An update on 153 state legislative leadership roles

Welcome to the Thursday, December 15, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. An update on 2022 state legislative leadership elections
  2. How 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential contenders performed in newly proposed early primary states 
  3. Look ahead at 2023 ballot measures with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

An update on 2022 state legislative leadership elections

Our team is in the process of tracking state legislative elections, but we wanted to bring you a quick, preliminary update on what we’ve found so far. As of this writing, we’ve identified the results of 153 legislative leadership elections:

  • 81 leaders were re-elected in 30 states. Oregon, Iowa, and Idaho have had the most leaders re-elected, with five apiece. Oregon is a Democratic trifecta, while Iowa and Idaho are Republican trifectas
  • 72 new legislative leaders were elected. 

Here’s where state senate leaders have been re-elected:

  • Eleven senate presidents have been re-elected in Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. State senate presidents preside over legislative sessions and ensure members abide by procedural rules.
  • Nine senate presidents pro tempore have been re-elected in Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington. The president pro temp presides over the senate when the president is absent. In most cases, the president pro tem is a senior-ranking member of the majority party. 
  • Ten senate majority leaders have been re-elected in Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. The majority leader is the floor leader of the majority caucus. The majority leader is the principal speaker during debates on the senate floor and promote the party’s legislative agenda.
  • Thirteen senate minority leaders have been re-elected in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island. The senate minority leader is the floor leader of the minority caucus. The minority leader is the principal speaker for the minority party during debates on the senate floor and coordinates the party’s legislative agenda.

Here is where state house leaders have been re-elected:

  • Seventeen speakers have been re-elected in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. The speaker serves as the head of the lower chamber, presides over legislative sessions, directs the legislative process, and performs additional administrative and procedural duties.
  • Seven house majority leaders have been re-elected in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. The majority leader is in charge of the chamber’s daily legislative operations. Depending on the state, the majority leader may preside over party caucuses, schedule daily legislative calendars, direct party strategy, assemble party members for important votes, and serve as a party representative.
  • Ten house minority leaders have been re-elected in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. The minority leader directs party strategy, assembles party members for important votes, and serves as a party representative. 

We track a total of 329 legislative leadership positions across the U.S. and the territories. 

As a result of the 2022 elections, Democrats gained control of four chambers—the Michigan House and Senate, Minnesota Senate, and Pennsylvania House—bringing their total to 40. Wins in Minnesota and Michigan created new Democratic trifectas in those states. Both states previously had divided governments. Republicans lost control of those five chambers, bringing their total to 57.

In some cases, a party retained control of a chamber and elected new leadership. For example, in Missouri, Republicans retained a majority in the state Senate and House. Caleb Rowden (R) has served as the Senate majority leader since 2019, but going forward, Rowden will serve as the president pro tem. Cindy O’Laughlin (R) was elected majority leader. 

In another example, Democrats in Colorado retained control of both chambers of the state legislature. State Rep. Alec Garnett (D) served as the state House majority leader since 2019. However, Garnett was unable to run for re-election because of term limits. Senate Democrats elected state Rep. Julie McCluskie (D) to replace him as majority leader. 

You can learn more about leadership positions in state legislatures at the link below. 

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How 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential contenders performed in newly proposed early primary states 

On Dec. 2, the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee voted to approve a proposal changing the early presidential primary schedule, taking the first step toward a move that would shake up the 2024 presidential race. South Carolina was selected as the first primary state, with a date of Feb. 3, 2024, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on Feb. 6, then Georgia, on Feb. 13, and Michigan, on Feb. 27.

The proposal still awaits an approval vote from the full Democratic National Committee, which is expected to occur in early 2023. 

States selected for early primaries must submit information to the Rules and Bylaws Committee about their plans to change their primary dates by Jan. 5, 2023. If the proposal is approved, it would still be possible for a state to hold an early primary on a day that does not match the committee’s calendar. But that state would lose half of its delegates at the Democratic National Convention per a rule in the proposal.

In 2020, the first four primary states were Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. These four early primaries were followed by the 14-state Super Tuesday primary.

The 2020 Democratic primary results in each of the proposed early states were, by the proposal’s timeline, Joe Biden winning the Democratic primary in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders winning the primaries in Nevada and New Hampshire, and Joe Biden winning the primaries in Georgia and Michigan.  

The 2016 results in these states saw Hillary Clinton winning South Carolina, Clinton winning Nevada and Sanders winning New Hampshire, Clinton winning Georgia, and Sanders winning Michigan.

The chart below shows how each of the above candidates performed in 2016 and 2020 in the five proposed 2024 early primary states.

To read more about the proposed changes to the 2024 Democratic primary calendar, click the link below.

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Look ahead at 2023 ballot measures with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, takes a closer look at the week’s top political stories.

This week’s episode is all about the 2023 ballot measure landscape. Guest host Doug Kronaizl and staff writer Jackie Mitchell walk us through the certified and potential measures, as well as why there are fewer ballot issue in odd-numbered years than even-numbered years. You’ll also learn why odd-numbered years have fewer measures on average than even-numbered years. 

Paul Rader returns with some timely political trivia on the subject of swearing-in dates. In January, thousands of recently elected officials at all levels of government will be sworn into office. Here’s Paul’s question: Which is the only state legislature where the house and senate can start new terms on different dates?

Tune in to hear the answer! 

Episodes of On the Ballot come out Thursday afternoons, so if you’re reading this on the morning of Dec. 15, you’ve still got time to subscribe to On the Ballot on your favorite podcast app before this week’s episode drops! 

Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe. 

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