With 99% of precincts reporting, but all the votes in (don’t ask me what that means, I just have a PhD that’s joint in political science…) Democrat Andy Beshear has been declared the winner of the Kentucky gubernatorial race by a little over 5,000 votes. Governor-elect Beshear has already given his victory speech and confirmed that he will restore voting rights for over 140,000 Kentuckians who have had their civil right to vote taken away because of the legacy of Jim Crow.
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) November 6, 2019
Governor Bevin, gracious and classy as always (that was sarcasm), has, of course, refused to concede claiming irregularities. Those irregularities are, of course, that he lost the election.
"There have been more than a few irregularities. They have been substantiated," Gov Bevin says, explaining his decision to not concede the #KyGov election. "We want the process to be followed." ^JC
— Bluegrass Politics (@BGPolitics) November 6, 2019
Anyhow, there is no automatic recount in Kentucky. Governor Bevin would have to request one. If he actually does so, the request is made in a petition to a state of Kentucky court and whichever judge is assigned the case will determine if a recount does or does not occur. Given Bevin’s known proclivity for being a raging asshole, I don’t expect him to go quietly, gracefully, and/or professionally into the political night. But we’ll see, so stay tuned.
In Virginia the Democrats have flipped both chambers in the Virginia state legislature giving them unified control of Virginia’s executive and legislative branches.
Virginia Democrats win majorities in both the state House and Senate, giving them control of the legislature and the governorship for the first time in 26 years. Follow our full U.S. election coverage. https://t.co/z2PXWC7DHk
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 6, 2019
This wonderful election result also happened in Virginia!
Two years later, the nation's first trans lawmaker becomes the nation's first trans lawmaker to be re-elected to office. https://t.co/Ao7vBtQy3Q
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 6, 2019
Both of these results, in Kentucky and in Virginia, are exceedingly important going into the next congressional reapportionment as it will make it very hard to gerrymander Kentucky’s congressional and state legislative districts as Governor-elect Beshear will have a veto over whatever maps the Kentucky legislature produces and the Democrats control the entire process in Virginia.
That leaves the Mississippi gubernatorial race. As of right now Republican Tate Reeves is leading Democrat and incumbent Attorney General Jim Hood.
The Mississippi governor's race just narrowed considerably; Republican Tate Reeves now leads Dem Jim Hood by just 52-47 (was a 10 point gap). Most of Hinds County (Jackson, heavily Democratic) is still out. #MSelex #MSGov
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) November 6, 2019
Mississippi was always going to be a tough pickup, even for Hood who has won statewide four times. One of the reasons for this is that Mississippi has a Jim Crow based electoral system for all statewide races that aren’t for the US Senate. Ian Millhiser has the details:
Jim Hood is a political unicorn. A Democrat, Hood nonetheless has won four consecutive statewide elections in the red state of Mississippi — all of them for attorney general. Now he hopes to add a new line to his résumé. He’s the Democratic candidate for governor in Tuesday’s election. And the polls suggest that he’s got a real fighting chance.
But there’s a catch. Mississippi held a constitutional convention more than a century ago to, in the words of one former state governor and US senator, “eliminate the n***er from politics.” One still-remaining vestige of that convention is the unusual way the state conducts its statewide elections.
For statewide positions other than US senator, Mississippi uses a system similar to the electoral college. It’s not enough for a candidate to simply win the statewide popular vote. Rather, they must win both a majority of the popular vote and win a majority of the state’s 122 state House districts. If no candidate clears both of these hurdles, the House chooses the winner from the top two candidates.
Thus, as a practical matter, Mississippi’s system all but ensures that Reeves will win the election, even if a majority of the state’s voters prefer Hood (the incumbent, Republican Phil Bryant, cannot run again due to term limits). Republicans currently control almost 60 percent of the state’s House of Representatives. And state House districts are gerrymandered in a way that would make it very difficult for Hood to win a majority of those districts. Though there is a chance that the courts could intervene to declare Hood the winner of the election if he wins the popular vote.
Hood has his work cut out for him regardless of the Jim Crow legacy in Mississippi’s constitution. There is a lawsuit pending to overturn this racist, neo-Confederate, white supremacist portion of the Mississippi constitution. The plaintiffs are being represented by Democratic election lawyer supreme Marc Elias. And the Federal district court judge who is assigned the case has clearly stated that if Hood wins the popular vote, but loses the election because of the Jim Crow legacy constitutional provisions, that he is likely to overturn that provision and declare Hood the governor. He made it clear he wouldn’t preemptively do it because the voters who brought the suit hadn’t suffered any harm as the election hadn’t happened yet, but that he would rule if the election winds up going in Reeves’ favor despite Hood winning the statewide popular vote. Of course this would be appealed first to the extremely conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is chock full of Federalist Society extremists and then, potentially, to the Supreme Court. Where, given that Mississippi’s constitution is discriminating on the basis of race in regard to how it allows Mississippians to elect/select their governor, one wonders if Chief Justice John Roberts would side with the liberal justices to overturn this Jim Crow legacy because, as he famously stated when striking down the pre-clearance enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act, that the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. Consistency, hobgoblins, small minds…
There is some good news in the Mississippi results, even if they are tied to a Republican being elected.
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) November 6, 2019
Anyhow, we wait and see what Mississippi will bring us.