Editor’s note: This file has been corrected to reflect party control of the state legislature in Pennsylvania.
(The Hill) — Kentucky Republicans looking to dethrone Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in November are competing in a contentious primary. Nine contenders are facing off to helm Philadelphia. And candidates in the Pennsylvania House race are gaining national attention in a special election that could potentially flip control of the state’s lower chamber.
These are just a few of the colorful races on tap Tuesday, which could offer clues into the key issues on voters’ minds and how both parties may fare in 2024.
Here’s a look at five races to watch in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida this Tuesday:
Kentucky GOP gubernatorial primary
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, former U.N. ambassador Kelly Craft and state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles are leading a crowded Republican primary field to take on Gov. Andy Beshear (D).
Polling and strategists alike see Cameron as the front-runner, but given that turnout is estimated to be around 10 percent, it could be anyone’s race. Former President Trump has endorsed the state attorney general, while Craft enjoys a clear financial edge through her family’s wealth — she’s married to coal magnate Joseph Craft. Meanwhile, Quarles boasts a slew of grassroots endorsements.
Quarles may also benefit from the fact that he’s largely stayed out of the sniping that’s taken place between Cameron and Craft. The candidates’ campaigns and groups supporting them have launched attack ads and mailers against each other, turning up the heat in a bitter primary.
Ultimately, taking down Beshear will be no easy feat — he has a 63 percent approval rating in Trump country, evidence of his crossover appeal with independents and Republicans.
Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary
Nine Democrats are running to replace Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D), who’s term-limited, but polling shows it’s a likely five-way race.
An Emerson College Polling/PHL17 survey released last week found former City Council member Helen Gym at 21 percent, with former City Council member Cherelle Parker and former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart tied at 18 percent, former City Council member Allan Domb at 14 percent and grocery store magnate Jeff Brown at 10 percent.
A separate 15 percent of respondents said they were undecided, and the margin of error is roughly plus or minus 4 percentage points, making the race largely a tossup.
Gym has the backing of high-profile progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in addition to the highest support among Hispanic/Latino and Asian voters of the five candidates, according to the Emerson College Polling/PHL17 poll.
Parker, who is Black, has the highest support among Black voters of the five candidates. Rhynart has the backing of former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who is also a former Philadelphia mayor.
Pennsylvania State House District 163 special election
State House elections tend to be sleepier affairs, but one special election in the Pennsylvania state House has caught national media attention – and President Biden’s endorsement.
Katie Ford (R), an Army veteran and special instructor for early intervention for young children, is going head-to-head with Heather Boyd (D), former district director to Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), for the Pennsylvania State House District 163 in Delaware County, situated in Philadelphia’s western suburbs. They’re seeking to replace former state Rep. Mike Zabel (D) who stepped down following sexual harassment accusations.
Democrats control the state House and the governor’s mansion in Pennsylvania while Republicans have a majority in the state Senate. If Ford wins, the state House would flip to Republicans.
President Biden has thrown his support behind Boyd, underscoring the local and national implications of the race.
Pennsylvania State Supreme Court primary
Two Republicans and two Democrats are vying for a vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after former liberal Chief Justice Max Baer died last September.
The state’s high court has a 4-2 liberal majority, but the general election scheduled for November will be consequential, given that Republicans will be looking to notch a win in hopes of ultimately flipping the partisan tilt of the state Supreme Court down the line.
Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Carolyn Carluccio and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough are going head-to-head in the Republican primary, while Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Daniel McCaffery and Superior Court Judge Deborah Kunselman are running against each other on the Democratic side.
McCaffery and Carluccio have received the state Democratic Party’s and state GOP’s endorsements, respectively.
The mayoral runoff in Jacksonville, Florida
Over in Jacksonville, Fla., voters will be heading to the polls to pick their next mayor.
Former local news anchor Donna Deegan (D) is running against JAX Chamber CEO Daniel Davis (R). They were the two top vote-getters during the March 21 primary, in which none of the candidates in the crowded field yielded more than half the vote.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) waded into the race and backed Davis, and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has also stumped for the Republican challenger. Former state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried backed Deegan.
Polling from the University of North Florida released last month found that the matchup will be tight, with Deegan receiving 48 percent support while 47 percent supported Davis. The polling falls well within the margin of error, which is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, effectively showing the two candidates tied.
The mayoral race comes against the backdrop of changing political dynamics in Duval County, where Jacksonville sits. Democrat Andrew Gillum won Duval County against DeSantis in the 2018 gubernatorial race by 4 points. But four years later, DeSantis won the county against Democrat Charlie Crist by 12 points.