Election Update: Summary of Key Races Across the Country

November 5, 2015

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Election Day 2015 saw a switch in party control from Democrat to Republican in the race for Kentucky governor. This marks only the second time in 40 years that Kentucky has elected a Republican governor. In addition, Kentucky’s Republican lieutenant governor-elect, Jenean Hampton, is the first African-American woman ever elected statewide in the history of the state. Kentucky also elected a new attorney general, Democrat Andy Beshear, and Mississippi Democrat incumbent Attorney General Jim Hood easily won re-election. Several states held elections for the legislature, and numerous races for mayor were held across the country. The summary below is intended to give you a snapshot of what occurred in the states and across the country after the polls closed on Election Day 2015.


Businessman Matt Bevin took 53 percent of the vote, defeating his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, who garnered 44 percent of the vote. Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, led for most of the race. However, a determined Bevin organization aided by outside Republican support in the last weeks of the campaign helped propel Bevin to victory. Matt Bevin will become only the second Republican governor of Kentucky in over four decades. Adding to this historic election for the Bluegrass State, Kentucky Republican Lieutenant Governor-elect Jenean Hampton is the first African-American woman ever elected statewide in the history of the state.

In Mississippi, voters expressed their support of incumbent Republican Governor Phil Bryant’s leadership on jobs and education. Governor Bryant easily won re-election, defeating Democrat Robert Gray, 66 percent to 32 percent.

On Oct. 24, 2015, Louisiana held a gubernatorial election. Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards, the minority leader of the Louisiana House of Representatives, were the two candidates who received the largest share of the vote. Because neither candidate received a majority of the vote during the primary election on Oct. 24, a runoff election will be held Nov. 21, 2015, between Vitter and Edwards. McGuireWoods Consulting is following this contest and will provide an update pending the outcome of the election.

Attorneys General

Democrat Andy Beshear defeated Republican state Senator Whitney Westerfield with 50.1 percent of the vote. Despite significant help from the Republican Attorneys General Association, Westerfield was unable to overcome Beshear’s name recognition and fundraising advantage. Andy Beshear, the son of outgoing Governor Steve Beshear, raised over $3.5 million, a record for an attorney general campaign, while Whitfield raised less than one-tenth of that amount – not including his support from the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Incumbent Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood won re-election for a fourth term over Republican Mike Hurst, 56 percent to 44 percent. General Hood is the only Democratic statewide elected official in Mississippi.

State Legislatures

Republicans held on to the Virginia Senate, winning 21 of the 40 seats and maintained their one-seat advantage − Democrats needed to win only one seat to regain control of the Senate, because Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam would have been the tie-breaking vote. Republicans also maintained control in the House of Delegates, 66 to 34. They held a 67-33 majority prior to Election Day and lost only one seat.

Republicans increased their lead in the Mississippi House of Representatives and maintained control of the state Senate with a 31-19 majority with two seats undecided.

New Jersey
Democrats added to their numbers in the New Jersey Assembly on Tuesday evening, increasing the total count in the chamber to 51-29.


Mayoral races took place across the country. There were a number of significant contests, identified below.

Key Democratic victories spotlighted a number of newly elected mayors. Those mayors included:

  • Akron, OH – Dan Horrigan
  • Alexandria, VA – Allison Silberberg
  • Bridgeport, CT – Joe Ganim
  • Charlotte, NC – Jennifer Roberts
  • Columbus, OH – Andrew Ginther
  • Duluth, MN – Emily Larson
  • Fall River, MA – Jasiel Correia
  • Hartford, CT – Luke Bronin
  • Indianapolis, IN – Joe Hogsett
  • Nashua, NH – Jim Donchess
  • Philadelphia, PA – Jim Kenney
  • Portland, ME – Ethan Strimling

Notable incumbents who were re-elected on the Democratic side included:

  • Des Moines, IA – Mayor Frank Cownie
  • Durham, NC – Mayor Bill Bell
  • Gary, IN – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson
  • New Haven, CT – Mayor Toni Harp
  • Orlando, FL – Mayor Buddy Dyer
  • San Francisco, CA – Mayor Ed Lee
  • Schenectady, NY – Mayor Gary McCarthy
  • South Bend, IN – Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Toledo, OH – Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson
  • Holyoke, MA – Mayor Alex Morse
  • Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic Sarno

For the Republicans, a number of incumbent mayors were also re-elected. Those included:

  • Aurora, CO – Mayor Steve Hogan
  • Carmel, IN – Mayor James Brainard
  • Bloomington, MN – Mayor Gene Winstead
  • Danbury, CT – Mayor Mark Boughton
  • Evansville, IN – Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
  • Fayetteville, NC – Mayor Nat Robertson
  • Greeley, CO – Mayor Tom Norton
  • Manchester, NH – Mayor Ted Gatsas
  • Meridian, ID – Mayor Tammy de Weerd
  • New Britain, CT – Mayor Erin Stewart
  • North Charleston, SC – Mayor Keith Summey
  • Rochester Hills, MI – Mayor Bryan Barnett
  • Spokane, WA – Mayor David Condon
  • Thornton, CO – Mayor Heidi Williams
  • Toms River, NJ – Mayor Thomas Kelaher
  • Warren, MI – Mayor James Fouts

In other races, current Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is trailing former legislator Jackie Biskupski. The race will be certified in two weeks, with Biskupski poised to become the city’s chief executive. There are also a number of runoff elections, including those in Savannah, GA; Charleston, SC; and Houston, TX.

McGuireWoods Consulting’s National Multistate Strategies practice allows our clients to have coverage of all 50 states and for all the meetings of the nation’s governors and attorneys general. We assist clients in covering issues, including federal legislation, state legislation, procurement, federal or state regulatory matters, multistate litigation, and corporate image or crisis situations. Our National Multistate Strategies team effectively and efficiently reaches across the country to gain support on matters important to our clients.

For additional information about the 2015 election results or the National Multistate Strategies practice, please contact one of our team members:

Governor Jim Hodges
Jerry Kilgore
Jason Eige
Joe Jaso
Mona Mohib
Carlos Muniz
Andrew Smith