Here is a rundown of last week’s and today’s top state and local government election news and updates. The outlook for the Kentucky and Louisiana gubernatorial races has shifted, while the Democratic candidates remain in the lead for polls released regarding the Kentucky and Mississippi attorney general races.
Louisiana Gubernatorial Race
The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, which did not issue an endorsement prior to the primary election, endorsed John Bel Edwards (D) (The Advocate); New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) also endorsed Edwards (The Advocate, Times-Picayune).
Edwards also began courting the support of backers of Vitter’s rivals who split the Republican vote, Scott Angelle (R) and Jay Dardenne (R). He may need the extra help to secure a majority of the votes in the runoff election. Turnout registered at only 38.5%, and the Times-Picayune observes “eight out of 10 of the most populous parishes had voter participation below the statewide rate — which means urban voters who favor Democrats didn’t go to the poll in as large numbers” (Source).
Meanwhile, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association’s political action committee (Times-Picayune), several state legislators and United States Representative Charles Boustany (R) (The Advocate) endorsed David Vitter (R).
Edwards and Vitter have agreed to meet for at least one debate, which will take place November 16, before the November 21 runoff election (The Times-Picayune).
Finally, race ratings have changed in the wake of the primary election. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has moved the race from likely Republican to leans Republican (Source), while The Cook Political Report altered their rating to toss-up (Source).
Louisiana Attorney General Race
Geri Broussard Baloney (D), the top Democratic vote-getter in the attorney general primary election, endorsed Jeff Landry (R) in the runoff election (The Advocate).
Kentucky Gubernatorial Race
Matt Bevin (R) and Jack Conway (D) faced off in the final debate before the November 3 election. The two candidates attacked each another and sparred over topics including Medicaid, substance abuse, pensions and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (Lexington Herald-Leader, The Courier Journal).
In addition, the results of the latest iteration of the Bluegrass Poll were released last week. The results revealed 45% of respondents support Conway, 40% of respondents back Bevin and 6% of respondents favor Drew Curtis (I). The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5% (Lexington Herald-Leader, The Courier-Journal, CN|2). Vox Populi also released the results of a poll it conducted in late October; it showed Conway and Bevin tied at 44% (CN|2).
The latest campaign finance reports were also released last week. Between October 3 and October 19, Jack Conway raised $916,681 and ended the period with more than $5.3 million in cash on hand, while Matt Bevin raised $268,145 and ended the period with $1.9 million in cash on hand. The candidates have largely sunk their expenditures for the period into television advertisements (CN|2, Lexington Herald-Leader).
The Republican Governors Association is spending $2.5 million in the last two weeks of the election in television advertisements, direct mailers and digital correspondence in an effort to help Matt Bevin’s campaign (CN|2).
Regarding updates on the campaign trail, the Kentucky Pastors in Action Coalition urged voters to support Matt Bevin in the general election for his policy preferences regarding charter schools (CN|2). Bevin was also criticized by Governor Steve Beshear (D) for his stances on Kynect and Medicaid (Lexington Herald-Leader). Lastly, Bevin is finishing his general election campaign by focusing on northern Kentucky (CN|2). Meanwhile, Jack Conway started his “Moving Kentucky Forward Tour” and will make stops in cities around Kentucky (CN|2).
The Lexington Herald-Leader surveyed Conway, Bevin and Curtis regarding their issue positions and asked them to limit responses to 45 words or fewer; the general election guide with these responses can be found here.
The Courier-Journal endorsed Jack Conway (Source).
Finally, Sabato’s Crystal Ball has moved its race rating from toss-up to leans Democratic (Source).
Kentucky Attorney General Race
The results of the Bluegrass Poll, released last week, discovered 47% of respondents support Andy Beshear (D), 35% of respondents favor Whitney Westerfield (R) and 17% of respondents are undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.5% (Lexington Herald-Leader).
The Lexington Herald-Leader surveyed Beshear and Westerfield regarding their issue positions and asked them to limit responses to 45 words or fewer; the general election guide with these responses can be found here.
The Courier-Journal endorsed Andy Beshear (Source).
Mississippi Gubernatorial Race
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released the results of a poll conducted in late October with a margin of error of +/- 4%. The results revealed 66% of respondents intend to vote for Governor Phil Bryant (R), while 28% of respondents support Robert Gray (D) (Source).
The Clarion-Ledger endorsed Governor Phil Bryant for re-election (Source).
WLOX interviewed gubernatorial candidate Robert Gray (Source).
Mississippi Attorney General Race
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research also released the results from the aforementioned poll regarding the attorney general race. The poll revealed 50% of respondents support Attorney General Jim Hood (D), 44% of respondents support Mike Hurst (R) and 6% of respondents are undecided (The Clarion-Ledger).
The Clarion-Ledger endorsed Jim Hood for re-election (Source).
Charlotte Mayoral Race
Jennifer Roberts (D) and Edwin Peacock (R) engaged in the final debate before the November 3 election. The candidates debated various issues, including Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance, taxes and economic growth (Charlotte Observer).
Roberts also outlined some of her business objectives in a question-and-answer session and stump speech (Charlotte Business Journal).
Houston Mayoral Race
The Texas Tribune examined the state of the mayoral race and the events leading up to it. According to a number of recent polls, Adrian Garcia and Bill King are the frontrunners of the open seat race to replace Mayor Annise Parker (Source).
Indianapolis Mayoral Race
Brewer and Hogsett also held news conferences regarding violent crime after a number of robberies and a shooting (Indianapolis Star).
Orlando Municipal Elections
Seattle Municipal Elections
Crosscut examined the races for Seattle’s nine City Council seats. Due to a charter amendment passed in 2013, Seattle voters now elect seven members representing district seats and two members in an at-large fashion (Source).
The Seattle Times examined Seattle Initiative 122, a ballot proposition which creates a first-in-the-country voucher system for city residents to fund campaigns of municipal candidates, while tightening campaign finance rules (Source).
New Jersey Legislative Races
The Jersey Journal took a look at Matt Kopko’s (R) campaign for one of the seats in the 31st Legislative District, where he “has been running one of the most aggressive GOP campaigns Hudson County has seen in recent years” (Source).
Virginia Legislative Races
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and United States Senator Mark Warner (D) attended rallies across Virginia on Sunday in state Senate Districts 6, 10, 13, 21 and 29. All five races are deemed crucial for Virginia Democrats to win in order to regain control of the state Senate (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Additional coverage of the Senate District 10 race can also be found here.
Governor McAuliffe also spoke out against Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish’s (R) characterization of an I-66 toll proposal in his campaign ads, stating “he’s out misleading and lying about the truth.” Parrish is one of the candidates running for the open seat in District 29’s competitive race (Washington Post).
Lastly, the Times-Dispatch’s Jeff Schapiro examined the three possible outcomes of Tuesday’s state Senate elections and their impact on Virginia Democrats’ and Governor McAuliffe’s agendas (Source).