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Friday, November 11, 2016

A Summary of the 2016 Governors Races, State Legislative Races, and State-level Death Penalty Referenda

State and local races show some significant net gains by the Republican Party, notwithstanding the occasional Democratic Party pickup. There were 12 governors races. 8 left the incumbent or the incumbent's party in power. These states included: Delaware, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. The Republicans picked up Missouri, a very significant bellweather [spelling corrected!] state, and also Vermont and New Hampshire, illustrating that the Republican Party continues to enjoy some significant support in New England. North Carolina is yet to be decided. If the Democrat emerges the victor, it will be a significant Democratic Party pickup in the South. 

As to state houses, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports:

Three chambers switched from Democratic to Republican control: Kentucky House, Iowa Senate, and Minnesota Senate.

Four chambers switched from Republican to Democratic control: New Mexico House, Nevada Assembly, Nevada Senate, and Washington Senate (albeit, Republicans, however, will have functional control as one Democrat will caucus with the Republicans).

The Connecticut Senate, which had been under Democratic Party control, will be tied. And the NY Senate, which also had been under Democratic Party control, is yet to be decided, as one seat remains contested.

See In total, the Republicans had some net gains, but not dramatic gains. 

In terms of state legislative seats, after the 2014 election the Ds held 3,172 seats, and the Rs held 4,124 seats: an R advantage of 952 seats. We do not yet know if the Rs expanded on their 952 seat lead, or if it contracted. That will be clarified later today, by Monday, or over the course of the next few business days.

In 2016, there were 154 referenda** at the state level. Several dealt with the death penalty. For example, California voters rejected a proposal to abolish the death penalty, and in a separate vote appear to have passed a proposal to speed up the pace of executions, but the results are not yet official. Nebraska voters restored the death penalty, after the legislature had passed a bill to end the procedure. And Oklahoma voters passed an amendment to the state constitution stating that the procedure was not “cruel and unusual punishment.” The latter passed 2-to-1. See


**I usually use Atlantic Archipelago spelling and usage. In Ireland, the plural for referendum is referendums. Perhaps in the future I could write this way, but today, I cannot bring myself to do it. 

Twitter: ( @SethBTillman ) 

My prior post: Seth Barrett Tillman, The Supreme Court Temptation, The New Reform Club (Nov. 9, 2016, 8:59 AM). [Here

1 comment:

dearieme said...

bellwether: the reference is to sheep not rain and sun