Image: Gov. Andy Beshear, YouTube
Elections are being held on on Tuesday, November 7, that will determine who is the governor of Kentucky, and which party controls the legislature in Virginia and New Jersey.
There is a dead heat in the Kentucky governor’s race, between Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear and his Republican rival, Attorney General Daniel Cameron. 47% of voters surveyed support each candidate, according to the respected pollster Emerson.
There is also a dead heat in the Virginia legislative races, with 50% of Virginia voters preferring the Republican candidate, and 50% preferring the Democratic candidate, according to the most recent poll by Founder’s Insight. The political analysts at Elections Daily predict a tie in the Virginia House of Delegates, with the Democrats keeping control of the Virginia State Senate: “Our final Virginia legislative ratings update is out! We expect Democrats to win a 21-19 majority in the State Senate and for the House of Delegates to end in a 50-50 tie.” Political analyst Chaz Nuttycombe expects the Democrats to win slim majorities in both houses of the Virginia legislature. Democratic campaign expert Ben Tribbett earlier said on Twitter that both parties have an equal chance of winning control of the House of Delegates, but Democrats have a much greater chance of winning a majority in the state senate. In the last election, Republicans won control of the state House of Delegates by a narrow 52-to-48 margin.
If Democrats take control of the Virginia legislature, that is likely to block further tax cuts sought by Governor Glenn Youngkin. It also could lead to judges being appointed who are less likely to keep dangerous criminals in jail. The Democratic leader in the House of Delegates is a convicted felon who served seven years in prison, and proposed legislation to release even the most dangerous criminals once they reach a specified age.
In Virginia, the legislature — not the governor — picks state judges. A Democratic judiciary might also give broader latitude to local governments to pass ordinances imposing rent control or meddling in your personal life (by weakening Virginia’s strong Dillon Rule), or let local governments pass a broader array of local taxes that currently are viewed as beyond the power of local governments.
A Democratic legislature would be more likely to pass laws that burden small businesses, or make it easier to sue them, although Governor Youngkin would probably veto many of those laws. Some anti-business laws were killed in the past by a coalition of Republicans and a few moderate Democrats like Lynwood Lewis and Chap Petersen, but the moderate Democrats are all leaving the legislature (for example, Lewis is retiring, while Petersen was defeated by a Democratic primary challenger further to his left).
A Democratic legislature would also be more likely to try to repeal Virginia’s right-to-work law, which has attracted tens of thousands of jobs to Virginia. States with right-to-work laws have double the job growth of states that don’t. The few Democratic legislators who still support Virginia’s right-to-work law are mostly leaving the legislature (such as Joe Morrissey, who lost a Democratic primary, and Lynwood Lewis, who is retiring). Governor Youngkin would presumably veto a repeal of the right-to-work law, but it will likely be repealed under his Democratic successors. A likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2025, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, voted for the PRO Act, which gets rid of state right-to-work laws.