While the White House was not up for grabs – that comes next year – it was still a big night for US politics on Tuesday.

Voters in some states went to the polls to decide their governor and who controls their legislature, while others considered changes to abortion rights.

Ballots are being counted and results are still coming in, but here’s some of what we’ve learned so far.

1) Abortion remains a top issue

Voters in Ohio backed an amendment to the state’s constitution that will guarantee abortion rights.

The vote was viewed as a litmus test for whether abortion rights will continue to be a winning issue heading into next year’s elections.

For context, the nationwide right to abortion was rescinded by the Supreme Court last year. And from what we’ve seen so far, the issue appears to still be energising voters.

Just look at Virginia, where abortion played a major role in the campaign and conversation ahead of Tuesday night.

Democrats are projected to maintain slim control of the state Senate, which means the party can continue to block Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s plan to pursue tighter abortion restrictions.

2) A Democrat can win in Trump country

Kentucky supported Donald Trump for president by a wide margin in 2020, and Democrats rarely win state-wide here.

But Governor Andy Beshear cruised to re-election against Republican rival Daniel Cameron.

Daniel Cameron was bidding to become Kentucky’s first black governor

Mr Cameron, a protege and former aide to Senator Mitch McConnell, sought to tie the governor to an unpopular President Joe Biden and Democratic Party.

His focus on inflation, crime and social issues tightened the race in recent weeks.

But Mr Beshear, who frequently polls as one of the most popular governors in the country, maintained a strong focus on state and local issues. And with our first takeaway in mind, it’s worth noting he painted his opponent as extreme on the issue of abortion.

His message that voters should not look to Democrats or Republicans, but to those who reject divisive politics, could serve as a blueprint for his party in traditionally Republican states.

3) From prison to politics? It’s possible

As a teenager, Yusef Salaam was one of five black and Hispanic boys who were wrongfully accused of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989.

The case gripped New York City and the group became known as the Central Park Five.

Mr Salaam – who was 15 at the time – was jailed for several years before a serial rapist confessed to the crime and the group’s convictions were vacated.

On Tuesday, the author and activist won a seat on the New York City Council.

In June, when he won the Democratic primary that virtually assured his election, he spoke of his experience in “a system that was trying to make me believe that I was my ancestors’ wildest nightmare”.

“For me, this means that we can really become our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” he said.


More on the US election



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *