A look at governors and veto-proof state legislative majorities from opposite parties

Welcome to the Friday, September 16, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. Four states have a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislative majority of the opposing party
  2. Revisit the top stories from this primary cycle with Heart of the Primaries
  3. Idaho to vote on amendment allowing legislative leaders to convene special sessions

Four states have a governor and a veto-proof state legislative majority from opposite parties

There are four states with a governor of one party and veto-proof legislative majorities of the opposing party: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

But that number could change this year. There are three states where the party controlling the legislature could add new members to create a veto-proof majority opposing a governor of the other major party: North Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

When one party controls enough seats to overturn a veto without any support from the other party, a legislature has a veto-proof majority. These majorities strengthen the legislature’s hand when passing bills of which the governor disapproves. 

The conflict over policy can become especially pronounced when opposing parties control the legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Here’s a look at the partisan balance in the four states where, currently, that type of conflict is most likely:

And here is a breakdown of those three states that could gain a veto-proof legislative majority and have a governor of the opposite party after the 2022 elections. These are all states where the number of seats needed to gain a veto-proof majority is less than or equal to 10% of the total seats in the legislature.

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is not up for election until 2024. In North Carolina, three-fifths of the General Assembly is required to override a gubernatorial veto.

Republicans have a 68-51 majority in the House and a 28-22 majority in the Senate. To gain a veto-proof majority, Republicans would need to gain four seats in the House and two in the Senate.


Gov. Phil Scott (R) is running for re-election. In Vermont, two-thirds of the General Assembly is needed to override a veto.

Democrats currently hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate, with 21 seats, just above the 20 needed for a veto-proof majority. So in addition to defending those seats, Democrats would also need to add nine seats to its 91-46 House majority for veto-proof majorities in both chambers.


Gov. Tony Evers (D) is running for re-election. In Wisconsin, two-thirds of the Legislature is required to override a veto.

Republicans have a 57-38 majority in the state Assembly and a 21-12 majority in the Senate. To gain veto-proof majorities, Republicans would need to gain nine seats in the Assembly and one in the Senate.

All 50 state legislatures have the constitutional authority to override gubernatorial vetoes. A state’s constitution also specifies how many legislators are needed to override those vetoes. Depending on the state, the vote threshold requirement applies either to all members elected to the chamber or to all members present.

  • Thirty-six states require a two-thirds vote from both chambers.
  • Seven states require a three-fifths vote.
  • Six states require a simple majority vote.
  • Alaska requires a two-thirds vote in a joint meeting of its legislative chambers.

Keep reading 

Revisit the top stories from this year’s primaries with Heart of the Primaries

The primary season is over (well, except for Louisiana!) and with it, our Heart of the Primaries newsletter. We sent out our final edition yesterday, Sept. 15, and wanted to share a huge thank you to all of you who subscribed! 

We hope you enjoyed the coverage of this year’s top stories from Democratic and Republican primaries.

Our latest edition revisited the key themes from this year’s primaries. Here’s a quick look at those takeaways:

In the Democratic edition, we covered the role large pieces of federal legislation—like Build Back Better and the Infrastructure Act—played in races. We also looked back at three active satellite groups that spent a combined $55 million in Democratic primaries across the country.

In the Republican edition, we broke down how former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates did in their primaries, especially those challenging GOP incumbents. We also touched on how possible 2024 presidential contenders emerged as a counter-force this year.

And for those of you with us from the very beginning, in our first edition, Nov. 18, 2021, on the Democratic side we covered Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Texas gubernatorial race. And, for Republicans, we had our very first look at Trump’s endorsements of challengers running against GOP incumbents.

If you’d like to revisit that coverage and more, we have every edition of Heart of the Primaries ready and waiting at the link below. Thanks again for joining us!

Keep reading 

Idaho to vote on amendment allowing legislative leaders to convene special sessions

Today is the 14th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series and we are featuring Idaho, the Gem State!

    Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

    Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

    Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico

On the ballot in Idaho

At the federal level, Idahoans will elect one U.S. Senator and two U.S. Representatives. Seven state executive offices are also up for election, including the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

All 105 state legislative seats are up for election, 35 in the Senate and 70 in the House.

Idaho is also one of 30 states holding state supreme court elections this year with two seats on the ballot.

Click here for more information on Idaho’s races this year.

Redistricting highlights

Following the 2020 census, Idaho was apportioned two congressional districts, the same number it had after the 2010 census.

State legislative elections will also take place under new district lines. Our side-by-side map comparison tool shows how redistricting affected those districts. Here’s an example of the state’s Senate map in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle:

You can interact with our map comparison tool by visiting our Idaho redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Idaho’s U.S. Senators—Mike Crapo and Jim Risch—are Republicans.
  • Idaho’s two U.S. House districts are also represented by Republicans.
  • Idaho has had a Republican governor since 1995
  • Republicans hold a 27-7 majority in the state Senate and a 58-12 majority in the state House.
  • With a Republican governor and majorities in both legislative chambers, Idaho is one of 23 Republican trifectas, a status it has held since 1995.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 59 state legislative seats in Idaho, or 56% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 44% of all state legislative seats. Fifty-nine seats do not feature a Democratic candidate and are likely to be won by a Republican, guaranteeing Republican control of both chambers.

Republicans are running for all state legislative seats.

Ballot measures

Idahoans will decide two ballot measures on Nov. 8:

  • Proposition 1 would increase the income tax for individuals, trusts, and estates with incomes above $250,000 and couples with incomes above $500,000. It would also increase the corporate income tax rate from 6% to 8%. Revenue would fund public and charter schools.
  • Constitutional Amendment SJR 102 would authorize the House and Senate leaders to convene a special legislative session upon receiving a joint written request from 60% of the members in each chamber.

Sixty-five ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-eight were approved and 17 were defeated.


  • Polls open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
  • Idaho requires voters to present identification while voting. For more information about Idaho’s voter ID requirements, click here.
  • Early voting is available to all voters beginning Oct. 24 and ending Nov. 4.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 14.
  • All voters can vote absentee in Idaho. The ballot request deadline is Oct. 28. Ballots must be received by Nov. 8. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

Keep reading