Photo credit: KOMUnews via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Overlooked Elections from Tuesday Provide Some Surprises


All eyes on Tuesday were on marquee races of the 2019 general elections in Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi. In Virginia, another blue wave devastated the GOP. In Kentucky, the incumbent Republican governor trails in a race that’s too close to call, while Republicans handily swept other statewide races on the ballot. Republicans also swept the statewide races in Mississippi.

But elections in New Jersey and a handful of ballot initiatives have been overlooked. And there’s one more election coming up next week.

In Tucson, Ariz., a strong majority rejected a ballot measure which would have declared it a sanctuary city. Tucson, which is Arizona’s second-largest city, is the liberal center of Democrat strength in the state, and left-wing activists hoped to accelerate the state’s leftward drift with the measure. But citizens rejected the initiative, with a whopping 71 percent voting “no.”

In New Jersey, of all places, the GOP actually picked up a handful of seats in the state legislature. Republicans flipped at least one South Jersey district in the General Assembly — the lower house where each district is represented by two members — and hold a lead in a too-close-to-call race in a neighboring district. If the results hold, Republicans will have narrowed the Democrat majority in the General Assembly from 54-26 to 50-30. Republicans also picked up a Democrat-held seat in the state Senate in a special election, which will result in a slightly narrower 25-15 Democrat majority. Though the results hardly change the balance of power in New Jersey, Republicans in the state are gleeful that they were able to deliver a rebuke — however small — to far-left Gov. Phil Murphy despite being outspent nearly 4-to-1 by Democrats.

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In Texas, a constitutional amendment to strengthen the existing prohibition on a state income tax passed overwhelmingly by a margin of 74-26 percent. The measure was partly symbolic, as the state constitution already made imposing a state income tax nearly impossible, but it sent a message that Texas continues to be a conservative state despite liberal attempts to turn it blue. In Houston, Texas’s largest city, incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner and attorney Tony Buzbee advanced to a Dec. 14 runoff.

In Colorado, there was a surprisingly close vote on a ballot measure to legalize sports betting. Proposition DD sought to legalize and tax sports betting after the Supreme Court declared earlier this year that it could be permitted. The measure passed by just two points, 51-49 percent, despite $2 million in spending in its favor by betting corporations FanDuel and DraftKings and no organized opposition. The margin of passage was narrower than the state’s controversial 2012 ballot measure permitting recreational marijuana.

Pennsylvania overwhelmingly passed its own version of Marsy’s Law, which is a sort of bill of rights for victims of crime, by a 74-26 percent margin. Pennsylvania is the thirteenth state to adopt a version of Marsy’s Law.

In Spokane, Wash., the state’s second largest city, former local television news anchor Nadine Woodward, a conservative, narrowly defeated leftist City Council President Ben Stuckart for mayor by a 51-48 percent margin.

There is also one more round of statewide general elections in 2019: Louisiana voters will go to the polls again on Nov. 16 to decide runoffs for governor and secretary of state after no candidate received a majority in the October jungle primary. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards faces a challenge from Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. Edwards is a conservative Democrat who signed a pro-life heartbeat law earlier this year. But Edwards is one of the few statewide elected Democrats in the South, and President Trump is backing Rispone’s effort to unseat him. The race is considered a toss-up, with polls showing Edwards holding a narrow lead but within the margin of error.

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Photo credit: KOMUnews via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Thomas Valentine

Thomas Valentine is a columnist for

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