Select Page

What can be said about 2023 interim elections?

What can be said about 2023 interim elections?

Nothing gets the political spin machines rotating faster than the interpretation of election results – and their value as indicators of future outcomes.   A close second would be polling results.

So … what can we divine from the results of the November 7 election? Not much.  Of course, there will be partisan interpretations, with most of the media spinning with the Democrats.

Judging by media reporting there were four elections worthy of coverage — the Kentucky and Mississippi gubernatorial races, the Ohio ballot initiatives and the state assembly races in Virginia.

In Kentucky, incumbent Governor Andy Beshear defeated the state’s Attorney General Matt Cameron.  It was hyped in the media as a huge victory for Democrats.  CNN’s Jake Tapper emphasizes it as a “big, big win” for the donkey party – especially considering Kentucky is a “very red state” that was won by President Trump in the past.

In fact, it was the expected win of a very popular governor with a prominent name in Kentucky politics.  Incumbents tend to win, especially in non-federal election years.  Nothing to learn here.

In Mississippi, we had the reverse.  Incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves defeated Democrat challenger Jim Presley.  The most interesting thing about that race was the fact that Presley is the second cousin of the “King of Rock ‘n Roll.”    Another incumbent wins reelection.  Nothing to learn here, either.

In the Virginia general assembly races, there is a difference.  Democrats succeeded in taking control of the House.  They already had control of the State Senate.  This was a gain for the Democrats, but can it be interpreted as an early indicator for the 2024 presidential election in the Old Dominion State.  Virginia voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020.  The Democrat win in the Virginia House will have no impact on the expected outcome of the Virginia vote in the 2024 presidential election.  It will go to the Democrats.  As far as the state is concerned, it will still be a divided government.  Nothing new to see here.

The passage of the abortion amendment in Ohio – a GOP-leaning state – was another setback for the Pro-Life Movement.   It does not, however, indicate a shift in the trajectory of that issue.  Most Americans favor legalized abortions.  That is obvious.  The Ohio vote was reflective of the trend we have seen since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.  In that context, the outcome of the Ohio vote was expected from the onset.  It was – and is – the one issue where Republicans have a disadvantage. While it is a problem for the GOP, the outcome in Ohio did not change any political equations.  Nothing new here.

There was some media interpretation regarding a Trump effect.  Was he a winner or loser.  Actually, there did not appear to be a Trump effect.  Not everything in American politics revolves around Trump – and this election was one of those things that did not.

Nothing that happened on Election Day was dramatic.  There were no surprises – no shockers.  In real terms, only the shift of the Virginia House changed the political power balance – and that was not something with significant impact on the national balance of power — or the prospect of things going forward.  The political world of Wednesday morning was not much different than the political world of Monday evening despite all the partisan hype.  Granted, there was no good news for Republicans, but not a lot of bad news either.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Polls are estimates of a future reality; elections are that reality. (frank stetson, nmrn)

    “Nothing gets the political spin machines rotating faster than the interpretation of election results – and their value as indicators of future outcomes. A close second would be polling results.” (larry horist, hrm)

    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” (the wizard of oz)

    I would say it’s the opposite with polls as indicators of what might be and elections absolute as to the future of who holds the keys.

    Fact is even Horist admits if there was a lean — it was left. Abortion as a guaranteed right in yet another Constitution, and the left has the legislature in Virginia. Can the gov. say “pivot?” Or compromise? Horist just is of the opinion of “meh, does not really matter.” I guess the fact that the Trump endorsement was “meh, did not really matter” did not his the radar screen either.

    Sure sounded like it mattered on that debate stage post election. Kept hearing the word loser and the like.
    But on this one I agree with Horist: sleep tight, nothing to worry about here. You got great polls, gonna be a red wave, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

  2. Tom

    I dunno Larry. You know more about political strategy than I do. Seems to me that there should be something to learn here. The way I saw it without hype was that two Trump endorsed candidates lost, Virginia just went blue with red governor (back to my gridlock theory), and yet another state sent a message to the GOP by enshrining abortion in their constitution is like saying, “Hey GOP, don’t mess with my reproductive rights!”

    I guess by saying “nothing new here” you are actually saying the GOP knew this was going to happen.

    I think the new thing that was not mentioned was that this “ho-hum nothing new here” 2023 election seems to have sent a message to many GOP’ers that Ronna McDaniel’s is a loser and needs to go. But then again, GOP being out of step with society and losing many elections over the past five years, well…..”nothing new here!”

    • larry Horist

      Tom … I just do not believe the recent elections change anything going forward. Incumbent governors –one D and one R — only suggests incumbents do well. The abortion outcome in Ohio was no surprise — although the margin was a bit closer than the polling and pundits
      predicted. Even flipping the Virginia House was a win for the Ds, bjut does not have much impact on the big picture. Still a divided situation with the Ds able to advance legislation and the Governor able to use a veto. I see the outcome as status quo — as opposed as the smashing win for the Ds, as their media friends report it. If you are saying that it was not a stellar performance by the Rs — and has been in line with the Rs underperforming, I would agree.

      • Tom

        Exactly. R’s underperforming is why some seem to be calling for McDaniel’s resignation.

  3. JoeyP

    Not a whole lot of change or “shakin” going on . . .

  4. frank stetson

    Republicans overturned Row v Wade saying it was not a national concern but needed the power of the people at the State Level. The Law-and-Order Party got Scotus to overturn Scotus. More than 25K scotus decisions, less than 150 on overturn.
    It’s highly unusual over the 230 plus years of scotus.

    Then the law and order Republicans cried foul as the power of the people in state after state removed their deadly restrictions, enshrined abortion in State Constitutions a half dozen times already.

    After the fall of Roe, 14 States made abortion illegal. Not unavailable, just illegal. It’s protected, by law, by Constitution, or both in 21 states. It’s at risk in 26 states. However, today, abortion is a Constitutional Right in a half dozen States and that’s much harder to wrestle with. The people have spoken and Republicans choose not to listen as Ohio begins to make law to evade their own Constitution as written by the people in this last election. *,the%20state’s%20constitution%20this%20week.*

    Remember when Republicans said: “hey, don’t worry snowflake, we’re just letting the states decide, the people in each state can now choose, and you can always find a state that fits your needs.” Yeah, any state outside the deep south. Apparently, the law and oder party only feels this was OK when they get their way. When the people say NO; Republicans respond “kidding, now we will use the law to control the judiciary to our political whims. Come to Ohio…..” That’s right, Ohio Republicans are floating a bill that essential will neuter their constitution. Law and order……

    Nope, I see great consequences on the abortion issue in the 2024 election and it transcends party affiliation. Republicans can soften, they can pivot, but they can not hide what they have accomplished and are attempting still. The debate response to this was a bwhaaaaaaat, are these the same people as the last debate moment with five different angles on national bans, what should be allowed, intervals, it was whackadoo. I think abortion will be top-dead-center as a 2024 issue and Republicans are, rightfully, on the wrong side of the people on this one.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *