« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

State Legislative Elections

While everyone pays attention to the federal races particularly the Senate, the state races are going relatively unnoticed by political analysts and everyone else practically even though they hold much influence of the direction of the country policy and political wise. Louis Jacobson who’s a Politifact writer recently posted his first analysis of all the races for this fall and projects the GOP to gain several state chambers. Here’s an excerpt from the column.

In the battle for control of the nation’s state legislatures, there are fewer competitive chambers this year than at any time since at least 2002. Still, the Democrats have more chambers at risk this cycle — and fewer options for flipping chambers held by the GOP.

The current partisan breakdown in state legislatures is 58 Republican-held chambers and 40 Democratic-held chambers. That’s a slightly smaller margin than the 61 chambers the GOP controlled in 2012. Historically, though, it’s a high GOP total. As recently as the run-up to the 2010 election, the Democrats held a 62 to 36 advantage in chambers.

Today, the GOP controls both chambers in 27 states, while the Democrats control both chambers in 19; three states have one chamber controlled by each party. (Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is nonpartisan.)

At this point in the campaign cycle, we find 17 chambers that are vulnerable to a change in control in November. That’s far fewer chambers in play at this point in the cycle than in 2012, when there were 24 in play. It’s also fewer than the 27 in play at this point in the most recent midterm election, 2010. But keep in mind that it’s still early; typically, a handful of additional chambers come into play between July and October.

I pretty much agree with his analysis of the races, though I’d make some changes to the analysis. Here’s my own observation of the races.

Alabama
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R

Democrats held solid control for over a century but 2010 ended that reign when the GOP swept in with the national wave and are likely to remain in power for years to come.

Alaska
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R
The State Senate up until the last election was controlled by an odd coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans but the moderates were swept out in the primaries and the GOP captured solid control of the legislature. All the drama will be in the U.S. Senate race where Mark Begich is in a tough reelection race either against Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell or former Attorney General Dan Sullivan. Regardless the legislature is in solid GOP hands.

Arizona
Senate: Likely R
House: Likely R

The GOP has held solid control of the legislature for years and will continue to hold solid grip despite increasingly competitive elections thanks to minority voters and a redistricting map that doesn’t favor either party.

Arkansas
Senate: Safe R
House: Likely R
Historically Democrat at the local and federal levels, Arkansas has been trending ever so closer to the GOP in the past two election cycles. In 2010, they captured a U.S. Senate seat (and have a good chance at the other one this November) and hold all the House delegation seats. They also hold good chance of a united government with the Governor’s Mansion in competition. The State Senate is guaranteed safe, though the House is much closely divided so there’s bound to be some competition. Ultimately though the GOP should remain in solid control.

California
Senate: Safe D
Assembly: Safe D
Dems are as safe as they can get in controlling the legislature in California as well as they are in the Governor’s Mansion. While there’s that, I wouldn’t count on them recapturing a two-thirds majority that’s needed to pass tax increases (which they lost when several State Senators were forced to resign due to corruption).

Colorado
Senate: Pure Tossup
House: Leans D/Tossup
In contrast to California, Colorado is a hotbed for competitive elections this year with Senator Mark Udall in high time danger due to Obamacare and Gov. John Hickenlooper with gun control. The State Senate is high play thanks to two recall elections of two State Senators key in passing gun control. There would’ve been third recall were if the Senator Evie Hudak hadn’t resigned realizing she was gonna be toast. Still the State Senate is huge play and so is the State House (though slightly safer for the Dems).

Connecticut
Senate: Safe D
House: Safe D
Dems should be standing strong in the legislature despite recent gains from the GOP in the last couple of cycles. Most of the attention is on the competitive Governor’s race where Dan ‘tax increasing’ Malloy is in huge danger of losing bid for a 2nd term to his GOP opponent from last time Tom Foley. Regardless what way the race goes, the legislature is safely in Democrat hands (though probably won’t get the two-thirds majority they need to override a Republican Governor).

Delaware
Senate: Safe D
House: Safe D
Honestly there’s nothing really of interest to talk about here.

Florida
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R
Very much like Connecticut, the Governor’s race has got the attention while the legislature is perfectly safe (only in reverse now).

Georgia
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R
The GOP managed to capture a two-thirds majority in the State Senate in 2012 while falling short barely of doing so in the House. The GOP is favored to pick up several more seats so they could achieve a full supermajority in the legislature.

Hawaii
Senate: Safe D
House: Safe D

Idaho
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R

Illinois
Senate: Safe D
House: Safe D
You ask me, the Governor’s race is more interesting to watch right now.

Indiana
Senate: Safe R
House: Safe R

Iowa
Senate: Pure Tossup

House: Leans/Likely R
Campaign season is on full blown with an open U.S. Senate being contested and Joni Ernst appears to be a very promising candidate to take on Alan Grayson’s long lost twin. Also going on is race for control of the legislature. The State House is favored to remain in GOP hands and the State Senate is a full blown tossup. Gov. Terry Branstad is favored to win a sixth non-consecutive term so his popularity could influence control of the Senate.

Kansas
Senate: No Race

House: Safe R
The Gubernatorial election between incumbent Sam Brownback and Senate Democrat Leader Paul Davis is very competitive, but nothing really to note about the legislature aside from the fact that the GOP is all but guaranteed to maintain control.

Kentucky
Senate: Safe R

House: Pure Tossup
Kentucky is one of the few states southern states left where it’s political influence is almost polar opposite on federal and state/local levels. The GOP holds 7 out of 8 congressional delegation seats while Dems hold almost all statewide offices and control the State House. The latter however could easily change hands this year depending how the competitive Senate race between McConnell and Grimes effects turnout. Regardless, Democrats days are numbered in KY considering Obama only won 4 of the state’s counties in the 2012 race. The Senate is perfectly safe in Republican control.

Maine
Senate: Leans D

House: Likely D
While the state has a strong Democratic lean, it briefly put the GOP in charge of the legislature back in 2010 wave along with Paul LePage in the Governor’s Mansion who has a very tough reelection ahead. The House is likely to remain in Democratic hands since they enjoy a strong majority, but the Senate is much more narrowly divided and could flip back again to the Republicans. It remains to be seen what happens since most of the focus is on the gubernatorial race.

Maryland
Senate: Safe D

House: Safe D
Nothing really to note here aside from Anthony ‘incompetent’ Brown who’s running for Governor.

Massachusetts
Senate: Safe D

House: Safe D

Michigan
Senate: Safe R

House: Likely R
Michigan is almost the polar opposite case where Dems pretty dominate in federal elections and the GOP tends to do well in lower offices such as the Governorship and the legislature. Though that could change this year with a competitive open Senate race well under way and a tough reelection for Rick Snyder to the Governor’s Mansion. The legislature more than likely though will remain in Republican control.

Minnesota
Senate: No Race

House: Leans D/Tossup
In 2010, Republicans won control of the state legislature for the first time in 40 years. The two years Republicans were in control with a Democratic Governor, it was much contention and a government shutdown too. Democrats won back again in 2012. Since then under a Democratic Governor, they’ve passed legalization of same-sex marriage, child daycare unionization (yes you read right) and huge tax increases. While Minnesota typically leans Democrat, the GOP may be able to pull off winning back the State House like they did in 2010. For now it’s too early to tell exactly what will happen.

Missouri
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Missouri is solidly red on the federal level, but it’s been a constantly split the past six or so years with having a Democrat Governor and a solidly Republican legislature. Big issue going on there is whether or not they should pass a right-to-work law via ballot. The Legislature is safe though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a competitive Governor’s race in 2016.

Montana
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Most of the focus going on is at the Senate race between Democrat appointed-incumbent John Walsh and At-Large Republican Representative Steve Daines who’s favored to win. The legislature is even safer to remain GOP.

Nevada
Senate: Pure Tossup

Assembly: Likely D
The Assembly is likely to remain Democrat since it’s just slightly short of a two-thirds majority, but the State Senate is all open for competition. Governor John Sandoval is incredibly popular so he could help the GOP down ballot to take the Senate. Also some advice to Nevada voters; give Sleazy Harry the sack in 2016!

