In Kentucky and Oklahoma, Democrats lost ground in the state legislatures, but Democrats gained ground in the Missouri House due to a more favorable map drawn by a bipartisan commission. There was no change in the House and Senate. Republicans already dominate all three states.
In Kentucky, Republicans won 5 out of 6 House races. Thomas Massie won by the narrowest margin. He won 65% of the vote in his district. The swings from the 2020 election were in R+7 in KY-01, R+7.1 in KY-02, D+1.6 in KY-03, R+1.9 in KY-04, R+5 in KY-05 and R+19.2 in KY-06
In the Senate, Rand Paul was easily reelected with 60.1% of the vote. 52.4% of voters in Kentucky rejected a pro-life amendment to ban abortion in the state constitution. Abortion in Kentucky is already banned by statute and both sides are preparing for a fight at the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The national media has celebrated the defeat of Amendment 2 as a huge victory for abortion rights. No attention has been given to the more boring state legislature races where Republicans expanded their supermajority in the Kentucky House by flipping five seats or winning an extra seat in the Kentucky Senate. In other words, Kentucky voters gave the Republicans who banned abortion more power in the state legislature, as they have done everywhere else across the South.
Turnout in Kentucky was 44.1%. In both West Virginia and Kentucky, it is clear that a significant number of Trump voters didn’t turnout because Trump wasn’t on the ballot. This effect can also be seen in Ohio in places where Trump is very popular and J.D. Vance won while underperforming.
Rand Paul could have used those Ultra Mega MAGA Republicans in Appalachia who voted for Trump, but sat out the midterms. Amendment 2 went down because they didn’t show up.
In Missouri, Republicans won their usual 6 out of 8 House seats. St. Louis reelected Squad member Cori Bush and Kansas City reelected Emmanuel Cleaver. Missouri votes like Tennessee outside of Kansas City and St. Louis. The swings from the 2020 election were R+9.9 in MO-01, R+4.1 in MO-02, R+4.2 in MO-03, R+5.4 in MO-04, R+1.9 in MO-05, R+5.7 in MO-06, R+2.8 in MO-07 and R+2.8 in MO-08.
Eric Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate with 55.5% of the vote. Missouri voted to legalize marijuana with 53.1% of the vote. The legalization of marijuana has gotten the most attention from the media.
Republicans won every statewide office in Missouri. Democrats, however, flipped three seats in the Missouri House because of a new map drawn by a bipartisan commission. Republicans retained their supermajority in the Missouri state legislature and all their seats in the Missouri Senate.
In Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt won the governor race with 55.5% of the vote which turned out not to be the toss up that the media was expecting.
In the House, Republicans won all 5 House seats. The swing from the 2020 election was R+5.1 in OK-01, D+4.3 in OK-02, R+6.3 in OK-03, R+2.6 in OK-04 and R+3.1 in OK-05
In the Senate, James Lankford was reelected with 64.3% of the vote and Markwayne Mullin was elected to the Senate with 61.8% of the vote and will replace Jim Inhofe.
By Oklahoma standards though, Stitt, Mullin and Lankford all underperformed. Kevin Stitt appears to have weighed down the ballot even though they all won comfortably in the House and Senate races.
Republicans swept all statewide races and picked up an extra seat in the Oklahoma Senate while losing one seat in the Oklahoma House and maintained their trifecta in state government and their supermajority in the state legislature. Oklahoma voters chose to retain all four justices on the Oklahoma Supreme Court for another six year term.
Voter turnout was 40.1% in Oklahoma. As in Kentucky, Democrats were energized by abortion, but lots of Republicans didn’t show up because it really didn’t matter.
The thing that stands out the most to me about the elections in West Virginia, western North Carolina, northwest Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, the Ozarks in Arkansas and Oklahoma is that there seems to be a Trump effect where Trump voters who love Donald Trump didn’t show up because he wasn’t on the ballot in places where he is known to be unusually popular. This seems to have happened in Ohio as well where a lot of Trump voters didn’t show up for J.D. Vance.