Trifecta vulnerability in 2021

Welcome to the Monday, July 19, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Assessing the vulnerability of the Democratic trifectas in New Jersey and Virginia
  2. Flashback: Trump announced Pence as VP five years ago
  3. Don’t miss our July 21 briefing on donor disclosure and privacy

Assessing the vulnerability of the Democratic trifectas in New Jersey and Virginia

We recently released trifecta vulnerability data about New Jersey and Virginia—two states where gubernatorial and state legislative elections are taking place this year. Trifecta status is at stake in both states. As a reminder, a trifecta is where one political party holds the governorship, a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house in a state’s government.

Each year, we release an analysis of trifecta vulnerability. Ballotpedia calculates trifecta vulnerability by assessing each trifecta component’s chance of changing control. Gubernatorial races are rated using race ratings from the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections. Legislative races are assessed based on the absolute number of seats and the proportion of seats that would need to be flipped. Both chambers in a state’s legislature are evaluated individually.

In 2020, Republicans gained trifectas in Montana and New Hampshire. Both had divided government at the time of the election. Democrats neither gained nor lost any trifectas in 2020.

Now, let’s look at the data on New Jersey and Virginia.

New Jersey has been a Democratic trifecta since Gov. Phil Murphy (D) assumed office in 2018. This year has scheduled elections for governor, all 40 state Senate seats, and all 80 state Assembly seats. Election forecasters rate the governor’s race as Solid Democratic. Republicans need to either win the gubernatorial election, flip six out of 40 state Senate seats (15%), or flip 13 out of 80 state Assembly seats (16.25%) in order to break the Democratic trifecta. Ballotpedia assesses New Jersey’s Democratic trifecta as not vulnerable.

Virginia has been a Democratic trifecta since the start of the 2020 legislative session. It has scheduled elections for governor and all 100 state House seats in 2021. Election forecasters rate the gubernatorial election as Leans Democratic. Republicans need to either win the gubernatorial election or flip six of the 100 state House seats (6%) in order to break the Democratic trifecta. Ballotpedia has assessed Virginia’s Democratic trifecta as moderately vulnerable.

There are currently 38 trifectas: 23 Republican trifectas and 15 Democratic trifectas. The remaining 12 states have a divided government where neither party has a trifecta. Between 2010 and 2020, 72 state government trifectas were broken or gained.

To learn more about this year’s trifecta vulnerability, or about how Ballotpedia calculates trifecta vulnerability, click the link below.

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Flashback: Trump announced Pence as VP five years ago

On July 16, 2016, Donald Trump held a press conference to formally introduce Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) as his running mate. “Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was my first choice. I’ve admired the work he’s done, especially in the state of Indiana. I admire the fact that he fights for the people and he fights for you,” Trump said.

Also five years ago this week: Both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions were held. 

For a snapshot of the 2016 presidential election landscape during that time, keep reading below.

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Don’t miss our July 21 briefing on donor disclosure and privacy

Take a look at 2021’s legislative activity surrounding donor disclosure and privacy policy with the team behind Ballotpedia’s Disclosure Digest. In this free briefing, we will catch you up on this year’s statutory trends and review important court rulings.

Under federal law, nonprofits are generally only required to disclose to the public information about donors who contribute to fund campaign expenditures. State laws, however, may require more disclosure. Some say expanded donor disclosure provisions minimize the potential for fraud and establish public accountability. Meanwhile, others say that disclosing information about donors violates privacy rights and can inhibit charitable activity.

Ballotpedia is tracking 39 bills related to donor disclosure or privacy throughout the United States: 11 sponsored by Republicans, 17 by Democrats, and the rest by committees or bipartisan groups. Six of these 39 had been enacted into law.

Following a discussion of the legislative trends, our team will review the impacts of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta.

The webinar will be on Wednesday, July 21, at 11:00 a.m. Central Time. Click here or register at the link below to secure your spot. All those who register will get a copy of the briefing following the live call.

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

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