Elections to Monitor in November 2023
Elections & Politics Policy Brief #97 | By: Ian Milden | September 25, 2023
Photo taken from: fivethirtyeight.com
Off-year elections generally don’t get much attention. When they do, it is usually one of the three governor’s races that I have previously written about (Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana). In this brief, I will discuss a few more races that are on the ballot this November that deserve some degree of attention.
Virginia State Legislature
In Virginia, the state legislature is having its mid-term elections. Currently, Democrats have a narrow majority in the state senate and Republicans have a narrow majority in the state house. All state legislative seats will be on the ballot in November. Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) and his allies are investing millions of dollars to help Republican candidates. If Republicans gain the majority in both chambers, they will be able to change state laws on a partisan basis. Virginia is also the closest state to a swing state holding significant regular elections this year, so voting trends in this year’s elections may provide some insight on next year’s elections.
New Jersey State Legislature
Much like Virginia, New Jersey is also holding mid-term elections for its state legislature this year. While Republicans are unlikely to take over the state legislature, it will be interesting to monitor southern New Jersey to see if Republicans continue making significant progress there. Republicans managed to unseat several Democrats including then-state senate President Stephen Sweeney in the previous election cycle. George Norcross, an insurance executive who had significant influence in southern New Jersey politics, said that he is stepping back from his involvement with state politics. Norcross was heavily involved in recruiting candidates and fundraising for them, so this is the first chance for New Jersey Democrats to evaluate their candidate recruitment and support strategies since Norcross withdrew from politics.
If Democrats perform poorly statewide again, that could be another sign of trouble for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who is up for reelection in 2024. Menendez’s popularity with voters has been poor due to a corruption scandal which led to him being indicted in 2017, but the case ended in a mistrial.
Rhode Island Congressional Special Election
Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) resigned on June 1st to take a job with a nonprofit in Rhode Island. The special election to fill his seat will be held on November 7th. Fifteen Democrats filed to run for the seat. Gabe Amo, a former policy staff member in the Obama and Biden Administrations, won the Democratic nomination for the seat. While Amo should win this race, the margin will be worth keeping an eye on since trends in special elections can indicate what voters might do in the next general election.
Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Special Election
This seat is open due to the death of Chief Justice Max Baer in October of 2022. Justices run in partisan elections for ten-year terms, though Pennsylvania has a mandatory retirement age of 75. In the May primary, Democrats nominated Daniel McCaffrey and Republicans nominated Carolyn Carluccio. McCaffrey is the former assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and has served as a judge in a court of common pleas. McCaffrey is currently a state judge on the superior court. Carluccio is a judge in Montgomery County. While this race will not determine the partisan balance of the court, this was a seat that the Democrats held. If Democrats lose this seat, they would only have a one-seat majority on the state supreme court.
- Daniel McCaffrey’s Campaign Website, https://judgemccaffery.com/
- Virginia Democratic Party Website, https://vademocrats.org/
- New Jersey Democratic Party Website, https://www.njdems.org/
- DLCC – Official Campaign Organization for State Legislative Democrats, https://dlcc.org/
- Gabe Amo’s campaign website, https://www.gabeamo.com/