He may not be on the ballot anywhere, but Donald Trump is front-and-center for voters on Election Day 2019 — and the results will give him and the rest of the country a strong hint of what’s to come this time next year.
That’s particularly true in three states: Kentucky, Mississippi and Virginia.
Trump spoke to thousands of supporters at a rally Monday night in Lexington KY, ostensibly in support of unpopular Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s bid for re-election against the Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Andy Beshear. And Trump did praise Bevin, a strong and outspoken supporter.
But as usual, the president’s top concern was himself.
“If you win [by re-electing Bevin] they are going to make it like, ho-hum,” Trump said. “And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.”
“You can’t let that happen to me!” he demanded.
“With less than a year to go before the presidential election, Trump is looking to take credit for as many victories around the country as possible” says NBC News, citing an unnamed White House official — “even in states where the GOP should win easily — to show he is still a potent political force despite the headlines surrounding impeachment.”
In deep-red Mississippi, the governor’s race appears to be “the closest in years,” says the Wall Street Journal, with the Republican lieutenant governor vying with the Democratic attorney general for the position left open by the state’s term-limit law.
“If the race is close,” the Times says, “a Jim Crow-era provision of the Constitution expressly devised to limit black political power may come into play,” requiring candidates for state-level office to win not only the popular vote, but also a majority of the 122 state House districts. If neither candidate pulls that off, the Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives will choose the winner.
“In Virginia,” says Axios, “Democrats have a chance to flip both the state’s House of Delegates and Senate from the GOP, which currently holds both by razor-thin margins.”
It’s a major opportunity for Virginia Democrats, who can take full control of the state government by flipping two seats in the state House and one in the state Senate.
“Democrats have mounted an eight-figure spending push in the state, seeing Virginia as the first step to reclaiming majorities in state legislatures ahead of the next redistricting cycle in 2021,” says Politico. “Democrats also hope to push through longtime party objectives on guns, health care and other issues that have been blocked by Republican legislators in recent years.”
Another important gubernatorial election will take place Nov. 16 in Louisiana, where one-term Democrat John Bel Edwards is in a tight scrap with Republican businessman.
Also Tuesday, voters in a dozen cities — including several of the 20 biggest — will elect mayors: they include Houston (4th-largest), Philadelphia (6th), Columbus OH (14th), San Francisco (15th), Charlotte NC (16th) and Indianapolis (17th).