New Hampshire
Senate: Leans R

House: Leans R
Governor Maggie Hassan is safe to win another 2-year term, but the GOP is in slight favor to win back the legislature. They already control the State Senate and did control the State House from ’10-12 when they were swept out by Obama’s name on the ballot. The maps passed during redistricting favor them so they’re favored to win back full control.

New Mexico
Senate: No Race

House: Pure Tossup
Democrats have held control of the legislature for a solid sixty years. Though that could change since the GOP has slowly nibbled away at their majority particularly in the State House. The Senate isn’t up but they could win control of the lower chamber with the help of Susanna Martinez’s popularity with voters.

New York
Senate: Pure Tossup

Assembly: Safe D
The State Assembly is as safe as the State Senate is competitive. Interestingly enough while Dems technically hold a majority, it’s operate under a quasi coalition of Republicans and a group of Democrats. What happens in November is beyond me.

North Carolina
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
The GOP is perfectly safe to remain in control thanks to maps they drew and passed during the redistricting period without having to deal with a Democrat Governor since the Governor doesn’t take part in the process. The U.S. Senate race between House Speaker Thom Tillis and incumbent Kay Hagan will be more interesting to watch.

North Dakota
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
It’s as red as you can get here.

Ohio
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Ohio may swing in federal elections, but statewide it’s more favorable to the GOP thanks in part to maps drawn during redistricting.

Oklahoma
Senate: Safe

House: Safe R
My home state is the reddest state in the nation and is assured to remain so.

Oregon
Senate: Leans D/Tossup

House: Leans D
Oregon has been going increasingly blue in recent election cycles, but thanks to the failure of the state healthcare exchange, that’s changed a bit. The U.S. Senate race with Jeff Merkley is more competitive (but how much has yet to be seen) and so are state races.

Pennsylvania
Senate: Likely R

House: Likely R
Tom Corbett is having a rocky ride in seeking a 2nd term and looks like he could lose badly. The legislature also is somewhat competitive but is more solidly Republican.

Rhode Island
Senate: Safe D

House: Safe D
Dems are as in danger of losing here as Republicans are in Oklahoma. Nothing more to be said.

South Carolina
Senate: No Race

House: Safe R
Aside from some skirmish between E-GOP and Tea Party factions, there’s no real competition (not counting the Governor’s race).

South Dakota
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Solidly Republican just like it’s northern neighbor.

Tennessee
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Nothing really to say aside from Republicans are perfectly solid.

Texas
Senate: Safe

House: Safe R
With Wendy *Booming* Davis as the Democrat nominee for Governor, the legislature is even safer than before and will be even further to the right with the next Lt. Governor likely being conservative State Senator Dan Patrick who’ll be in charge of the State Senate. State Assembly is also safe.

Utah
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R
Safe as can be.

Vermont
Senate: Safe D

House: Safe D
The People’s Republic of Vermont is perfectly safe to remain in Democrat control both in the legislature and the Governor’s Mansion.

Washington
Senate: Leans R

House: Likely D
The State House will probably remain Democrat, but the State Senate (like in New York) is under a similar bi-party coalition. The GOP could even win an outright majority.

West Virginia
Senate: Likely D

House: Pure Tossup/Leans R
The State Senate has a large enough Democrat majority to survive this cycle (though I don’t think they will past 2016), but the State House though is all for the taking especially looking the Senate race with Shelley Moore-Capito being the favorite to win.

Wisconsin
Senate: Leans R

Assembly: Safe R
The Assembly has a safe GOP majority though the State Senate is much narrower (though I’d expect it to remain GOP as well). Scott Walker is the favorite to win a full 2nd term since he was able to win a recall that had turnout equivalent to that of a presidential election.

Wyoming
Senate: Safe R

House: Safe R

Ultimately the total count is 16 chambers that are competitive. The GOP has a good chance of netting 5-10 with 7 or 8 being the most likely.

P.S. Follow me on twitter @starwarsfan107.

Get Alerts