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Election Day: Voters choose governors, mayors in races around U.S.

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Tuesday, November 5 is Election Day in the United States, and several states and municipalities will hold votes on key races and issues.

Kentucky and Mississippi will hold gubernatorial races, while Virginia will elect new members to its state legislature. Cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, and South Bend, Ind., will hold mayoral elections that could influence potential power shifts with one year to go before the 2020 general elections.

Kentucky

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin will look to defeat his Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear in what is expected to be a tight race.

Bevin has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, who won the state by nearly 30 points in 2016. The president joined Bevin for a rally in Lexington on Monday.

The one-term governor won the seat by just 10 points in 2015 and lost a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate primary a year earlier to incumbent Mitch McConnell.

Bevin’s popularity has declined after clashing with school teachers and labour leaders over a pension measure, as well as attempting to implement more work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

Beshear, whose father preceded Bevin as Kentucky governor, has touted his victory in blocking Bevin’s pension reform plan and cuts to the state’s colleges and universities as attorney general. He has also countered Bevin’s Medicaid proposal by promising to expand healthcare state-wide.

A victory for Beshear would give Democrats headway in a state where Republicans control a majority of the legislature.

Mississippi

Republican Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will face off against the state’s Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

Reeves has served as the state’s lieutenant governor since 2011 and has run on a platform opposing Medicaid expansion while supporting increases in teachers’ salaries.

Hood has become popular in the Republican-leaning state since being elected attorney general in 2003, positioning himself as a moderate Democrat who opposes abortion and supports expanding gun rights.

The Republican Party controls both state legislative chambers and has not elected a Democratic governor since 1999.

Mississippi’s laws require a candidate to win the popular vote as well as a majority of the state’s 122 state house districts. If neither meets those thresholds, the House of Representatives will select the winner.

Virginia

Democrats in Virginia look to take control of both houses in the state legislature, as all 140 seats are on the ballot Tuesday.

Republicans hold 51 seats in the House of Delegates to Democrats’ 48 — and a 20-19 edge in the state Senate. Each chamber also has one vacancy.

If Democrats were to win both chambers, they would control the legislature and the governor’s office, allowing them to influence redistricting ahead of the 2020 Census.

To achieve that goal, Democrats will have to hold onto the seats they currently hold and pick up three to four in each chamber.

Republicans haven’t won a state-wide election since 2009, but have held the Senate since 2014 and House since 1999.

Other key races

San Francisco Mayor London Breed will seek to win a full term Tuesday after she won a special election in 2018 to serve out the remainder of former Mayor Ed Lee’s term, following his death. She faces public health worker Ellen Lee Zhou and small business owner Paul Ybarra Robertson.

In South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is vacating the office to run for president but has endorsed his former chief of staff, James Mueller, who will face off against Republican school teacher Sean Haas.

Philadelphia Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney will seek to win a second term against Republican Billy Ciancaglini, who has campaigned on ending the city’s “sanctuary city” immigration status.

New York City will vote on a ballot initiative to determine whether it will use a ranked-choice voting system that allows voters to choose candidates in ranked order, with the candidate who earns the most first-place rankings winning the election.

Washington State will vote on whether to approve affirmative action policies related to government jobs and state universities, which has been banned in the state since 1998.

SourceGNA

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