What’s happening in the 2023 election: 4 races to watch Tuesday

Voters cast their early votes at St. Pauls Recreation Center in Garden City, New York on November 2, 2023 in Garden City. (Photo by Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

While high-profile campaigns are gaining momentum for next year’s presidential election, a handful of smaller, state-level elections are in the spotlight this voting season. 

Most of the races getting attention this year are governors in hotly-contested states, but a few other key votes could be a sign of things to come next year. In all of them, access to abortion has been a frequent topic in campaign debates and advertising. 

Here are five votes worth keeping an eye out for results this year: 

4. Kentucky governor’s race


Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is running for reelection, and Republican nominee and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, shake hands on Oct. 12, 2023. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

  • Being called one of the most competitive and close races on the ballot this year 
  • Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is one of four Democratic governors leading a state Trump carries twice in his campaigns for presidency 
  • He’s being challenged by Daniel Cameron, a Donald Trump endorsee who is hoping to gain completely GOP control over lawmaking in the state

RELATED: Survey finds that US abortions rose slightly overall after new restrictions started in some states

3. Pennsylvania Supreme court

  • The state has a vacant seat in its Supreme Court 
  • The Court has a 4-2 Democratic majority, so the outcome of this race will tip partisan control
  • The new justice could break any 3-3 ties on election-related cases that come up in the 2024 presidential campaign, in which Pennsylvania will be a hotly contested battleground

2. Virginia’s balance of power 

  • The state legislature is split currently, with Republicans having a narrow majority in the House and Democrats in the state Senate 
  • All 40 state Senate seats and 100 state House seats are on the ballot
  • Republicans hope to gain full control to clear a path for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to enact proposals on key issues, specifically a ban on abortions after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is endangered
  • Democrats are hoping to keep control of at least one chamber to serve as a check against the governor’s proposals  
  • Some experts are saying the Virginia races could be a potential indicator about what to expect next year nationwide

Read more about Virginia politics here

1. Ohio’s abortion vote

  • Ohio voters are deciding whether to amend the state Constitution to protect access to abortion services 
  • May see it referred to as Ohio’s Issue 1, which is how it’s labeled on the ballot
  • Seen as the highest-profile race on the ballot this year across the country
  • Expected to be a preview of abortion battles across the country in 2024 

Read more about Issue 1 and Ohio’s marijuana proposal here

Miscellaneous of note


With her slain daughter Lexi's drawing tattooed on her arm, Kimberly Mata-Rubio speaks with supporters about gun violence and her candidacy for mayor of Uvalde, Texas, on Sept. 26, 2023, in Highland Park, Illinois. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/Tri

  • A woman whose 10-year-old daughter was killed in the Uvalde school shooting is now running for mayor, after a year of advocating for gun control and school safety (Kimberly Mata-Rubio).
  • In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is running for a second term against Democrat Brandon Presley, a state utility regulator and cousin of rock ’n’ roll legend Elvis Presley. Republicans have controlled the office for the last 20 years.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.