The Results are in: Election Day 2015

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Yesterday, I wrote a breakdown of some of the top races to watch on election day 2015. Here are the results of these contentious votes:

Virginia’s General Assembly

Why we should have watched it: With just a few key races promising to decide the lean of the state Senate overall, and Governor Terry McAuliffe pushing hard for a Democratic Senate, it was certainly a race to watch. Given that Virginia promises to be a hotly contested swing state in 2016, seeing just how purple the state has become is always interesting.

What happened: The GOP retained control of the state senate, and therefore the General Assembly as a whole. This leaves McAuliffe still without allies, and may indicate an uphill battle for whoever ends up as the Democratic nominee for 2016.

San Francisco’s Airbnb Vote

Why we should have watched it: San Francisco voters were offered a sort of referendum on Airbnb’s model of short-term rentals. Proposition F promised to levy some serious restrictions on the company. Add to that Airbnb’s $8 million dollar investment in fighting against the proposition, and a series of weird ads that certainly turned San Francisco voters off, and it became a tense race from start to finish.

What happened: Airbnb’s massive investment paid off, as voters rejected Proposition F. So, Airbnb will continue business as usual in the city where it is headquartered, but it was still a very expensive fight. As other cities may try to create similar restrictions, Airbnb might not want to make spending that kind of cash a precedent.

Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

Why we should have watched it: The Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway faced off against tea party candidate and businessman Matt Bevin. This was an incredibly hotly contested race; recent polls actually showed Conway in the lead. Bevin last year tried to primary Mitch McConnell, and was almost successful, and then beat a more establishment Republican for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

What happened: Bevin won, marking the first time in a while that a Republican has taken the governorship in Kentucky. Moreover, he showed that tea party wins aren’t a thing of the past. His successful rallying against the establishment may indicate who Kentucky will vote for in 2016.

Ohio Marijuana Initiative

Why we should have watched it: There were a lot of weird aspects to Ohio’s attempt to legalize marijuana. For one, it would have been the first state to legalize recreational marijuana having not first legalized medical marijuana. Moreover, there were concerns of a “marijuana oligopoly,” given that only 10 facilities backed by a group of investors would receive licenses to grow it. So, some that rallied against it were more fighting against the threat of a restricted market than the legalization of weed itself.

What happened: The initiative failed, so weed won’t be legalized in Ohio. However, it’s unclear whether it was rejected because of the oligopoly fears, or because Ohioans actually didn’t want to legalize weed. If it’s the former, we should expect to see another measure up for vote soon that allows a wider market.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Why we should have watched it: The city of Houston, Texas voted on an equal rights ordinance that would have included protections for the LGBTQ community, including on the basis of gender identity. However, the entire thing became a nasty firefight when groups that opposed the ordinance began suggesting that it would allow predators to enter women’s bathrooms.

What happened: The fear-mongering paid off, and the ordinance didn’t pass. The opponents focused on one incorrect assumption, and were successful. Although the U.S. is doing a little better on LGBTQ rights in the wake of Obergefell, the resounding defeat of the ordinance in a relatively liberal city run by Annise Parker, one of the most high profile openly gay mayors in the United States, isn’t a great sign.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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