LIVE BLOG: Democrats flip both houses in Virginia, winning in Kentucky

Democrat Andy Beshear is the "apparent winner" for Governor of Kentucky, according to MSNBC.(Photo by Christopher Hale | Twitter)

#NativeVote19 11:49 p.m. EST

Indian Country Today and Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The first ballots have been counted in the race for Seattle City Council and Deborah Juarez, Blackfeet, has an early lead in her bid for re-election. Juarez led her challenger, Ann Davison Sattler, by 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent.

Washington is a vote by mail state and ballots are expected to be reported every day at 4 pm.

UTAH


San Juan County voters were being asked to change the form of government -- an action that followed the election of a Navajo majority on the county commission.

San Juan County was ordered by a federal judge to end decades of racial gerrymandering on the county commission and school boards. The new ballot measure would expand the county commission. 

The Navajo Nation opposed the ballot proposition calling it the "latest attempt" to undermine the voice of Navajo voters in San Juan County.

The results of this election might not be available for a few days as some of the ballots are being returned by mail.

KANSAS

In Lawrence, Kansas, two Native American women won election to the Lawrence School Board. Carole Cadue Blackwood and Paula Smith. 

Blackwood led a recent campaign to change the name of South Middle School to what is now known as Billy Mills Middle School. Mills attended Haskell Institute and the University of Kansas.

Both Blackwood and Smith are Haskell alums.

COLORADO

A measure that would legalize sports betting and tax it to help conserve water is being considered in Colorado. The proposal has bipartisan support and only token organized opposition. But the state Constitution requires voters to approve new taxes. It would allow Colorado's 33 casinos to take both in-person and online bets on professional, collegiate, motor and Olympic sports next year. Legal sports betting has grown since New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 allowing it in all 50 states.

Colorado's voters are also deciding a measure that asks if the state can permanently keep tax revenue that otherwise would be refunded under limits set by a 1992 constitutional amendment called the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

WASHINGTON

Voters will decide whether minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting and admission to public colleges. The measure asks people whether they want to change current laws that prohibit state government from giving preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Voters in Washington also are weighing in on a transportation measure . They are being asked whether annual vehicle registration fees should be capped at $30. If the measure is approved, transit and road budgets across the state would be slashed.

MISSISSIPPI

10:41 p.m.

Republican Tate Reeves is leading in the governor race against Democrat Jim Hood with 65 percent of precincts reported. Independent Daniel Singletary trails in third and Bob Hickingbottom is in fourth.

ARIZONA

Tucson sanctuary initiative headed for defeat

An initiative making Tucson Arizona's only sanctuary city appears headed for defeat.

Early ballots Tuesday showed voters were rejecting the initiative by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

A defeat would be a relief for the Democrats who control city government in one of Arizona's most liberal cities. They worry the initiative would jeopardize millions of dollars in state and federal funding and put public safety at risk.

The initiative was proposed by a group of activists motivated by the Trump administration's treatment of immigrants and Arizona's tough laws cracking down on people living in the country illegally.

KENTUCKY

10:29 p.m.

The hotly contested governor's race in Kentucky was too close to call Tuesday night, however Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear claimed victory over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Beshear had a lead of 4,658 votes out of more than 1.4 million counted, or a margin of 0.3 percentage points.

There is no mandatory recount law in Kentucky. Bevin may request counties recanvass their results, which is not a recount, but rather a check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly. Bevin would need to seek and win a court's approval for a recount, the process for which would be dictated by the court.

The final hours of campaigning were overshadowed by the endorsement Bevin received from President Donald Trump as the incumbent tried to overcome a tenacious challenger bearing a well-known last name. Beshear is the son of Kentucky's last Democratic governor.

Trump's election eve rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington was meant to give Bevin a last-minute boost.

The political grudge match between Bevin and Beshear stretched into Tuesday night.

Beshear dominated in the state's urban areas in Louisville and Lexington and won some traditionally Republican suburban counties in the state's northernmost tip, just south of Cincinnati, to offset Bevin's strength in rural areas.

Beshear maintained his focus throughout the race on "kitchen table" issues like health care and education to blunt Bevin's efforts to hitch himself to Trump and nationalize the race. He exploited Bevin's feud with teachers over pensions and education issues, which resonated with voters.

The result could reverberate far beyond Kentucky. The fierce contest was being watched closely for early signs of how the increasingly partisan impeachment furor in Washington might affect Trump and other Republican incumbents in 2020. Among those with an especially keen interest: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who's on the ballot himself next year in Kentucky.

10:16 p.m.

The Kentucky governor's race remained too close to call late Tuesday, with Democratic challenger Andy Beshear threatening to oust Republican Gov. Matt Bevin a day after President Donald Trump came to the state in a last-ditch effort to save the embattled incumbent.

In Virginia, Democrats used increasing suburban support to flip control of the state Senate and state House and gain outright control of state government in a presidential battleground.

Those outcomes could deal a considerable blow to Trump as both major parties looked to off-year elections in four states to gauge voter enthusiasm and party organization amid impeachment proceedings against the president. With ballots still being counted, there were fresh reasons for Republican concern about the party's standing among suburban voters who helped Democrats flip control of the U.S. House and who will be critical in the general election next November.

VIRGINIA

The Latest: Democrats win control of Virginia statehouse

10 p.m.

Virginia Democrats are taking full control of the statehouse for the first time in more than two decades.

Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate in Tuesday's legislative election. This is the third election in a row that Virginia Democrats have made significant gains since President Donald Trump was elected.

The win will give Democrats control of the legislature and governorship for the first time in 26 years. Democrats have pledged to pass new gun restrictions and raise the minimum wage once in power.

Virginia is the only state with legislative elections this year where partisan control was up for grabs. Much of the contest centered on how voters feel about Trump and his possible impeachment.

A community college administrator and first-time candidate has unseated a Republican incumbent in a competitive Richmond-area state Senate race.

Ghazala Hashmi defeated Sen. Glen Sturtevant Tuesday in a key win for Democrats hoping to flip control of the Senate.

Hashmi campaigned heavily on education, gun violence prevention, and health care, criticizing Sturtevant for his vote against Medicaid expansion.

Hashmi immigrated to the U.S. from India as a child. The state party says she will be the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Senate.

Sturtevant, an attorney, took office in 2016. He promised to be an independent voice in the Senate and made opposition to a Richmond city schools rezoning plan a key part of his campaign.

9:10 p.m.

The powerful Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has fended off a challenge from a vocal gun control advocate.

Speaker Kirk Cox defeated Sheila Bynum-Coleman on Tuesday.

His win comes despite the fact the two were competing in a redrawn district after courts found that the GOP-led Virginia House illegally packed black voters into certain districts when they drew legislative boundaries in 2011. The new map dramatically shifted the makeup of the once safely Republican district to Democrats' advantage.

Cox, a retired schoolteacher, has served his district south of Richmond since 1990.

Bynum-Coleman is a mother of five whose daughter survived being shot in 2016. She made gun control a central part of her campaign.

MINNESOTA 

10:02 p.m.

Nadia Mohamed wins a seat on St. Louis Park City Council. She is the first Muslim and Somali person elected to that city’s council.

9:55 p.m.

President Donald J. Trump congratulated Daniel Cameron, the new attorney general in Kentucky, who ran on the Republican ticket.

Cameron used to work for the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington, according to Politico.

VIRGINIA

9:25 p.m.

Virginia Democrats have taken control of the state Senate for the first time in five years.

Democrats flipped the Senate on Tuesday. Control of the state House is still unknown as officials continue to count votes in key races.

Of four states having legislative elections this year, Virginia is the only one where control of the statehouse is up for grabs.

Prior to the election, Republicans had a slim majority in both the state House and Senate.

Democrats are hoping to take total control of the statehouse and Executive Mansion for the first time in more than two decades.

Voter animosity toward President Donald Trump has powered Democratic gains in Virginia in recent elections.

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9:14 p.m.

A community college administrator and first-time candidate has unseated a Republican incumbent in a competitive Richmond-area state Senate race.

Ghazala Hashmi defeated Sen. Glen Sturtevant Tuesday in a key win for Democrats hoping to flip control of the Senate.

Hashmi campaigned heavily on education, gun violence prevention, and health care, criticizing Sturtevant for his vote against Medicaid expansion.

Hashmi immigrated to the U.S. from India as a child. The state party says she will be the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Senate.

Sturtevant, an attorney, took office in 2016. He promised to be an independent voice in the Senate and made opposition to a Richmond city schools rezoning plan a key part of his campaign.

___

9:10 p.m.

The powerful Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has fended off a challenge from a vocal gun control advocate.

Speaker Kirk Cox defeated Sheila Bynum-Coleman on Tuesday.

His win comes despite the fact the two were competing in a redrawn district after courts found that the GOP-led Virginia House illegally packed black voters into certain districts when they drew legislative boundaries in 2011. The new map dramatically shifted the makeup of the once safely Republican district to Democrats' advantage.

Cox, a retired schoolteacher, has served his district south of Richmond since 1990.

Bynum-Coleman is a mother of five whose daughter survived being shot in 2016. She made gun control a central part of her campaign.

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hifted the makeup of the district to Democrats' advantage.

KENTUCKY

Republican attorney and former elections board member Michael Adams elected as Kentucky’s next secretary of state.

Republican Mike Harmon is re-elected as Kentucky auditor.

Republican Daniel Cameron elected Kentucky attorney general, first African American to win the office.

Ranked choice voting wins in New York City

Voters in New York City approved a systemic election reform. 

One of the challenges in US elections is that a candidate can win with a minority of the vote, especially when there are more than two candidates. But ranked choice voting fixes that because it creates an instant runoff. Voters will pick a first choice, a second choice, etc., that ensures the eventual winner will reach a majority of the votes.

Voters approved the new system by a 3 to 1 margin.

The measure repeals the runoff system now in place. 

Voters in US states decide on sanctuary city, sports betting

Voters in some states are deciding whether to roll back conservative policies adopted in earlier eras. Ballot measures in Tucson, Arizona and the states of Colorado and Washington give voters another say on hot-button social issues: immigration, gambling, taxes and affirmative action.

Among the highlights:

ARIZONA

Voters in the liberal enclave of Tucson are being asked to designate it as Arizona's only sanctuary city. The proposition was started by a group of activists looking to give a voice to the city's sizeable Latino communities. It would put new restrictions on when and where a person can be asked about their immigration status and require officers to tell people that they have a right not to answer questions about whether they're in the country legally. Tucson's entire city council, all Democrats, is opposed, citing concerns about public safety and the potential for losing millions of dollars in state and federal funding. The initiative is a direct challenge to the state immigration law that drew global attention, protests, boycotts and lawsuits when it was adopted nine years ago.

COLORADO

A measure that would legalize sports betting and tax it to help conserve water is being considered in Colorado. The proposal has bipartisan support and only token organized opposition. But the state Constitution requires voters to approve new taxes. It would allow Colorado's 33 casinos to take both in-person and online bets on professional, collegiate, motor and Olympic sports next year. Legal sports betting has grown since New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 allowing it in all 50 states.

Colorado's voters are also deciding a measure that asks if the state can permanently keep tax revenue that otherwise would be refunded under limits set by a 1992 constitutional amendment called the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

WASHINGTON

Voters will decide whether minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting and admission to public colleges. The measure asks people whether they want to change current laws that prohibit state government from giving preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Voters in Washington also are weighing in on a transportation measure . They are being asked whether annual vehicle registration fees should be capped at $30. If the measure is approved, transit and road budgets across the state would be slashed.

Early poll results

Polls closed Tuesday in four states where off-year governor's races and legislative elections offer a test of voter enthusiasm and party organization amid impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and a fevered Democratic presidential primary scramble.

Results in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia won't necessarily predict whether Trump will be reelected or which party will control Congress after the general election next fall. But partisans of all stripes invariably will scrutinize the results of these odd-year elections for clues about how voters are reacting to the impeachment saga and whether the Republican president is losing ground among suburban voters who rewarded Democrats in the 2018 midterms and will prove critical again next November.

Trump is eager to nationalize whatever happens, campaigning Monday evening in Kentucky for embattled Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, a first-term Trump ally, as he tries to withstand a challenge from Democrat Andy Beshear, the attorney general whose father was the state's last Democratic governor. The president campaigned Friday in Mississippi, trying to boost Republican Tate Reeves in a tight open governor's race against Democrat Jim Hood. Reeves is the lieutenant governor; Hood is the attorney general.

Legislative seats are on the ballots in New Jersey and in Virginia, with the latter presidential battleground state offering perhaps the best 2020 bellwether. Democrats had a big 2017 in the state, sweeping statewide offices by wide margins and gaining seats in the legislature largely on the strength of a strong suburban vote that previewed how Democrats would go on to flip the U.S. House a year later.

This time, Virginia Democrats are looking to add to their momentum by flipping enough Republican seats to gain trifecta control of the statehouse, meaning the governor's office and both legislative chambers.

Democrats are looking to maintain their legislative supermajorities in New Jersey and ward off any concerns that Trump and Republicans could widen their reach into Democratic-controlled areas.

Some voters tied their decisions to the national atmosphere, particularly the president.

In Kentucky, 73-year-old Michael Jennings voted straight Democratic. A Vietnam veteran, retired state worker and former journalist, Jennings described the president as unfit for office and a threat to American democracy. "If Kentucky can send a small flare up that we're making the necessary turn, that's a hopeful sign that would have reverberations far beyond our state," he said.

Yet Richard Simmons, 63, a butcher from Glen Allen, Virginia, was just as staunchly in the GOP camp, saying he voted for GayDonna Vandergriff in a state House race. Her Republican affiliation, he said, "means everything to me, especially now."

Simmons said he's a staunch Trump supporter and thinks the impeachment investigation is unfounded. "It's one diversion after another to keep Trump from doing anything," he said. "He's helped the economy, like, big-time. And I trust the guy."

The Kentucky and Mississippi races are expected to be closer than the states' usual partisan leanings would suggest, though that has as much to do with local dynamics as with national trends.

Bevin's first term as Kentucky governor has been marked by pitched battles against state lawmakers — including Republicans — and teachers. Beshear, meanwhile, is well known as state attorney general and the son of Steve Beshear, who won two terms as governor from 2007 to 2016 even as the state trended more solidly Republican in federal elections.

Given Bevin's weakness, Trump would claim a big victory if the governor manages a second term. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who easily defeated Bevin in a 2014 Senate primary, also has a vested interest in the outcome. McConnell is favored to win reelection next year in Kentucky, even as national Democrats harbor hopes of defeating him. And the powerful senator would quell some of those hopes with a Bevin victory.

In Mississippi, Republicans have controlled the governor's office for two decades. But Phil Bryant is term-limited, leaving two other statewide officials to battle for a promotion. Reeves and Republicans have sought to capitalize on the state's GOP leanings with the Democrat Hood acknowledging that he voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Hood would need a high turnout of the state's African American voters and a better-than-usual share of the white vote to pull off the upset.

Virginia is where national Democrats are putting much of their attention.

For this cycle, the DNC has steered $200,000 to the state party for its statewide coordinated campaign effort that now has 108 field organizers and 16 other field staffers in what the party describes as its largest-ever legislative campaign effort. At the DNC, Perez and his aides bill it as a preview of what they're trying to build to combat the fundraising and organizing juggernaut that the Republican National Committee and Trump's reelection campaign are building in battleground states.

Elsewhere, voters in the West were deciding several ballot measures Tuesday, including one that would make Tucson, Arizona, a sanctuary city.

It would put new restrictions on when and where a person can be asked about their immigration status and require officers to first tell people that they have a right not to answer questions about whether they're in the country legally. Tucson's entire City Council, all Democrats, is opposed, citing concerns about the potential for losing millions of dollars in state and federal funding.

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