And your 2022 Official Holiday Cookie Election winner is…

Welcome to the Friday, December 23, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. And your 2022 Cookie Election winner is…
  2. Sixteen states have already sworn in new legislators
  3. Alaska House freshmen in talks to form multipartisan governing coalition
  4. On the Twelfth Day of Ballotpedia, we revisit the midterms and look ahead

This will be our final Brew of the year. Have a restful holiday, and we will see you back here on Jan. 3!

And your 2022 Cookie Election winner is…

With 32% of the vote, and in a deliciously close race to the finish line, Gingerbread Cookie was elected the 2022 Official Holiday Cookie and immediately sworn into office!

Gingerbread Cookie, a newcomer to the office, narrowly beat out Sugar Cookie, who—first elected in 2020—was ousted in a 2021 recall. Sugar Cookie finished with 30% of the vote, followed by Snickerdoodle with 26%, and several write-ins with 12%.

These results mesh with an Axios report released last week, which found Gingerbread Cookie was overrepresented in Google searches in eight states, more than any other type of cookie. Peanut Butter Blossom, one of this year’s candidates who lost in the primary, was second, with the top spot in six states.  Sugar Cookie was fourth in that report, being the most overrepresented cookie in five states’ searches.

Click the link below to learn more about this year’s candidates, many of whom you might meet over the holiday break!

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Sixteen states have already sworn in new legislators

The 2022 elections are in our rearview mirror, but not every winner has been sworn into office yet. Congress holds its swearing-in on Jan 3. At the state level, 16 states have already finished swearing-in state legislators elected on Nov. 8.

Nine of those states swore in legislators in November, including Florida, Hawaii, and Tennessee, where legislators take office on Election Day itself.

Seven states swore in legislators within the first week of December.

The remaining 30 states that held elections in November won’t swear in legislators until January. Seven of those hold their swearing-ins on the first day of the year.

The states with the latest swearing-in dates are Illinois and Maryland, which hold its on Jan. 11, and Alaska (more on that in the story below!), which hold its on Jan. 17.

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Alaska House freshmen in talks to form multipartisan governing coalition

All 19 newly-elected members of the Alaska House of Representatives have been mentioned in talks regarding the potential of organizing a multipartisan governing coalition in the chamber, the Alaska Landmine’s Jeff Landfield reports.

The 19 freshmen—nine Republicans, eight Democrats, and two independents—would need to add two other returning members to their ranks to reach the 21-member majority needed to govern the 40-member chamber.

These discussions highlight what has become a common occurrence in the Alaska House in recent years.

Republicans won majorities in the chamber every cycle from 1994 to 2014. The party won a numerical majority in 2016, but two members joined the 17 Democrats and two independents to create a multipartisan coalition that year.

A similar scenario has played out every cycle since.

As of Dec. 21, control of the Alaska House remained unclear. Republicans again won a numerical majority—21 members—with Democrats winning 13 and independents with six.

In addition to the ongoing coalition conversations, there are legal challenges over the results of three races. Republicans won two of those challenged races, and a Democrat won one.

In 2016, members announced the creation of a governing coalition almost immediately after the election in November. But in 2018 and 2020, control remained unclear until February of the following years.

Regardless of the eventual outcome in the House, Alaska will have a divided government in the new year. In the Senate, all nine Democrats joined eight of the 11 Republicans to form a power-sharing coalition. Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy, is a Republican.

Nationwide, partisan control changed in five chambers, including the Alaska Senate. Democrats gained majorities in three: the Michigan House and Senate and the Minnesota Senate. 

Democrats also won a majority in Pennsylvania, but due to vacancies, Republicans will hold more seats at the start of the session. Three special elections, all in districts that voted for Joe Biden (D) in 2020 with margins greater than 15 percentage points, are set for Feb. 7.

Both major parties’ control of all state legislative seats changed by less than half a percentage point in either direction after the Nov. 8 election. Pre- and post-election partisan totals for all state legislative seats nationwide are shown below:

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On the Twelfth Day of Ballotpedia, we revisit the midterms and look ahead

Last November, more than 100 million people cast a ballot in the midterm election … and millions of those voters turned to Ballotpedia for help.

In the six weeks leading up to the election, we received 85 million page views—an increase of 30 million compared to the 2018 midterms. 

However, as a 501(c)3, our work is not free to produce and we invite you to join us in providing all voters the information they need in 2023 and beyond.  We have an ambitious goal – to raise $100,000 this month!  Please join thousands of other Ballotpedia readers in helping us achieve this goal!

On social media, the number of interactions we had last November was twice that of 2018 and 3.5 times more than in 2020. 

While we are proud that so many people are interacting with our work, one comment stood out from a mom who, when sitting down with her 18-year-old daughter to vote for the first time, said, “One of the first things I taught her was the handy Ballotpedia tool for learning more about each candidate.”

With more than 500,000 elected officials nationwide, navigating your ballot isn’t always easy. We are very grateful for the opportunity to support voters and be a resource that helps them feel more confident in their choices. 

And with your support, we are determined to make this information even easier to access for as many voters as possible!

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