Check This Out: 2023 U.S. Elections: A Fact Box

Following the conclusion of the midterm elections in the United States in 2022, this year will see some elections that gauge the public’s sentiment on significant issues, as well as the influence of former President Donald Trump, in advance of the 2024 presidential campaign.

Here are some races that you should keep an eye on:

GOVERNORS

Kentucky’s gubernatorial race is shaping up to be one of the most closely watched contests of the year. Democratic Governor Andy Beshear will run for reelection in a state that gave President Trump’s Republican opponent a margin of victory of more than 25 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

In spite of the Republican majority in Kentucky, six out of ten Kentuckians are pleased with Governor Steve Beshear’s job performance, according to tracking poll data published this month by Morning Consult. This puts Beshear in the lead for the title of most popular Democratic governor in the country.

He received praise for the way he dealt with two natural catastrophes, namely the devastating tornadoes that struck western Kentucky in 2021 and the unprecedented flooding that struck eastern Kentucky in the previous year, both of which resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people.

His Republican opponents include the state attorney general, Daniel Cameron, who has received the endorsement of President Trump and if elected would make history as the first Black Republican to win the governorship in the United States.

Other contenders include Mike Harmon, who serves as the state auditor; Ryan Quarles, who serves as the agricultural commissioner; and Kelly Knight Craft, who served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations while Trump was in office. The primary election will be in May.

In Louisiana, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards cannot compete for reelection due to term limits. This presents an excellent opportunity for Republicans to retake the governorship in a state that Trump won by over 20 percentage points. Jeff Landry, the current Attorney General of the state, is one of three Republicans who have declared their intention to run for governor. Notable Democrats have not yet declared their candidacy for the election.

The primary election in the state will be held in October and will be known as the “jungle primary” because all candidates, regardless of political party affiliation, will compete in the same election. In the event that no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held on November 18.

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT

On April 4, people will vote on the balance of power on Wisconsin’s highest court. This will have big effects on abortion rights and other issues. The current court has a conservative majority of 4-3, but conservative Justice Patience Roggensack decided not to run again, so her seat is open.

The court is expected to decide whether or not to enforce a nearly total ban on abortions from 1849, which went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that women didn’t have a right to abortions everywhere. All of the state’s abortion clinics have stopped doing abortions, but Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed a lawsuit to challenge the legality of a law that is 174 years old.

Before the 2024 presidential election in the competitive state, the court could also have to deal with cases that affect the right to vote. Last year, a conservative majority of 4 out of 3 judges said that ballot drop boxes were against state law.

MAYORS

When incumbent Democratic Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot runs for re-election on February 28, she will have a crowded field of opponents. Her eight opponents include U.S. Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who handily won re-election in his Chicago-based district in November, two days before announcing his mayoral campaign. Garcia’s announcement came two days after Garcia won his re-election race.

In the event that no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will move on to a runoff election in April. This year, voters in cities around the United States will elect new mayors, including Houston and Philadelphia, both of which currently have Democratic mayors whose terms have expired and hence are ineligible to run again.

STATE LEGISLATURES

Two years after the triumph of Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in a state that voted for Democratic President Joe Biden by a double-digit margin, the state of Virginia will have elections in November to determine who will control both chambers of the state legislature. In the state Senate, Democrats have a razor-thin majority, while Republicans have an even thinner advantage in the state House of Delegates.

It is highly possible that abortion will play a pivotal role. Youngkin, who may run for president in 2024, has been a proponent of a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. If Republicans are successful in winning control of the legislature, this restriction may be enacted. Abortions are legal in the state during the first two trimesters of a pregnancy, which is equivalent to around the first 26 weeks of a pregnancy. However, the vast majority of abortions are performed within the first trimester.

After the Republicans had an unexpectedly strong performance in 2021, there will also be legislative elections held in the state of New Jersey. In spite of this, it is widely anticipated that the Democrats will keep their control of both chambers.

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