WASHINGTON – Democrats claimed victory in several notable races during Tuesday’s special elections, particularly ones in Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia.
These wins come roughly one year before the next presidential election, and many were races centered on the national debate over abortion.
What might this November election’s voting trends mean for the next one? Turnout will be substantially higher in a presidential election cycle, so factors like public opinion, party strength, and key issues could look different from one year to the next.
Some elected officials, including Missouri U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt, say it’s hard to draw comparisons between election results in presidential and non-presidential voting years.
“I think it’s hard to look at elections in years like 2023 or 2019 as any kind of precursor to what happens in a big presidential election,” said Schmitt, speaking one-on-one virtually with FOX 2 earlier this week. “Each one of these races is a little different.”
He continued, “In Kentucky, for example, a very good friend of mine, Daniel Cameron, was running against an incumbent governor [Andy Beshear] who was well known. His dad was governor. So it’s hard to take a lot from these races individually. There’s so few of them.”
Schmitt, like his Missouri U.S. Senate counterpart Josh Hawley, expects former U.S. president Donald Trump to emerge as the Republican Party’s nominee for a third consecutive presidential election cycle.
“To me, the race is set for next year,” said Schmitt. “It’s going to be President Trump vs. President [Joe] Biden. The sooner we get on to that debate, the better off we’ll be. Because I think the contrast between the prosperity we had – the secure border, the energy dominance – to now a failing economy where [for] working families, it’s hard to make ends meet.”
Schmitt spoke about a concept known to some political analysts as “Bidenomics” earlier this week on the Senate floor. He cited inflation on daily essentials, relatively stagnant wages, and higher interest rates behind the Biden administration’s current plans.
“What troubles so many Missourians is the rising cost of everything,” said Schmitt. “Everything is more expensive now. Inflation’s not some hurricane act of god or tornado; there’s a formula for it. And it turns out, if you spend trillions and trillions of dollars you don’t have, and you declare war on domestic energy production and reduce the supply of cheap energy, the cost of everything goes up.”
Schmitt expects voters will decide based on their views of the Biden administration and Trump’s last presidential term.
“I think when we get to next year, Americans, Missourians, are going to be confronted with a choice,” said Schmitt. “I think people are going to compare those records [of Trump vs. Biden]. They’re going to make a choice, and I think Republicans are going to have a good year next year.”