Welcome to the Tuesday, February 7, Brew.
By: Douglas Kronaizl
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- 103 state legislative elections decided by 100 votes or fewer in 2022
- Florida marijuana legalization amendment raised $20 million with eye on 2024 ballot
- Final reports show Democratic party committees outraised Republican committees in 2022 cycle
103 state legislative elections decided by 100 votes or fewer in 2022
One hundred three state legislative elections were decided by 100 votes or fewer in 2022, three times more than in 2020.
These 103 elections represented 1.6% of the 6,278 seats up for election in 2022. In 2020, 30 of the 5,875 seats up for election (0.5%) were decided within this margin.
Democrats won 49 of those 103 races (48%), Republicans won 52 (50%), and an independent won one (1%). An additional race in New Hampshire ended in a tie with a redo election scheduled for Feb. 21.
Of the 88 chambers with seats up for election last year, 31 had at least one race decided by fewer than 100 votes.
The New Hampshire House had the most seats decided by fewer than 100 votes. Thirty-six, or 16% of the 227 House districts holding elections, were decided by 100 votes or fewer.
The Maine and Vermont Houses followed, with five seats decided by fewer than 100 votes, representing 3% and 4% of the districts holding elections in each chamber, respectively.
New Hampshire House races are regularly decided by smaller margins than those elsewhere in the country due to the size of their districts. As of 2020, there are an average of 3,450 people in each of the state’s 227 House districts, the smallest in the country.
Most of the 103 close races in 2022 were in districts with a smaller-than-average population. Sixty-eight (66%) were in districts with a population of less than 25,000. Districts that size comprised 26.3% of all state legislative districts as of 2020.
The New Hampshire House also led the pack in 2020, with 11 races decided by fewer than 100 votes, followed by the Vermont House with five, representing 3% of the seats up for election in both chambers. That year, 24 races (80%) were in districts with a population of less than 25,000.
Florida marijuana legalization amendment raised $20 million with eye on 2024 ballot
Smart and Safe Florida, the political committee supporting an initiated constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana, has raised $20 million in its effort to place the measure on the state’s 2024 ballot. This funding came from Trulieve Cannabis Crop., a marijuana business operating in several states, including Florida.
Florida legalized medical marijuana in 2016 after voters passed Amendment 2, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment establishing the program. Voters approved the amendment 71% to 29%.
In Florida, constitutional amendments require a 60% supermajority vote to pass.
The proposed 2024 amendment would legalize marijuana for all adults 21 years or older. Existing medical marijuana distributors would be authorized to sell marijuana for personal use, and the Legislature could provide additional licenses to cultivate and/or sell marijuana products.
As of Feb. 23, 22 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana—seven through state legislative action and 16 through ballot initiatives. This total includes South Dakota, where the measure voters approved was later declared unconstitutional.
Four of those 16 approved ballot measures passed with more than 60% support. Washington, D.C., had the largest vote in favor at 70.06% in 2014. Maine had the smallest vote in favor at 50.26% in 2016.
In 2022, voters in Maryland and Missouri approved recreational marijuana measures with 67.20% and 53.10% of the vote, respectively.
The median statewide vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana is 55.80%.
To qualify for the 2024 ballot, the proposed Florida measure must submit 891,589 valid signatures by Feb. 1, 2024. Because election officials have 30 days to validate signatures, petitions are typically submitted at least one month before that deadline.
As of Feb. 2, 2023, Smart and Safe Florida had submitted 294,046 valid signatures, 33% of the total needed.
Campaigns have also filed marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the 2024 ballot in Nebraska and Wyoming.
Final reports show Democratic party committees outraised Republican committees in 2022 cycle
Year-end federal campaign finance data filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Jan. 31 showed the three major Democratic party committees raised a cumulative $966 million during the 2022 election cycle. The corresponding Republican committees raised $875 million.
This represents a change compared to recent election cycles. Republican committees outraised Democrats during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.
These committees represent each party’s major fundraising arms at the federal level.
For Democrats, this includes the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
For Republicans, this includes the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
While the national arms—DNC and RNC—represent the party, the office-specific committees focus on electing members to the Senate and House.
When looking at the specific committees in 2022, the DSCC and DCCC outraised their Republican counterparts, while the RNC outraised the DNC.
In 2020, the RNC and NRSC outraised their Democratic counterparts, while the DCCC outraised the NRCC.