Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: State government trifectas at the Super Bowl

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

  1. State government trifectas at the Super Bowl
  2. A look at next week’s school board recall in San Francisco
  3. Three-fourths of Alabama state legislative districts are contested by only one of the two major parties

State government trifectas at the Super Bowl

This Sunday, Feb. 13, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams will face off in Super Bowl LVI. While we here at Ballotpedia are excited about the big game, we couldn’t resist taking a look at past results through the lens of our historical state government trifecta data from 1967 to 2021.

The matchup this year will pit a team from a state with a Republican trifecta—the Bengals, located in Ohio—against a team from a state with a Democratic trifecta—the Rams in California.

A government trifecta exists when one party controls both chambers of the legislature and the governorship in a given state.

If the Bengals win, it will be the third year in a row where a team from a state with a Republican trifecta has won the Super Bowl after the Buccaneers in Florida last year and the Chiefs, who play in Missouri, in 2020.

If the Rams win, it will be the first time since 2016 that a team from a state that had a Democratic trifecta has won the Super Bowl. The last team to win from a Democratic trifecta was the Denver Broncos in 2016.

The chart below shows each Super Bowl based on the winning team’s state government trifecta status at the time of each team’s victory.

Historically, teams from states that had divided governments—where no single party has a trifecta—have won the most Super Bowls at 25 (45%). One team—the New England Patriots from Massachusetts—makes up six of those victories. Every time the Patriots have won a Super Bowl, Massachusetts has had a divided government.

Teams from states that had Democratic trifectas have won 19 Super Bowls (35%) and hold the longest winning streak from 1970 to 1978. The Dallas Cowboys, located in Texas, won four Super Bowls while their state had a Democratic trifecta.

Teams from states that had Republican trifectas have won eight Super Bowls (15%) including the first three ever held. The Green Bay Packers, located in Wisconsin, won three Super Bowls while their state had a Republican trifecta.

Only one team has won a Super Bowl under all three trifecta statuses: the Broncos in Colorado. The team won in 1998 under a divided government, in 1999 under a Republican trifecta, and in 2016 under a Democratic trifecta.

The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl, but they have been to two in 1982 and 1989. In both years, Ohio had a divided government. The Rams have won one Super Bowl—the 34th in 2000—when the team was located in Missouri, which had a Democratic trifecta at the time.

The increased number of teams from states with divided governments around the 1900s and into the 2000s tracks with nationwide trends. In 1992, there were 31 states with divided governments and 19 trifectas. Today, there are 37 trifectas—14 Democratic and 23 Republican—and 13 divided governments.

Keep reading

A look at next week’s school board recall in San Francisco

Recall elections against three of the seven members of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education are scheduled for Feb. 15, 2022. Petitions to recall board members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga were certified in October 2021.

All three board members named in the recall petitions were first elected to four-year terms on Nov. 6, 2018. The other four members of the board were not eligible for recall at the time as they had not yet served in their current terms for six months.

Recall supporters said they were frustrated that schools in the district remained closed for nearly a year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Supporters also said they were upset the board had taken time voting to rename 44 buildings rather than focus on school re-openings. 

Siva Raj, a parent who filed notices of intent to recall, said, “From day one, the campaign was a campaign to get politics out of education … What we saw consistently was a pattern where school board leadership focused on a lot of political stunts and symbolic gestures.” 

Mayor London Breed endorsed the recall in November 2021, saying, “Sadly, our school board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced.” If any board members are recalled, Breed will appoint replacements.

On Feb. 21, 2021, López announced that the board would put building renaming on hold to focus on re-opening plans. At a board meeting on April 6, 2021, members unanimously voted to rescind the approval of the renaming process. At the same meeting, they voted to return students to full-time, in-person instruction at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jill Tucker, opponents of the recall “question why the city is spending more than $3 million on a recall election when the three board members’ terms are up in January 2023.” 

The members being recalled also spoke out against the efforts. At an August 2021 event, Collins said, “When I see certain people getting upset, I know I’m doing the right thing.” López said, “The people who are behind this don’t know us, they don’t know our work, they don’t know what we’ve been doing, they don’t know what we are dedicated to.”

The last San Francisco official to face a recall election was then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1983. Feinstein survived the recall with 81% of the vote in her favor.

So far in 2022, Ballotpedia has tracked 24 recall efforts against 64 school board members. Four recalls against seven members have already gone to a vote so far this year, all of which were defeated.

In 2021, we tracked 92 recall efforts against school board members, more than any year since at least 2006. The next most-active year was 2010 with 38 recall efforts. 

Keep reading 

Three-fourths of Alabama state legislative districts are contested by only one of the two major parties

After every filing deadline, we crunch the numbers to see how competitive elections will be at different levels of government and in different states. All year, we will be bringing you updates for all 50 states.

Today, we are looking at Alabama, the third state to have a filing deadline this cycle.

Of the 140 state legislative districts holding elections in Alabama this year, either a Democrat or Republican is likely to win 105 (75.0%) because no candidates from the opposing party filed to run. The filing deadline for candidates running for state offices in Alabama was Jan. 28.

Democrats likely will win 27 districts—six in the Senate and 21 in the House—because no Republican filed to run for them. Republicans likely will win 78 districts—21 in the Senate and 57 in the House. In 2018, 83 districts had no major party competition (59%) and 73 (52%) were uncontested in 2014.

The remaining eight Senate and 27 House districts likely will be contested between both major parties. This is the lowest rate of major party competition in the state since at least 2014.

But, before the general elections, candidates may need to pass through a primary.

Sixty-three of the 280 possible major party primaries (22.5%) are contested, meaning more than one candidate filed for a party’s nomination in a given district. While Republicans will have their highest number of contested primaries compared to recent elections, Democrats will have their lowest. Overall, the total number of major party primaries is at its lowest since at least 2014, which had 64 contests.

Overall, 271 candidates filed to run for the 140 districts: 88 Democrats, 182 Republicans, and one Libertarian. This equals 1.94 candidates per district, down from 2.15 in 2018 and 2.02 in 2014. Additional minor party and independent candidates may still file to run before May 24. 

Alabama holds state legislative elections every four years during midterm cycles. The state’s primaries are the 11th in the nation, alongside Arkansas and Georgia. All three states will hold primary elections on May 24. In all three, if no candidate wins a majority of the vote in the primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on June 21.

Keep reading