Policymaking News

United States: Races, Ballot Measures Decided
November 08, 2017

On November 7, voters decided gubernatorial elections in two states, legislative elections in three states, local elections in some of our largest cities, and numerous ballot initiatives.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

GOVERNORS:  The November 7 election included two races for governor. Both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) were term limited. In both states, the incumbent lieutenant governors -- Kim Guadagno (R) and Ralph Northam (D) respectively -- seek to succeed them. Phil Murphy (D) defeated Guadagno, while Ed Gillespie (R) fell short in his attempt to defeat Northam.

LEGISLATURES: Two states held regularly scheduled legislative elections this year. Democrats currently control both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature, while the GOP controls both chambers of the Virginia Legislature. The New Jersey Assembly and Senate have retained their Democrat majorities, as expected. The balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates is not yet decided as five races are still too close to call (the Senate did not hold elections this year).

Also, Washington held eight special elections (three in the House, five in the Senate) to determine which party controls both chambers of the legislature. As of this morning, at least one Senate seat has flipped to the Democrats, giving them control of the chamber. There was no change in the Democrat control of the House.

LOCAL: Over twenty of the nation’s largest cities held mayoral elections this year, including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami,  New York City, and Seattle. Most incumbents were re-elected. However, at least one city saw a turnover: Charlotte, NC (Jennifer Roberts to Vi Lyles). Due to term limits, Francis Suarez and Jenny Durkan have been elected the mayors of Miami, FL and Seattle, WA, respectively. Albuquerque, NM and Atlanta, GA will hold runoff elections on November 14 and December 5, respectively.

Several cities held general mayoral elections earlier this year. Of those, incumbents Jeff Williams (I) of Arlington, TX; Betsy Price (I) of Fort Worth, TX; Eric Garcetti (D) of Los Angeles, CA; and Jean Stohert (R) of Omaha, NE were reelected. In El Paso, TX, Oscar Leeser (D) was replaced by Dee Margo (R). In San Antonio, TX, Ron Nirenberg (I) replaced Ivy Taylor (D), while Francis Slay (D) was defeated by fellow Democrat Lyda Krewson in St. Louis, MO.

STATE BALLOT MEASURES:  Seven states had a total of twenty-two policy questions on their ballots this year. Measures of note included:

Ohio Issue 2 (FAILED): to link drug prices paid by state agencies to those paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

New York Proposal 1 (FAILED): to decide whether to hold a state constitutional convention

Maine Question 2 (PASSED): an initiative to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)


For more detailed information on state elections, local elections, and ballot measures, StateScape recommends the following sources:

State: NCSL State Vote 2017


Ballot Measures:

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