Pro-choice forces earned a preliminary victory yesterday in the Buckeye State.
Since the Supreme Court overruled Roe last summer and made the right to an abortion subject to state laws, voters have consistently favored the pro-choice side of various state referendums. It was just about a year ago when the political world was shocked to see an effort to ban abortion in ruby red Kansas fail by 18 points. Then in November, the pro-choice side continued to post victories in states as diverse as Kentucky, Michigan and Montana.
Now, technically, last night’s referendum wasn’t specifically about abortion. Just such a ballot initiative, which would overturn the six-week ban instituted by the GOP legislature and Governor, is already scheduled for November. This question was instead an attempt by said legislature to get out ahead of the pro-choice forces by changing the law concerning ballot questions. By voting for Issue 1, you would support raising the threshold for future initiatives from a simple 50% majority to a 60% supermajority.
Nevertheless, with nearly all of the precincts in, ‘No’ won easily with 1,744,094 votes (57.01%) against ‘Yes’ and its 1,315,346 votes (42.99%).
The results represent a win for Ohio Democrats – who will seek to carry this momentum into success both for this November’s referendum and then in next November’s Senate contest – where Democratic hopes of holding the upper chamber likely depend on Sherrod Brown winning a fourth term.
One of the Republicans seeking to take on Brown next year is Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who was perhaps Issue 1’s most prominent champion. As a result, the issue’s failure represents an early embarrassment for LaRose and his Senate hopes.
The outcome in Ohio was also a tough break for former Vice President Mike Pence, who posted a video on Election Day urging voters to choose Yes on Issue 1. Pence’s arguments were part of a larger effort to portray a ‘No’ vote as the first step towards a liberal transgender agenda, a popular Republican theme in recent years that nonetheless was not successful here.
Mississippi Gubernatorial GOP Primaries
Meanwhile, in Mississippi, incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves easily held off a pair of primary challengers. Reeves’ victory came despite a scandal that’s engulfed his predecessor (and NFL Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre), and threatens to make his re-election battle in November more difficult than one might expect for a GOP Governor in Mississippi.
With 93% of precincts in, Gov. Reeves stands at 267,684 votes (74.54%), way ahead over opponents John Witcher 63,672 votes (17.73%) and 27,761 votes (7.73%).
The real battle instead came in the Republican primary for the Lieutenant Governorship. Incumbent Delbert Hosemann managed to hold off State Senator Chris McDaniel. You may remember McDaniel from his eventful 2014 Senate primary against sitting Republican Senator Thad Cochran, which saw Cochran narrowly prevail in a run-off thanks to help from Black Mississippi Democrats.
Ultimately, with 93% of precincts in, Lt. Gov Hosemann earned 190,991 votes (51.86%) compared to McDaniel’s 157,528 votes (42.78%), successfully avoiding another run-off.