrat Andrew Gillum won the county over DeSantis by 4 points.
Voter turnout was mixed
Voter turnout in some of the biggest elections has been a mixed bag.
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) previously warned that turnout for the GOP gubernatorial primary could reach 10 percent, and data from the secretary of state’s website Tuesday night showed turnout at around 14 percent .
Turnout also appeared relatively light in Pennsylvania, with an election official saying earlier that the level was “historically low,” according to WKBN-TV.
But in Duval County, where Jacksonville, Fla. is located, turnout was at 33 percent Tuesday night. Broken down by voter party affiliation, nearly 99,000 Republicans voted, while about 92,000 Democrats and nearly 25,000 voters had no party affiliation. More than 2,600 votes came from voters who identified as “other.”
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