The state legislative seats that flipped on Nov. 2

Welcome to the Monday, November 15, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. The state legislative seats that changed parties on Nov. 2
  2. Medicaid expansion initiative in South Dakota
  3. Clallam County, Wa., election results
  4. Redistricting update

Eleven state legislative seats changed party hands on Nov. 2

On Nov. 2, control of at least 11 state legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey flipped from one political party to another. Ten of those seats flipped from Democratic to Republican control and the other flipped from Republican to Democratic control. There are four outstanding races still to be called, so these numbers could change. 

The 11 seats flipped out of the 220 seats up for election means that 5.0% of the state legislative seats up for election on Nov. 2 changed party control. The net change was +9 for Republicans and -9 for Democrats. In 2019, 33 of 538 seats (6%) changed party hands. The net change that year was +6 for Republicans, -2 for Democrats, and -4 for Independent or third parties.

Let’s take a look at the state that saw the most legislative seats change party hands on Nov. 2—Virginia

Republicans won at least five Virginia House of Delegates seats previously held by Democrats, with two races still uncalled. Republican candidates won the Democratic-held seats in Districts 12, 28, 63, 75, and 83 to break the Democratic majority in the chamber. Democrats had picked up two of those seats from Republicans in 2019, District 28 and District 83, when they won control of the chamber that year. Democrats won a majority in the chamber for the first time in 20 years when they picked up six seats in the 2019 elections, going from a 49-51 minority before the election to a 55-45 majority after the election.

Two of the seats that changed party control had previously been held by Democrats going back to at least 2015. Two seats were previously Republican seats that Democrats flipped in 2019 and Republicans recaptured in 2021. 

More state legislative seats flipped this year as a result of special elections, which are not included as part of this analysis. Five seats have changed party hands as a result of special elections in 2021: three from Democratic to Republican and two from Republican to Democratic. Two flips (one each way) happened as a result of a Nov. 2 special election.

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South Dakotans Decide Healthcare submit signatures for Medicaid expansion initiative 

The 2021 ballot measure season is behind us, and now we’re onto 2022. Here’s an update from a recently submitted measure.

On Nov. 8, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare submitted 47,000 signatures for their Medicaid expansion initiative. Nov. 8 was the deadline for initiated constitutional amendment petitions in South Dakota. To qualify for the ballot, 33,921 valid signatures were required. 

The measure would amend the constitution to require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level. Because the Affordable Care Act includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.

As of 2021, a total of 38 states and Washington, D.C., had expanded or voted to expand Medicaid, while 13 states had not. Six states have expanded Medicaid through citizen initiatives. 

To date, 61 statewide ballot measures had been certified in 29 states for the 2022 ballot.

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Clallam County voters decide municipal elections

Over the last several months, we’ve periodically updated you on municipal elections in Clallam County, Wa. We’ve focused on this county because of its unique status as the county nationwide with the longest unbroken record of voting for the winning presidential candidate, going back to 1980. Since 1920, voters in Clallam backed the winning presidential candidate in every election except 1968 and 1976.

Clallam held general elections on Nov. 2 in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. The Clallam County Auditor’s office is periodically updating results until results are certified on Nov. 23. Results were last updated Nov. 5, and are scheduled to be updated again on Nov. 15. The Auditor’s office estimates 50 ballots remain uncounted.  

Here is an overview of election results from Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks.

Port Angeles 

Port Angeles, the county seat, had eight offices up for election in 2021, including four city council seats and two seats on the school board. Six of those races were contested and two were uncontested.

Incumbents were on the ballot in seven of the eight races, including in all four city council races. All incumbents won re-election. 


Sequim had eleven offices up for election, including five of seven city council seats. Seven of those races were contested. Incumbents appeared on the ballot in eight races, including in all five city council races. Five incumbents won re-election. Incumbents lost in three of the five city council races.

In the Sequim School District Director at Large, Position No. 4 race, Kristi Schmeck defeated Virginia R. Sheppard. She won 55.93% of the vote to Sheppard’s 42.72%. This was an unusual race because Schmeck suspended her primary campaign in the spring but still finished first in the Aug. 2 primary election. Sheppard came in second in the primary. In Washington, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election. Following the Aug. 2 primary, Schmeck re-entered the race and garnered the most votes in the Nov. 2 general election. 


Seven offices were up for election in Forks, including two city council seats and the mayor’s seat. Three of those races were contested.

Incumbents appeared on the ballot in six races, two of which were contested. All incumbents won re-election in Forks.

To see detailed results from all races in Clallam County, click the link below. 

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Alaska adopts final state legislative map, sets stage for 2022 elections

On Nov. 10, the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted a new legislative map outlining the state’s 20 Senate districts and 40 House districts as part of the 2020 redistricting cycle. While the new map has been enacted, there will now be a 30-day period during which time interested parties may file legal challenges against the new map.

KTOO’s Andrew Kitchenman reported that since the new map largely altered the state’s Senate districts, 19 of the 20 districts will hold elections in 2022. Alaska normally staggers elections to its Senate with half the chamber holding elections in one even-year cycle and the other half holding elections in the next and all members serving four-year terms. In 2022, certain districts will elect senators to two-year terms while others will elect them to four-year terms in order to restart the staggered process under the new lines. Alaska’s House districts hold elections every two years.

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