There were several elections that will give us an early indication on which way certain states will go next year. This is not scientific by any means, but it just might give us an indication of what to look for.
Let’s start with my home state of Pennsylvania. This is a state that voted for Obama, twice, but carries a Republican legislature and state-wide court system. It was considered a “swing state” leaning toward the Democrats. No more. Pennsylvania Democrats look to be in the driver’s seat for the first time in decades. Although Republicans still control both houses of the Legislature, Democrats swept all the state-wide Court races and have taken control of the State Supreme Court. Last year, the Democrats turned out of office a first term Republican Governor. The tide has certainly turned in the Democrats favor. Look for Pennsylvania to go blue next year.
John Kasich, the popular Governor of Ohio, should help that state to go for the Republicans. This year, there was a recreation and medical marijuana measure on the ballot that fell 2 to 1 with the voters. This shows that the conservatives are still in the majority in that state. Kasich also can claim good growth in employment and tax receipts for the Buckeye State. He administered the state through tough economic times. When Kasich took office, Ohio had a debt of $8 billion. Today he claims a surplus of $2 billion while constantly cutting taxes along the way. Much of this good fortune was caused by the explosion of fracking income in his state. To his credit, he managed to cut spending, instead of spending his new-found wealth. Kasich should be able to deliver Ohio to the Republicans next year.
Ohio’s neighbor to the south, Kentucky, elected a new Governor this year. Matt Beven ran just last year against Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader. Although that race was expected to be much closer than the actual votes turned out to be, Matt Bevin came back from that defeat to win the Governors race. Certainly his name recognition from his last campaign certainly aided him in this years race. Kentucky has not sent very many Republicans to the Governors mansion. In fact, it only happened one other time in the past 40 years. Kentucky is one of the states that set up an insurance exchange for ObamaCare. The Governor acted with an Executive Order because he couldn’t get it through the State Legislature. Bevin campaigned against the Exchange. He promised to reverse the Executive Order. Now he will be required to find an alternative for the folks. Bevin had a surprise win, but the Democrats should be worried about Kentucky. Look for Kentucky to go Republican next year.
With Kentucky and Ohio leaning towards the Republicans, the Democrats will be scrambling to make up those electoral votes. If nothing else, they will be required to allocate money and time to states they previously considered safe for 2016.
It will be interesting to see if Hillary, or whoever becomes the Democrat nominee can bring back some of these states to the Democrat fold.