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Election Day 2019: Which Races to Watch and What Time Polls Close
It’s Election Day 2019. Here’s What To Watch
Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi have major races that will signal the intensity of Republican support for President Trump and the degree of Democratic strength in the suburbs.
Kentucky and Mississippi will elect governors on Tuesday, with Democrats looking for upset victories in those two solidly Republican states.
In Virginia, voters will decide control of the state legislature, where Republicans have slim majorities in each chamber. If the G.O.P. loses, Virginia state government will be under full Democratic control.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Kentucky, depending on the location; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time in Mississippi.
There are also political offices and referendums on the ballot in Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado on Tuesday.
The New York Times will publish results pages for the Virginia legislature and for the governor’s races in Kentucky and Mississippi, with continuous updates through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The big picture
Tuesday’s election results will offer insights on two crucial political dynamics heading into the 2020 campaign: the depth of President Trump’s appeal with Republicans and how fully suburban voters have swung to the Democrats.
The Republican candidates for governor in Kentucky and Mississippi have aggressively linked themselves to Mr. Trump and sought to tie their rivals to the national Democrats pursuing the impeachment inquiry against the president. Mr. Trump, who comfortably carried both states in 2016, has put his political capital on the line: He rallied voters in Mississippi on Friday and was in Kentucky on Monday night.
The president has not appeared on the campaign trail in Virginia, where Democrats are hoping Mr. Trump’s deep unpopularity in the suburbs is enough for them to flip control of both chambers of the state legislature. Virginia is the only Southern state the president lost in 2016, and Republicans are facing a series of difficult races in metropolitan districts.
The 2019 election season does not end Tuesday, however. On Saturday, Nov. 16, Louisiana voters will choose between Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and his challenger, the businessman Eddie Rispone. It’s another race where the Republicans are trying to harness Mr. Trump’s standing with conservative voters and their dismay over his looming impeachment to nationalize a state election. Mr. Trump, who has already been to Louisiana once for Republicans this fall, is headed back there later this week to stump for Mr. Rispone.
The battle for Virginia’s suburbs
Virginians will decide whether to hand power to Democrats for the first time in a generation or maintain divided government. Major policy issues like gun safety are at stake, as well as control over drawing new voting districts in 2021. All 140 seats in both chambers are on the ballot. Republicans hold slim majorities of 20-19 in the Senate and 51-48 in the House of Delegates, with one vacancy in each.
If you’re watching the election returns on Tuesday night, here are some of the most closely contested races to follow that will help determine which party controls the legislature:
Senate District 13: Loudon and Prince William Counties in the Washington suburbs. This open seat, vacated by a Republican in a region rapidly becoming a blue enclave, is likely the best pickup chance for Democrats. John Bell, a Democratic state delegate, faces Geary Higgins, a Loudon supervisor.
Senate District 10: suburbia west of Richmond. Glen Sturtevant, a Republican, may be the most threatened incumbent statewide in a district that Hillary Clinton carried by 11 points. His Democratic challenger, Ghazala Hashmi, would be the first Muslim woman in the Senate.
Senate District 12: suburbia north of Richmond. Siobhan Dunnavant, the Republican incumbent, won her seat easily in 2015. Since then she took an unpopular vote opposing Medicaid expansion. Her Democratic challenger, Debra Rodman, is a freshman member of the House of Delegates who first ran for office in the blue wave year of 2017. Ms. Rodman says her internal polls show a tied race.
Senate District 7: Virginia Beach. An open seat following a Republican retirement. Cheryl Turpin, the Democrat, is a delegate first elected in the 2017 wave. Her Republican opponent, Jen Kiggans, is a former Navy pilot. The district went for Mr. Trump in 2016, but swung to Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, in 2017.
House District 94: Newport News. The 2017 race here made national headlines when it resulted in a tie and the winner was chosen by drawing. This year the two candidates are in a rematch: David Yancey, the Republican incumbent, versus Shelly Simonds.