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Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Medicaid expansion was a bright spot for Democrats on an otherwise mixed election night as three states passed ballot initiatives to adopt the Affordable Care Act's expansion of the program.

By the numbers: Idaho voters approved Medicaid expansion with more than 61% of the vote. Nebraska passed it with 53%. Utah approved it with 54%.

Democrats also won hard-fought gubernatorial races in Kansas and Wisconsin, putting expansion at least on the table in those 2 states — Kansas especially.

  • Kansas' state legislature approved Medicaid expansion in 2017, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback. Extending the program was a big part of Gov.-elect Laura Kelly's campaign.
  • Tony Evers, who defeated Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also campaigned on a platform that included Medicaid expansion.

The other side: Democrats lost some enticing races with potentially big Medicaid stakes — namely, the Florida governor spot.

  • A ballot measure to continue the Medicaid expansion in Montana is also losing, 55% to 45% as of 5:30 this morning, though results in the state aren't final yet.

The bottom line: Getting all 3 ballot initiatives passed is nevertheless a big win for expansion advocates, and could end up covering more than 150,000 people, all together.

And don't forget about Maine. Democrat Janet Mills will take over for outgoing Gov. Paul LePage (who, in the most on-brand announcement I've ever seen, already announced he's moving to Florida).

  • Mills will likely follow through on Maine's Medicaid expansion, which voters approved last year but which LePage fought tooth and nail.

P.S. ... California voters rejected a ballot initiative to cap dialysis firms' profits, 62% to 38%, vindicating the record-breaking sums that dialysis firms spent to defeat it.

Go deeper

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight — hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts.

The big picture: Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

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