A state government triplex occurs when a state’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same political party. In states where these officers are not all from the same party, differing political views can bring them into direct conflict with one another.
Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are holding elections in 2019 for all three triplex offices—governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Currently, none of these three states has a triplex.
In Kentucky, Democrats hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Republican Matt Bevin (R) is governor. Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) is running against Bevin in the gubernatorial election, leaving his seat open, while Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is term-limited. Bevin’s election as governor in 2015 broke a Democratic triplex which had existed since 2011.
In Louisiana, Republicans hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Democrat John Bel Edwards (D) is the governor. Edwards, Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) are all running for re-election this year. Edwards’ election as governor broke a Republican triplex which had been in place since 2011.
In Mississippi, Republicans hold the governorship and secretary of state’s office while Democrat Jim Hood (D) is attorney general. All three seats are open. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, while Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is running for lieutenant governor and Hood is running for governor. No party has held a triplex in Mississippi since Haley Barbour (R) was elected governor in 2003, breaking a Democratic triplex which had existed since the 1999 elections.
The last time these three states held elections where none of them had a triplex was in 2007. No triplexes formed as a result of elections that year.
Currently, there are 18 states with a Republican triplex, 17 states with a Democratic triplex, and 15 states that are under divided control. Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans had 22 triplexes to Democrats’ 12. Democratic triplexes were formed in four states—Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—while Republican triplexes were broken in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and North Dakota.