5 Key Election Contests to Watch Tuesday Night
Kentucky's governorship, pot in Ohio, and other major issues at the polls
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2015 2:29 PM CST
Get out and vote.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Everyone's watercooler buzz has been focused on Election 2016 lately, but there's business to be taken care of at the polls Tuesday. Some notable races and ballot items to keep an eye on:

  • The GOP hopes to address the elephant in the room in Kentucky: that there has only been one Republican governor there since the early 1970s, Politico notes. Still, Republicans are hoping nominee Matt Bevin can beat Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway. Bevin—who FiveThirtyEight notes "has made a number of missteps … [and] alienated many members of the Republican establishment"—is losing to the "smooth" Conway in the polls, but not by much.
  • Ohio will be voting on whether to legalize pot for both medical and recreational use at once—the only state to do so, per the Washington Post—with its Issue 3 initiative. Surprisingly, Issue 3 is expected to be voted down by many pot advocates, who don't like that the measure would effectively create a marijuana monopoly (and make guys like Nick Lachey super-rich).

  • The Virginia state Senate is in the hot seat. The Dems want to wrest control from their GOP counterparts, which means they need to net just two seats, per Roll Call. Perhaps the most closely watched race: who will fill the slot of retiring Democratic state Sen. Chuck Colgan, with Dem Jeremy McPike and his GOP opponent, Hal Parrish, both going all out with their ad campaigns, Politico notes.
  • Mississippi's Jim Hood, deemed by Roll Call as the "last Democrat standing" in the state, is up for his fourth term as attorney general: If he loses to Mike Hurst, Republicans would inhabit every statewide elected office. Also making waves there (even more so than the governor's race): a state constitutional amendment that would let people sue Mississippi to up funding for public schools, the AP reports.
  • Houston's Prop 1, supported by the LGBT community, would prevent discrimination in everything from employment and housing to public accommodations, the Houston Press reports. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday asked Houston voters to "Vote Texas values, not @HillaryClinton values. Vote NO on City of Houston Proposition 1. No men in women's bathrooms," which the Houston Chronicle notes was a response to Hillary's previous support for the measure. Hillary Clinton's response Tuesday: "@GregAbbott_TX is right about one thing: equality is one of Hillary's values. Houston—vote #YesOnProp1 today."
(Meanwhile, Airbnb's future in San Francisco depends on a critical proposition vote.)