Category Archives: States

Gainers and Losers in 2017

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 3, 2018 — The Census Bureau just released their year-end population estimates and we again see a familiar pattern with regard to populace ebbs and flows. People are continuing to relocate south and west, while the Midwest and northeast fail to keep pace.

Eight states in the Great Lakes, northeast, and Midwest are again projected to see their congressional representation reduced, while the south, Pacific Northwest, and Rocky Mountain sectors will likely elect additional House members.

Idaho in Nation's Fastest-Growing State[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

As always, there are quirks within the population numbers. While Idaho was the fastest growing place with a 2.2 percent increase in total population during this calendar year, the Gem State will again be nowhere close to gaining a third seat for its congressional delegation. Nevada, which added a fourth district in the 2010 reapportionment, is the second-fastest growing state with a 2.0 percent increase, but it doesn’t appear the trends will be sufficient for them to gain a fifth seat in the 2020 distribution. It is very difficult for the small states to gain or lose districts, as the Idaho and Nevada numbers demonstrate.

Though Idaho had the fastest growth rate, Texas saw the greatest raw number resident increase. From the beginning of 2017, the Lone Star State population grew by just under 400,000 people. Florida was second with more than 327,000 new individuals now living there, while California saw their populace grow by more than 240,000 people. Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona all had increases between 125,000 and 107,000 people, respectively.

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Senate Re-Set

By Jim Ellis

July 8, 2016 — Returning from this week’s 4th of July break and preparing for the late season primaries, now is a good time to review the 2016 Senate picture:

Nominees

Alabama: Safe R
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) vs. Ron Crumpton (D) – non-competitive

Arkansas: Likely R
Sen. John Boozman (R) vs. Connor Eldridge (D) – moderately competitive

California: Open Seat (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D; retiring) Safe D
AG Kamala Harris (D) vs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) – competitive

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NC Senate Race Suddenly Tightens; A VA AG 164-Vote Winner

A new North Carolina Public Policy Polling survey (Nov. 8-11; 701 registered North Carolina voters) shows that, despite still being viewed as generally weak and for months viewed as a 2014 Republican candidate recruiting disappointment, the current challengers are pulling into a virtual tie with first-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D).

According to the results, Sen. Hagan actually trails physician Greg Brannon, heavily backed by Tea Party supporters, 43-44 percent. She leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis, the national Republican political committees’ favored candidate, by only 42-40 percent, and scores just a 43-41 percent edge over senior Baptist minister Mark Harris. Against virtually unknown nurse and Army veteran Heather Grant, the senator’s advantage is a mere 43-40 percent.

The new data provides evidence that Sen. Hagan’s political position weakening. In PPP’s October 4-6 poll (746 registered North Carolina voters), the incumbent held a 47-40 percent lead over Speaker Tillis, and similar spreads over Brannon (46-40  Continue reading >

Wisconsin Judicial Race in Official Recount

Normally a state Supreme Court judicial race doesn’t have much national significance, but everything coming from Wisconsin these days does. Assistant Attorney General JoAnn Kloppenburg, yesterday, officially requested a taxpayer financed statewide recount of her election defeat to incumbent Justice David Prosser. The official difference between the two candidates is 7,316 votes. The margin was barely within the 0.05% difference that can trigger an official recount. Any amount over this percentage can be tallied again, but the requesting candidate must finance the action.

This particular race was characterized as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s position opposite the public employee unions in a fight that, for a time, attracted almost non-stop national news media attention. Both the unions and conservative organizations invested big dollars, activated large numbers of people, and expended immense effort into winning the April 5th election for their respective candidate. The winner would tip the conservative/liberal balance on the seven-member court one way or the other; hence, the high political stakes. The new law that now curtails public employee union organizing privileges will eventually come before the high court to finally decide, thus heightening the resolve for both sides in this election.

Most of the electoral controversy comes from Waukesha County, located due west of Milwaukee, where one town of more than 14,000 voters was not included in the original count. On election night, it appeared that Kloppenburg had won the election by a scant 204 votes, and declared victory. It wasn’t until the next day that the Waukesha error was discovered, thus igniting the dispute. Though the election is close, finding 7,400 illegal or missed votes is a very high number. Thus, Prosser’s victory will likely stand and the outcome should be viewed as a huge victory for Walker and his allies.
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Wisconsin Supreme Court: Prosser Now Leads, No End In Sight

More craziness is coming from the Badger State of Wisconsin. The state Supreme Court election held Tuesday, which will likely decide the constitutionality of Gov. Scott Walker’s new public collective bargaining law, has taken a crazy turn. Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg, the state’s assistant attorney general, declared victory by just 204 votes of almost 1.8 million ballots cast. Today, however, a much different story is unfolding. Now the official count has incumbent Justice David Prosser ahead by 40 votes statewide, as the tabulations in Winnebago County were apparently mis-reported by the Associated Press.

Judges in Wisconsin run in non-partisan elections, but it is clear that Prosser is part of the state Supreme Court’s 4-3 conservative majority and Kloppenburg would join the liberal wing to give them the advantage.

Another county clerk also is reporting further discrepancies as the canvass of votes continues. It appears that Prosser will add a large number of votes from Waukesha County. Kloppenburg is getting a boost from some rural counties. The big story, however, may be not counting an entire locality. The town of Brookfield in Waukesha County, was apparently missed altogether. Thus, the Waukesha County under-count could exceed 14,000, no small number especially when dealing with such minuscule differences between the two candidates. If the canvass verifies this mistake, estimates predict that Prosser’s lead will grow to about 7,000 votes.

