Republicans have their candidate in Kentucky, Democrats have a majority in Pennsylvania and the 2024 GOP presidential primary has another showdown between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the books.
Voters threw DeSantis a pair of brushbacks Tuesday, particularly in Kentucky where the Florida governor’s eleventh-hour endorsement in the GOP gubernatorial primary fell. Back in Jacksonville, Democrats overthrew another DeSantis ally, electing the city’s first female mayor.
Philadelphia is now likely poised to do the same. Former city council member Cherelle Parker emerged from a deep field of Democratic candidates to claim the party’s mayoralty — defeating a pair of leading liberals in the process. Progressives fared better in western Pennsylvania, but the entire party was able to celebrate a special election result that, along with Heather Boyd’s victory, preserved Democrats’ narrow control of the state legislature.
Here are 7 takeaways from the elections in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Cameron’s victory sets up one of the most important elections of 2023, and one with implications for 2024.
Beshear’s bid for a second term could be an important bellwether for next year, when his party defends Senate seats in other red states – Montana, Ohio and West Virginia.
Beshear, whose father was a two-term governor, defeated Republican Gov. Matt Bevin — an unpopular incumbent who angered many in his own party — in 2019. As expected, he rejected the nominal opposition of Democratic primary on Tuesday. Republicans, however, argue that despite Beshear’s popularity, the November general election is likely to be competitive in the deep red state.
Cameron on Tuesday said the Republican-controlled legislature deserves most of the credit for Beshear’s accomplishments.
“The governor can’t pretend to hit a triple when everyone knows he was born on third base,” Cameron said.
He also looked at his lines of attack on Beshear in the upcoming election, blaming the first-term Democrat for crime, low labor force participation rates, fentanyl and schools he said which are “on the verge of becoming breeding grounds for liberal and progressive values.”
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Cameron early, offering the 37-year-old lawyer his support in June.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is poised to take on Trump for the party’s presidential nomination in 2024, made an eleventh-hour entry into the Kentucky race, backing Craft – who was defeated on Tuesday .
Trump won the day and demonstrated his lasting influence among Republican primary voters – a reality Cameron acknowledged when he offered “a big thank you” to Trump at his election night party.
“Let me just say, the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky,” Cameron said.
The Kentucky GOP governor’s race is testing Trump’s influence
If he defeats Beshear in November, Cameron will make history in two ways: as the first Black governor of Kentucky, and as the first Black Republican elected governor of the United States.
He nodded to possible history-making status on stage Tuesday night.
“Anyone like me, knows that you can achieve anything. Know that in this country and in Kentucky, all that matters are your values,” said Cameron.
The national star attorney general arrived in a speech at the 2020 GOP convention. But Cameron, who is an aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, proved his mettle in Kentucky by defeating Greg Stumbo, a Democrat who is the state’s former attorney general and longtime House speaker. when failed by state Republicans, in the 2019 attorney general race.
Florida may have been swinging in recent elections — but a Democrat won the mayoral race Tuesday in Jacksonville, which is the largest city in the United States with a Republican mayor.
Democratic former journalist Donna Deegan defeated Republican former state Rep. Daniel Davis in Tuesday’s runoff election, CNN projected. She will be the first woman mayor of the city after campaigning on the promise of increasing transparency in city hall.
Republicans have held the mayor’s office in Jacksonville since Mayor Lenny Curry narrowly defeated term-limited Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown in 2015.
Jacksonville is consolidated with Duval County, Florida – which means the rural parts of the county and the red-leaning suburban areas also vote in the mayoral race. That’s partly how Republicans have held the mayor’s office from former Mayor Ed Austin’s party switch in 1993 until now, with Brown’s lone four-year term the only exception.
The Jacksonville result was another loss for DeSantis, who endorsed Davis in March and called him “the proven law and order conservative Jacksonville must face the city’s biggest challenges and get the biggest opportunities out of it.”
Progressive Democrats took a hit in Philadelphia on Tuesday, when movement champion Helen Gym failed to capture the party’s mayoral nomination in a race that CNN projects will be won by former city council member Cherelle Parker.
Coming just weeks after Brandon Johnson’s victory in Chicago, progressives hope the Philadelphia contest will continue their winning streak in major city races, which began last year with the election of Michelle Wu in Boston. and Karen Bass of Los Angeles.
Parker, a moderate Democrat who is now on track to become the first Black woman to lead Philadelphia, has the support of the city’s Black establishment and many influential unions. He also appears to benefit from Gym and former city manager Rebecca Rhynhart splitting the more liberal vote.
But it’s not all bad news for the Commonwealth left.
Democrats in western Pennsylvania are ready to appoint Rep. Sara Innamorato of the state to become the next executive of Allegheny County. His victory followed the election of longtime ally US Rep. Summer Lee in Congress last year and the removal of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey from the position of former incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto last year.
Republican voters in Pennsylvania have made an establishment-backed GOP candidate their nominee for an open state Supreme Court seat, rejecting another Republican candidate closer to the wing in the party of former President Donald Trump.
CNN projected Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Carluccio’s victory in Tuesday’s primary, marking a rebound for more traditional elements of the GOP in this presidential battleground state. He will defeat Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, who briefly halted the certification of the state’s 2020 election results, and has the support of a key Trump ally, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the election denier who lost the race for governor of the state last year, this election.
Carluccio will now face Democrat Superior Court Judge Daniel McCaffery, who won his primary on Tuesday, in the fall.
The nominees are vying for an open seat on the Pennsylvania high court, following the death of former Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, last year.
Republican Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams — who worked with Beshear and the GOP-led legislature to expand mail-in and early voting, and earned bipartisan praise for his four years in office – quickly fended off a challenger to deny Tuesday’s election.
Adams defeated Stephen Knipper, an information technology project manager who made false claims of election fraud in the Bluegrass State, as well as former state legislator Allen Maricle.
This is not enough to prevent false claims about how the election was conducted from proliferating. Kari Lake, the election-denying Republican who lost the 2022 Arizona governor’s race, tweeted on Tuesday without providing any evidence that he “heard reports of trouble from Kentucky during today’s election. ”
Adams will be the heavy favorite when he faces Democratic former state Rep. Buddy Wheatley, unopposed for his party’s nomination, in November.