Ballotpedia analysis – net change in state legislative seats during Trump’s presidency

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Republicans lost 187 net state legislative seats during the Trump administration

Over the course of Donald Trump’s (R) presidency, Republicans lost 187 net state legislative seats. During all presidencies since 1921, the president’s party has lost a net average of 552 state legislative seats. The net loss of 187 Republican state legislative seats during the Trump administration was the smallest loss of seats for the president’s party since Harry Truman’s (D) presidency, which saw a net loss of 138 Democratic seats. 

In 61 of the 99 state legislative chambers, the Democratic Party held more seats following the 2020 general election than it did after the general election in 2016.

Six state legislative chambers in five states flipped from Republican to Democratic control compared to the start of Trump’s presidency. In four states—Colorado, Maine, New York, and Virginia—this resulted in the creation of Democratic trifectas, where Democrats controlled both chambers as well as the governorship. Republicans did not gain control of any chambers by the end of Trump’s presidency that they did not already control at its start. The Alaska House of Representatives was controlled by a bipartisan coalition throughout Trump’s presidency.

The number of state legislative seats that Democrats held increased in 34 states during Trump’s presidency, either by increasing an already-existing majority or narrowing/flipping a Republican majority. The largest shifts in Democrats’ favor came in Connecticut, Virginia, and Georgia. The number of seats that Republicans held increased in 13 states. The largest shifts in Republicans’ favor came in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Louisiana. There were no net shifts in either legislative chamber in Alaska or Nevada. Nebraska, which has a nonpartisan legislature, was excluded from this analysis.

Two presidents—George H.W. Bush (R) and Ronald Reagan (R)—gained state legislative seats over the course of their presidencies. During the past century, the largest Republican losses occurred under the Herbert Hoover (R) administration with a net loss of 1,662 Republican seats from 1929 to 1933. The largest Democratic losses occurred during Barack Obama’s (D) administration with a net loss of 948 Democratic seats from 2009 to 2017.

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Ballotpedia’s federal judicial vacancy count: 75 open federal judgeships

Earlier this month, we released our monthly federal judicial vacancy count, which found that as of May 1, there were 75 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.6%. Seven of those vacancies were on the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 66 were on U.S. District Courts, and two were on the U.S. Court of International Trade.

So far, President Joe Biden (D)  has nominated 13 individuals to the federal circuit and district courts. None of the nominees have been confirmed. Five of the nominees are awaiting committee hearings. The other eight are awaiting a committee vote.

In comparison with the previous administration, President Donald Trump (R) made his first Article III judicial nomination on January 31, 2017, when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump’s first successful appointment–where the nominee was confirmed–occurred on April 7, 2017, when the Senate confirmed Gorsuch. Outside of the Supreme Court, Trump’s first successful appointment was on May 25, 2017, when Amul Thapar was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Since 1901, the earliest successful Article III appointment was made by President Richard Nixon (R). Nixon appointed a federal district judge by March 1 of his first year in office. Three presidents–Theodore Roosevelt (R), Calvin Coolidge (R), and Gerald Ford (R)–made the fewest with no judicial appointments during their first year in office.

Since Ronald Reagan (R), the average number of federal judges appointed in the president’s first year is 24.

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Cincinnati mayoral election goes to runoff; voters reject one, approve two charter amendments on May 4

The first five days of May have been a busy time of local elections. We spent the beginning part of this week looking at Saturday’s elections – now, let’s review what happened on Tuesday in Cincinnati, the country’s 64th-largest city. 

Cincinnati held municipal elections on May 4, with voters casting ballots in the city’s nonpartisan mayoral primary and deciding three charter amendments. 

Mayor

Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval and councilman and former mayor David Mann were the top-two finishers among six candidates and will meet in the general election on Nov. 2. Pureval received 39.1% of the vote and Mann received 29.1%. 

Although the elections for and position of the mayor are officially nonpartisan, the candidates running were affiliated with political parties. Both Pureval and Mann are Democrats. The last Republican to serve as mayor was Willis Gradison, who left office in 1971. Mayor John Cranley—who was first elected mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2017—was not able to run for re-election in 2021 due to term limits.

In addition to the mayoral election on Nov. 2, Cincinnati voters will also elect all nine members of the city council. All council members are selected at large, and each voter can select up to nine candidates, with the top nine finishers elected to council. 

Charter Amendments

Cincinnati voters also decided three charter amendments, approving two of them and rejecting one. The two approved amendments:

  • Issue 1 requires the city solicitor to appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute an action to remove a member of council where a member of the council has been indicted for a felony or a criminal complaint has been filed against a member for charges relating to official conduct. It passed 77% to 23%.
  • Issue 2 provides new mechanisms for removing council members indicted for crimes related to their duties from office, in addition to other ethics-related amendments. Among other provisions, it provides for a pre-conviction suspension of council members indicted for state or federal felonies related to the council member’s duties and the removal of council members upon conviction of or guilty plea. It passed 77% to 23%.

Some background – three Cincinnati city council members were arrested on felony corruption charges in 2020. The charges stemmed from situations where the members allegedly took bribes from developers for city business. A fourth council member was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with records in April 2021. 

  • Voters defeated Issue 3, which would have required a permanent $50 million annual contribution of city funds to a Cincinnati Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It would have created a board of private citizens to manage the fund and provided guidelines for what projects could be financed. It was defeated, 73% to 27%.



About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.