Welcome to the Thursday, Jan. 12, Brew.
By: Juan Garcia de Paredes
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Following the 2022 elections, more Americans now live in a Democratic trifecta than a Republican trifecta
- Aaron Rouse (D) defeats Kevin Adams (R) in the special election for Virginia SD 7, flipping the seat for the first time since 1991
- Listen to our interview with journalist and political analyst Barry Casselman for On the Ballot, our weekly podcast
Following the 2022 elections, more Americans now live in a Democratic trifecta than a Republican trifecta
As a result of the 2022 elections, a greater percentage of Americans now live in a Democratic state government trifecta than in a Republican trifecta. Once all newly elected officials take office, 41.7% of Americans will live in a state with a Democratic trifecta, 39.6% in a state with a Republican trifecta, and 18.8% in a state with divided government.
This will be the lowest percentage of Americans living in a Republican trifecta and the highest percentage of Americans living in a Democratic trifecta in the past six years.
Before the election, 41.8% of Americans lived in a state with a Republican trifecta, 33.9% with a Democratic trifecta, and 24.3% in a state with divided government.
The table below shows the percentage of Americans living in each type of state going back to before the 2018 elections.
State government trifecta is a term to describe single-party government, when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The 2022 elections resulted in 22 Republican trifectas, 17 Democratic trifectas, and 11 states with divided government. Democrats gained trifectas in four states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota—and lost a trifecta in Nevada. Republicans lost a trifecta in Arizona.
The 17 Democratic trifectas are the most since 1993, and the 11 divided governments are the fewest since 1992.
Aaron Rouse (D) defeats Kevin Adams (R) in the special election for Virginia SD 7, flipping the seat for the first time since 1991
On to Virginia, where Virginia Beach councilmember Aaron Rouse (D) defeated Kevin Adams (R) 50.4% to 49.5% in the special election for State Senate District 7. The special election was called after the previous incumbent, Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R), resigned after being elected to represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Before Rouse’s victory, a Democrat hadn’t won the 7th District since 1991, when incumbent Clarence Holland (D) was re-elected to a third term.
Frank Wagner (R), the incumbent from 2001 to 2019, ran unopposed in 2011. Four years later, in 2015, Wagner defeated Gary McCollum (D) 54.2% to 45.8%. In 2019, Kiggans, Wagner’s successor, defeated Cheryl Turpin (D) 50.4% to 49.5%, a margin of victory of less than one percentage point.
Ahead of the election, Daily Kos’ David Nir wrote that District 7 “[had] been very swingy: In 2019, Kiggans won it by less than one point, while Joe Biden carried it by 10 points the following year, only to see Youngkin prevail by 4 points in 2021.”
Tuesday’s result will give Democrats a 22-18 majority in the state senate. Before Kiggans’ resignation, Democrats held a 21-19 majority.
Two special elections for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates also took place on January 10. Holly Seibold (D) defeated Monique Baroudi (R) in the special election for House District 35, and Ellen Campbell (R) defeated Jade Harris (D) in the special election for House District 24. Unlike the race for Virginia’s 7th in the state senate, the outcome of these races will not affect the partisan balance in the House of Delegates. Once Seibold and Campbell are sworn in, Republicans will have a 52-48 majority in the chamber, the same number they had before the seats became vacant.
The special election for Virginia SD 7 took place under now-outdated district lines. New state legislative maps took effect on January 11, at the start of the 2023 legislative session, and one day after the special election. While the old district covered parts of Virginia Beach and Norfolk in eastern Virginia, the redrawn district is located in western Virginia. Click here to view a comparison of the old and redrawn district maps.
All Virginia Senate and House legislative seats are up for election on November 7, 2023.
In special elections from 2010 to 2023, 113 state legislative seats changed partisan control, or flipped. Including the special election in Virginia SD 7, Democrats flipped 61 seats, Republicans flipped 46 seats, and independent and third-party candidates flipped six seats. Democrats flipped the most seats in 2017, when they flipped 14 state legislative seats, while Republicans flipped the most seats in 2015, when they flipped nine seats.
As of January 12, 18 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023 in ten states. Five, including the Virginia special elections, have already taken place, while 13 are scheduled to take place before May 16.
Listen to our interview with journalist and political analyst Barry Casselman for On the Ballot, our weekly podcast
On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, takes a closer look at the week’s top political stories.
In this week’s episode, host Victoria Rose and Ballotpedia’s Managing Editor Cory Eucalitto interview journalist and political analyst Barry Casselman. Casselman, who has reported and analyzed American presidential and national politics since 1972, shared with Victoria and Cory his views on what happened in the midterm elections, how political journalism has changed over the years, and even shared some early 2024 presidential predictions.
Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe.