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Abortion Rights and Democrats Score Major Victories One Year Ahead of National Elections

HeadlineNov 08, 2023

Abortion rights activists and Democrats scored big in Tuesday’s elections. In Ohio, voters approved with a double-digit margin a measure to establish the right to an abortion in the state constitution. Ohioans also voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.

In Virginia, Democrats regained control of the full Legislature, holding onto the Senate and flipping the House of Delegates. The victory will block Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin from enacting parts of his far-right agenda, including a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. One of the Virginia Democrats claiming victory is Danica Roem, who will become the commonwealth’s first openly transgender state senator.

In Kentucky, voters kept pro-choice incumbent Democrat Andy Beshear in the Governor’s Office, as he fended off a challenge from Trump-endorsed Attorney General Daniel Cameron. His win, however, will not change the near-total ban on abortions imposed by Kentucky’s Supreme Court.

In Mississippi, Republican incumbent Governor Tate Reeves defeated Democratic candidate Brandon Presley, a second-cousin of Elvis Presley.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Dan McCaffery won an open seat on the state’s Supreme Court, beating out an anti-abortion candidate. Also in Pennsylvania, Democrat Cherelle Parker will become the first Black woman and the first woman mayor of Philadelphia.

Here in New York, exonerated “Central Park Five” member Yusef Salaam won his Harlem race for City Council. Salaam was one of five Black and Latino teenagers wrongfully convicted of the 1989 beating and rape of a white woman. At the time, Donald Trump called for their execution. Salaam spent seven years in jail before being exonerated when the real perpetrator confessed.

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