The Daily Brew: Murphy wins GOP runoff in NC-03 special primary

Today’s Brew highlights the outcome of the GOP primary for the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District + breaks down SCOTUS’ reversal rate during this past term  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, July 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03
  2. Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term
  3. Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03

State Representative Greg Murphy defeated Dr. Joan Perry to win the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. Murphy received 59.7% of the vote to Perry’s 40.3%. Murphy had finished first among 17 candidates in the April 30 Republican primary with 22.5% of the vote. Perry was second in that race with 15.4%. 

Murphy will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in the September 10 special election. That election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10.Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.” President Trump carried the district in the 2016 presidential race, receiving 60.5% of the vote.

Murphy and Perry split support from outside groups and members of Congress. Murphy received the support of Rep. Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America. Earlier this week, Rudy Giuliani recorded robocalls on behalf of Murphy, and Newt Gingrich recorded robocalls on behalf of Perry.

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Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term 

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in our judicial system. That means one role SCOTUS serves is to be the final arbiter, and thereby at times overturn previously decided cases. After each term concludes, we publish the court’s reversal rate. The Supreme Court reversed the ruling by a lower court in 48 of the 74 cases—64.9%—it decided in its October 2018 term that concluded last month. This is the lowest rate since the October 2015 term when the court reversed 63.2% of lower court rulings and is 5 percentage points lower than the court’s overall reversal rate since 2007 of 69.8%.

There are two primary outcomes once the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case. It can either affirm the lower court’s ruling or reverse it. Almost all cases heard by the court originate in a lower court—either one of the 13 appeals circuits, state-level courts, or U.S. district courts.

The court concluded its most recent term last month, but our team is still analyzing the data behind their decisions. Here are three more highlights:

  • Since 2007, the Supreme Court has released opinions in 923 cases. Over that period, it reversed the lower court decision 644 times and affirmed it 261 times.
  • During the term that just ended, the court issued rulings in more cases that originated from the Ninth Circuit—14—than any other lower court. It reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in 12 of them.
  • Over the Supreme Court’s last 12 terms—dating back to 2007—it has decided more cases originating from the Ninth Circuit—181—than from any other lower court. 

We’ve crunched even more numbers about the court’s reversal rate and the number of decisions by circuit dating back to 2007 that I’m sure you’re going to want to explore. Just click the link below. But be warned, you might lose track of time while you’re there.

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Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

As of the end of June, 52.3% of all state legislators were Republicans and 47.0% were Democrats. The remaining seats were vacant or held by members of other political parties.

There are a total of 7,383 state legislative seats in the country. Republicans held 3,862 of those seats and Democrats controlled 3,467. Independent or third-party legislators held 33 seats and 21 seats were vacant.

At the time of the 2018 elections, there were 4,023 Republican state legislators, 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.

The chart below shows the number of state legislative seats controlled by each party as of January of each year:

Party control

There are 99 state legislative chambers, as all but one state—Nebraska—has both an upper (state Senate) and lower (state House) legislative body. Republicans hold a majority of seats in 62 state legislative chambers, and Democrats hold the majority in 37.

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