It is clear that the final result here won’t be determined for weeks, as litigation is sure to follow from the candidate who ends up a few votes short in the final certified tally. The election was cast as a battle between the public employee unions and Gov. Walker’s support groups. The fact that this battle was fought to a virtual draw, with a turnout almost double that of their normal odd-year election (and two-thirds of the total number of those casting ballots in the 2010 general election) must be viewed as a victory for Walker. The unions are energized, have superior organizational ability and resources, and should have finished in the low 50s for this election, particularly in a union-friendly state such as Wisconsin.
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For further detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please contact me at PRIsm@performanceandresults.com.

A Wisconsin Majority: 50.007 Percent to 49.993 Percent

Normally, a spring election that features only a state Supreme Court justice running for re-election is not a major political story, but everything emanating from Wisconsin these days is bigger than life.

Such is the story of Supreme Court Justice David Prosser who, in running for a second 10-year term, appears to have lost by just 204 votes of more than 1.48 million ballots cast. Because Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial new budget law that severely restricts public employee collective bargaining will likely go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court to test its constitutionality, this race became highly significant.

The non-partisan Supreme Court is perceived to have a 4-3 conservative bent and Prosser is part of the majority. Therefore, the campaign posed a test for both union and conservative activists who took to the streets in order to flex their respective political muscle. The results suggest that the two sides fought to a draw. At this writing, union-backed Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has declared victory, but absentee ballots remain to be tabulated and we can expect a lengthy recount process whatever the actual final result.

The voter turnout was extremely high, thus affirming the polarized state of Wisconsin politics. In the 2010 general election, just over 2.1 million people voted. In the normally sleepy April election held yesterday, more than 68 percent of those voting last November returned. In the 2009 Supreme Court election, less than 800,000 people participated, proving the motivating effect of this public employee union issue upon the electorate.
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For further detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please contact me at PRIsm@performanceandresults.com.

Our State-by-State Scorecard

The following is a list as to how the state congressional delegations will divide based upon party preferences and their individual structures for redistricting. The red states highlight the places where Republicans have a majority in the congressional delegation; the blue where Democrats control:

  • Alabama: 6 Rs – 1D – GOP in total control of redistricting
  • Alaska: 1R; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Arizona: 5Rs – 3Ds; Independent commission; state will gain one seat
  • Arkansas: 3Rs – 1D; Dems in total control
  • California: 33Ds – 19Rs – 1 undecided; new commission for redistricting
  • Colorado: 4Rs – 3Ds; split control with Rs taking state House by one vote
  • Connecticut: 5Ds; Dems in total control
  • Delaware: 1D; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Florida: 19Rs – 6Ds; Rs in control, but new ballot initiative places severe restrictions on drawing redistricting maps; state will one or two seats
  • Georgia: 8Rs – 5Ds – Rs in total control; state will gain one seat
  • Hawaii: 2Ds – Dems in total control
  • Idaho: 2Rs – Independent commission
  • Illinois: 10Rs – 8Ds – 1 undecided; Dems in total control; state loses one seat
  • Indiana: 6Rs – 3Ds – Rs in total control
  • Iowa: 3Ds – 2Rs – Split control; state loses one seat
  • Kansas: 4Rs – Rs in total control
  • Kentucky: 4Rs – 2Ds – Split control
  • Louisiana: 6Rs – 1D – Split control; state loses one seat
  • Maine: 2Ds; GOP in total control
  • Maryland: 6Ds – 2Rs; Dems in total control
  • Massachusetts: 10Ds; Dems in total control; state loses one seat
  • Michigan: 9Rs – 6Ds: GOP in total control; state loses one seat
  • Minnesota: 4Ds – 4Rs; Split control; state could possibly lose one seat
  • Mississippi: 3Rs – 1D; Split control
  • Missouri: 6Rs – 3Ds; Split control; state could possibly lose one seat
  • Montana: 1R; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Nebraska: 3Rs; GOP in virtual control
  • Nevada: 2Rs – 1D; Split control; state will gain one seat
  • New Hampshire: 2Rs; Split control
  • New Jersey: 7Ds – 6Rs; Independent commission; loses one seat
  • New Mexico: 2Ds – 1R; Split control
  • New York: 20Ds – 7Rs – 2 undecided; Split control; state will lose one or two seats
  • North Carolina: 7Ds – 6Rs; GOP controls; Gov has no veto over redistricting
  • North Dakota: 1R; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Ohio: 13Rs – 5Ds; GOP in total control; state will lose two seats
  • Oklahoma: 4Rs – 1D; GOP in total control
  • Oregon: 4Ds – 1R; Split control; could gain one seat
  • Pennsylvania: 12Rs – 7Ds; GOP in total control; state will lose one seat
  • Rhode Island: 2Ds; Dems in total control
  • South Carolina: 5Rs – 1D; GOP in total control; state gains one seat
  • South Dakota: 1R; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Tennessee: 7Rs – 2Ds; GOP in total control
  • Texas: 23Rs – 9Ds; GOP in total control; could gain as many as four seats
  • Utah: 2Rs – 1D; GOP in total control; state gains one seat
  • Vermont: 1D; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor
  • Virginia: 8Rs – 3Ds; split control
  • Washington: 5D – 4R; Independent commission
  • West Virginia: 2Rs – 1D; Dems in total control
  • Wisconsin: 5Rs – 3Ds; GOP in total control
  • Wyoming: 1R; at-large; congressional redistricting not a factor

Notes: Republicans have the majority in 33 states; Democrats 16; with one split delegation (MN).

Because of their off-year calendar for legislative elections, New Jersey and Virginia will be the first two states to begin redistricting, and will do so shortly after the new year.

California is listed as having only one outstanding congressional race because Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA-11) has now pulled ahead of Republican attorney David Harmer by more than 2,200 votes and trends suggest that the incumbent will retain this seat.