Gun violence and proposed gun restrictions, however, could have played a role, Green said. After a shooter killed 13 people, including himself, in Virginia Beach in May, Democrats proposed a slew of gun regulations but Republican leaders in the legislature ended a special session on gun laws after less than two hours.
Before the special session, the state's Catholic bishops had called for "reasonable safety regulations for firearms and proper screening for those seeking to acquire a firearm."
Nov. 18 was set as the date for the special session on gun laws to readjourn, just less than two weeks after the election. "It would not surprise me if Democrats took the election as a referendum on the issue of gun violence," Green said.
A letter by Virginia's Catholic bishops-Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond-was also circulated before the elections in September, and outlined key issues for Catholic voters to consider, including abortion, assisted suicide, religious freedom, immigration, and gun restrictions.
While "[m]any issues are important," the bishops wrote, "[n]ot all issues have equal moral weight," as "[s]ome actions, such as abortion and euthanasia, are 'intrinsically evil'" and "[p]rotecting life is paramount."
In a voter education resource, the conference warned of Tran's proposed abortion bill, as well as legislation to require abortion coverage in private health plans and to allow for lawsuits against religious employers who abide by their religious mission.
The conference also praised some anticipated 2020 legislation, such as proposed gun restrictions, and bills to assist immigrants with transportation and education and to fight predatory lending.
Although Democrats will now control the governor's mansion and both chambers of the state legislature, simple party control does not guarantee the passage of legislation such as abortion bills, Green said. Democrats have a narrow majority in the state senate, and some of the senators are "notoriously independent-minded," Green said.
Also on Tuesday Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) was ousted after one term by Democratic candidate Andy Beshear who enjoyed the support of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. Bevin lost by a razor-thin margin of 49.2% to 48.9%, and as of Wednesday morning, Beshear reportedly had declared victory while Bevin had not yet conceded the race.
During his time in office, Bevin signed legislation requiring ultrasound screenings for women seeking abortions and bills banning abortions after 19 weeks, after a baby's heartbeat is detected, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and banning any abortions based on the race, gender, or disability diagnosis of the unborn child. On EWTN Pro-Life Weekly he called for other state governors to "be bold" on pro-life legislation.
However, Bevin's overall "brash" and "blunt" governing style did not win over voters, Green told CNA. Bevin challenged teachers' unions and public universities while in office, and instituted work requirements for Medicaid recipients, possibly triggering his opponents to unite and mobilize against him.
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In Mississippi, Republicans held onto the offices of governor and attorney general but the gubernatorial race was much closer than expected in a deep red state, Green said. This election showed that the Democratic voter base is highly-motivated, especially in traditionally Republican states, and is another "canary in the coal mine" for Republicans entering 2020.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund praised the victory of Lynn Fitch in the attorney general race against Jennifer Collins who had the support of the National Abortion Rights Action League.
"Lynn is a staunch defender of life who worked hard to create a pro-life Republican platform as a member of the 2016 Republican National Convention platform committee. As Attorney General, Lynn will be a prolife, pro-woman leader and work to uphold laws protecting unborn children and their mothers in the Magnolia State," Marilyn Musgrave, SBA List vice president of government affairs, said.