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November 08, 2023 05:52 AM MST

Right Wing Gets Wrong Results in 2023 Elections

  • by: Colorado Pols

We thought about doing a “Winners and Losers” post after yesterday’s election results, but we could have just listed “Republicans” in the “Losers” section and called it a day. The 2023 election was again a pretty terrible night to be a right-wing conservative — not just In Colorado but across the country — and produced some very encouraging news for Democrats heading into 2024.

But before we get into the long list of good news for Democrats, let’s go ahead and get the “good news for Republicans” part out of the way:

Proposition HH Fails

Yes, Prop. HH failed by a wide margin in Colorado. But as we wrote yesterday, this was about as shocking as the Denver Broncos losing another game. Proposition HH was a confusing ballot measure without much of a campaign behind it, and it faced the added pressure of trying to overcome the odd-year ballot measure curse in Colorado. Legislative Republicans who opposed Prop. HH didn’t really even know why they didn’t like it, but they’re crowing about it today in part because they have little else to talk about.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman Wins Re-Election

We were much more surprised to see Coffman winning re-election by a 16-point margin after being forced to abandon his ill-conceived “strong mayor” initiative amid a wave of negative press in August. Coffman’s victory is mostly about strong name ID built up over a career in elected office that began (seriously) in 1989 and was interrupted only briefly when he was tossed out of Congress after being hammered by Democrat Jason Crow in 2018. Coffman probably couldn’t have won if this race took place in an even year; he benefitted bigly from being able to focus on Republican voters in a low-turnout election.


Colorado Democratic Party Chair Shad Murib

And…that’s about it for the good news on the Republican side. Democrats, meanwhile, had a lot more to celebrate on Tuesday, particularly when it comes to public schools.

Local elections — including city council, mayor, and school board — are technically “non-partisan” affairs in Colorado, but it’s not hard to figure out which candidates are on which side of the political aisle. Open races for mayor in two of Colorado’s largest cities went to Democratic-backed candidates: Wendi Strom in Lakewood and Lauren Simpson in Arvada. The race for Pueblo Mayor will go to a runoff in January between incumbent Mayor Nick Gradisar and City Council President Heather Graham, but the right-wing candidates were all defeated (including Randy Thurston, who boasted the endorsement of failed 2022 gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl).

On the school board side, Democratic-backed candidates won both open seats in Jefferson County and all three open seats in conservative Douglas County. Voters in Douglas County also approved a mill levy override to increase teacher pay — only the second time in 17 years that Douglas County voters approved such a proposal.

And in Woodland Park, where right-wing interests took over control of the school board in 2021 and made the Teller County district the first in the nation to adopt the absurd “American Birthright” standards, voters tossed out all three at least one of the right-wing candidates on the ballot (the other two races are very close and may need recounts to be decided).

Oh, and the only other statewide measure on the ballot, Proposition II, passed easily.

Let’s move now to the national outlook, which is about as good as it gets for Democrats…



Via the New York Times (11/8/23)


Via POLITICO (11/8/23(


Going into Tuesday night, Democrats were already having a strong 2023. Compared to Biden’s 2020 victory, Democratic candidates in special elections this year had been running about 8 percentage points better, on average.

There were a couple marquee victories, too, like flipping control of Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court and stopping conservatives from trying to make it more difficult to pass the abortion-rights amendment in Ohio.

Tuesday added to the winning streak: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection. Democrats held the Virginia state Senate and flipped the state House. The party was the driving force behind a ballot measure to enshrine the right to an abortion in the Ohio state constitution. And Democrats added to their Wisconsin victory by winning a similar race in Pennsylvania.

They also won by muscle-flexing margins. Beshear beat state Attorney General Daniel Cameron by 5 percentage points; his first victory four years ago was by less than half a point. The Ohio abortion amendment passed by 12 points. Daniel McCaffery, the Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania, won by 8. [Pols emphasis]

To the bulleted-list we go!

Kentucky Governor

The outcome of the Kentucky Governor’s race has predicted the outcome of the Presidential election in each of the previous five election cycles. On Tuesday, incumbent Democrat Andy Beshear defeated a Trump-backed challenger (Daniel Cameron) by 5 points in a state that Donald Trump carried in 2020 by 26 points over Democrat Joe Biden.

