2023 elections: Chicago chooses a mayor, states vote on legislatures in contentious upcoming races

The dust has settled following the 2022 midterms, and Americans in certain cities and states around the country are looking ahead to elections slated to take place in the new year.

While there is sure to be a great deal of focus on the 2024 presidential election, thousands of voters are gearing up to head to the polls in 2023 to elect state and local leaders in different corners of America.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot fights for her political life

The Chicago mayoral election, set to take place early this year, comes amid an unprecedented spike in crime as incumbent Lori Lightfoot seeks to defend her post in the mayor’s office against numerous challengers.

Several individuals have announced their candidacy in the race and will face off in the Windy City’s nonpartisan mayoral election slated for Feb. 28.

While there are a number of issues in focus ahead of the election, crime is a central priority for both candidates and voters. Homicides in the deep-blue city rose to their highest number in 25 years in 2021, according to police department records, outpacing New York City and Los Angeles.

Several candidates who aim to serve as Chicago’s 57th mayor recently told Fox News Digital they believe that Lightfoot has not fulfilled promises to make the city a safer environment as they stressed the importance of supporting police and tackling crime head on.

Candidates in the race to represent Chicago as mayor include Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, as well as Democratic Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, Frederick Collins, Illinois state Rep. Kambium Buckner, Ja’Mal Green, Sophia King, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Alderman Sophia King, Paul Vallas and Willie Wilson.

Republicans seek to flip governor’s mansion in Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who has served at the helm of Louisiana since 2016, is term-limited and ineligible to seek re-election, giving Republicans a chance at taking back the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge.

Two people have announced their candidacy in the race to lead the red state, independent candidate Hunter Lundy and Republican candidate Jeff Landry, the current attorney general in Louisiana.

Often referred to as a ‘jungle primary,’ Louisiana’s electoral system gives Democrats a fighting chance to retain control of the governor’s mansion. Regardless of party, all candidates who enter the gubernatorial race will face off in a primary election on Oct. 14. Should no candidate receive 50% of the vote in the October election, a runoff election featuring the two candidates who received the most votes – regardless of party – will be held on Nov. 18.

Democrats eye challenge to Mississippi’s GOP governor

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who has served in the position since 2020, has stated he will seek a second term in office. Reeves recently signed into law the state’s largest-ever tax cut and plans to push for a full elimination of the state’s income tax in 2023.

While Reeves is favored in the Republican-leaning state, Democrats who have faced multiple uphill battles for control in Mississippi have inched closer to victory in recent years.

In the state’s 2019 gubernatorial election, Reeves defeated then-Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, by five percentage points.

Qualification for the gubernatorial election in Mississippi opens on Jan. 3.

Republicans mount challenge to Kentucky’s Democratic governor

In Kentucky, Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear, who has served at the helm of the Bluegrass State since 2019, is seeking re-election among an expanding field of Republican candidates.

Primary elections for both parties are slated for May 16, with a general election on Nov. 7.

Among those who have already announced their intention to unseat Beshear are former Democratic gubernatorial and congressional candidate Geoff Young and nearly 10 Republicans. Prominent Republicans who are seeking the position include Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, state Auditor Mike Harmon and state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

Kelly Craft, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration, is also seeking the position.

Crime dominates Philadelphia’s mayoral race

Crime concerns are also dominating the mayoral race in Philadelphia, another Democratic stronghold.

Mayor Jim Kenney is term-limited, and a crowded field is shaping up amid a surge of gun violence and a shortage of police officers. So far the Democratic primary field includes five former council members and the city controller, all of whom resigned their seats to run, along with at least one state lawmaker.

Every four years since 1951, the city of Philadelphia has elected a Democrat to the mayor’s office. The 2023 election is expected to be no different.

Notable candidates who have declared their candidacy in the race are former city council members Allan Domb, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Helen Gym, Derek Green and Cherelle Parker; former municipal judge James DeLeon; former city controller Rebecca Rhynhart; businessman Jeff Brown; and pastor Warren Bloom Sr.

The primary elections for both political parties in the Philadelphia mayoral election will be held on May 16, with a general election set for Nov. 7.

Virginia legislative elections a test of Gov. Youngkin’s popularity

In Virginia, all 140 seats in the politically divided General Assembly will be on the ballot. Republicans currently hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and Democrats hold a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, whose name has been tossed around as the GOP looks for its next presidential nominee, has pledged to help his party win full control of the legislature, though his plans to further limit abortions in the state could galvanize Democratic voters.

Youngkin’s popularity – due in part to his stance on education – will be put to the test in the legislative elections. In 2021, Youngkin, the first-time candidate who hailed from the party’s business wing, edged out former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to become the first GOP candidate in a dozen years to win a gubernatorial election in the one-time swing state that has trended toward the Democrats over the past decade.

Republicans would need to hold their majority in the House of Delegates and, pending the outcome of a January special election, pick up as many as three seats for an outright Senate majority.

On Jan. 10, voters in Virginia’s 7th District will head to the polls for a special election to fill the state Senate seat formerly held by Republican Jen Kiggans, who defeated Democrat Rep. Elaine Luria on Nov. 8 to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House.

New Jersey legislative elections

In New Jersey, a Democrat-led state where Republicans have been making steady gains in recent years, all 120 seats in the state legislature will be on the ballot, giving the GOP a chance to regain control for the first time in two decades. Democrats currently control 24 of 40 seats in the state Senate and 46 of 80 Assembly seats.

Republicans in the Garden State had significant gains in 2021, picking up six seats in the Assembly and one in the state Senate.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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