Voters across the country head to the polls on Tuesday in off-year elections for statewide and local races in what may political pundits view as an appetizer ahead of the 2024 showdowns for president and Congress.
Gubernatorial contests in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, along with closely watched legislative elections in Virginia as well as New Jersey, and key referendums in Ohio could give a barometer into the pulse of the nation.
The blockbuster move last year by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to overturn the landmark, nearly half-century-old Roe v. Wade ruling, which had allowed for legalized abortions nationwide, moved the divisive issue back to the states.
Additionally, it has forced Republicans to play plenty of defense in elections across the country. A party that is nearly entirely “pro-life” has had to deal with an electorate where a majority of Americans support at least some form of abortion access.
National and state Democrats have made abortion a crucial centerpiece in their push to get out the vote in the battle for Virginia’s state House and Senate.
While some Republicans have shied away from focusing on abortion, GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin is leaning into the issue and pushing a proposed 15-week abortion ban, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
“I just wanted us to be very clear about what we were going to do,” he told Fox News Digital last week.
In Ohio, a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish abortion protections in the Buckeye State are on the ballot.
In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is running for a second term in office. He is being challenged by Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
GOP Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is also seeking aa second term as he faces off against Democratic challenger Brandon Presley, a public service commissioner and a second cousin to the late rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley.
The results should tell if Democrats can successfully keep their distance from President Biden in order to win in red-leaning states.