Ohio Ballot Measures

Trump carried Ohio in both 2016 and 2020, but Tuesday’s results should concern The Big Orange Guy. By a 13-point margin, Ohio voters approved a measure enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution (this was essentially the second abortion rights victory in Ohio after voters rejected an August effort by conservatives to make it harder to change the state constitution). Ohio voters also approved legal marijuana by 14 points.

Virginia Legislature

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin was hoping to ride a wave of success on Tuesday into a stronger argument for becoming the non-Trump alternative for President, but voters had other ideas. Virginians rejected Youngkin’s strategy of trying to coalesce Republican candidates behind a 15-week abortion ban, allowing Democrats to maintain control in the State Senate and re-take the majority in the House of Delegates.

Rhode Island Special Election

In a special election for Congress, Rhode Island voters elected a former Biden aide to fill a vacant Congressional seat. Gabe Amo is also the first Black candidate to win a federal election in Rhode Island.

Abortion Rights

Across the country, Democrats succeeded in every race in which that abortion rights were a significant factor (including a Supreme Court race in Pennsylvania). It is telling that no state has failed to approve an expansion of abortion rights since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. As abortion rights researcher Tresa Undem told The Washington Post, “If I were an antiabortion politician, I’d be scared.”


That does it for elections in 2023. The 2024 election is just 362 days away!


14 thoughts on “Right Wing Gets Wrong Results in 2023 Elections

  1. Correction. Actually, 2 of the 3 Woodland Park school board ultra-right members were re-elected, according to the Secretary of State’s website. I know that early returns had the challengers winning, but later returns went the other way. (Perhaps you have later data than is on the SOS website). Margins of defeat were small (on the order of 50 votes for the two losing challengers).

    Two right-wingers were not on last night’s ballot.

    Keegan Barker did oust right-winger Dave Illingworth by nearly 250 votes, but she will now be just one voice against 4 of those quite off-the-wall self-proclaimed “patriots.” (Our founding fathers would be horrified!).

    I guess in Woodland Park, the majority of voters (who who card to vote) are satisfied with their kids being propagandized into ignorance.

  2. Unfortunately, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves kept his job, although by a narrower margin than he had hoped.

    The effects of gerrymandering continue to linger. Mississippi districts from the state to the federal levels are drawn very obviously  to keep Democrats from winning.


    1. Incumbency PLUS two court decisions that wouldn't extend voting times for sites that ran out of ballots.  Something like 9 sites in and around Jackson. 

      By Wednesday, with 96% of the vote counted across the state Reeves has 51.6% (407,703), followed by Presley with 47% (370,992) and third-party candidate Gwendolyn Gray with 1.4% (10,764). It was an Election Day marred by ballot shortages in the state's most populous county.

      And a number of people were also wondering the impact of running a "pro-life" Democratic White guy in an election that in so many other places showed the strength of the "pro-choice" Democrats in this post-Roe era.

  3. Yes, Prop. HH failed by a wide margin in Colorado.

    As you correctly noted, totally unsurprising for a variety of reasons. More tax foreclosures (or "let's get what we can now before the tax foreclosure hits" sales) will, of course, get us closer to the wingnut goal of bringing about conditions that'll make the Gilded Age look like some sort of moonbat socialist utopia. More houses in the hands of "entrepreneurs" who turn them into permanent Airbnbs is the wingnut dream. It's not easy for a prole to pay attention to wealth distribution and/or encroaching fascism when s/he's gotta relocate every 30-60 days.

    We were much more surprised to see Coffman winning re-election by a 16-point margin

    Ol' Mike would have continued suckling at the public teat regardless of the outcome. Better the people of Aurora continuing to pay his bills than the rest of us.

    1. Didn’t Coffman’s opponent, Juan Marcano, recently resign from the Democratic Socialists? There might be people who were opposed to any Dem Socialist and some who would be upset that he resigned.

  4. Amusing headline & story in The Hill

    Ramaswamy: GOP has become ‘party of losers’

    by Jared Gans – 11/08/23 8:27 PM ET

    Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says that the GOP has become a “party of losers” in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election results. 

    Ramaswamy said at the third Republican presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday that a “cancer” exists in the GOP establishment, blaming in part Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel for the losses. 

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