By Jim Ellis
Dec. 13, 2016 — On the day that the states are reporting their official results to the Electoral College, it is an appropriate time to analyze some of the more interesting results.
In the presidential contest, six states switched their votes from the Democrats and President Obama (2012) to the Republicans and Donald Trump this year.
Wisconsin went Republican for the first time since 1984; Michigan and Pennsylvania from 1988; while Florida, Iowa and Ohio are back in the Republican column after voting Democratic in the last two consecutive elections.
Now that the Louisiana run-offs are complete, we can begin to analyze the composition of the new House and Senate.
The 115th Congress will again feature one of the least senior memberships in the modern era. When the Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 232 representatives will have served three full terms or less. In the Senate, only 26 members will have completed more than two terms.
There are 352 men in the House and 83 women. Forty-four members are African American with 32 Hispanics and nine Asians. In the Senate, 79 are men with 21 women. Three are African American, accompanying four Hispanics and two Asians.
Though Washington became the electoral punching bag in 2016 and candidates in both parties routinely claimed the political system is “broken”, voters overwhelmingly voted for incumbents. In the Senate, 27 of the 29 incumbents who asked the electorate for another term won re-election. The two who were defeated were both Republicans: Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
The House featured 380 Representatives being returned to office of the 388 who sought re-election. The Senate incumbent win percentage was 93.1 percent; in the House, the re-elect score was 97.9 percent.
Of the eight incumbents who lost their seats, six are Republicans. Two were directly related to the mid-decade redistricting map in Florida. Two more represented seats that continually flip back and forth between the parties and specific candidates.
In New Hampshire, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) again defeated Rep. Frank Guinta (R-Manchester). The two have opposed each other in the past four consecutive elections. Each person has won twice. The 10th District of Illinois tells a similar story. Former Rep. Brad Schneider (D) again unseated Rep. Bob Dold (R-Kenilworth). These two have run in the last three consecutive electoral contests with the Democrat now winning twice.
For the first time in electoral history, every state voted for the same party for both President and US Senate. Additionally, all Senate open seats remained with the defending party. In House open seat category, 42 of 47 incumbent-less campaigns remained with the defending party.
Turning to the current US House, 26 districts voted for President Obama in 2012 and elected a Republican congressman in 2014. This year, five of those districts elected new Democratic House members. Only five CDs voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and elected a Republican congressman in 2014. This year, three of the five chose a Republican.
In 2014, seven House members won their elections with less than 50 percent of the vote. Tracking the group in last month’s vote, two lost their seats (Reps. Brad Ashford (D-NE) and Cresent Hardy (R-NV). The other five: Reps. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Alex Mooney (R-WV), claimed majority support. All won with margins between two and 11 points.