Trifectas at the Super Bowl

Welcome to the Tuesday, February 14, Brew. 

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

  1. A look at Oklahoma’s spring school board elections
  2. How state Senates determine term lengths post-redistricting
  3. State government trifectas at the Super Bowl

A look at Oklahoma’s spring school board elections

Oklahoma is our Valentine today, as it kicks off this year’s school board election cycle today, Feb. 14, with school board primaries taking place statewide. The general election is on April 4.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of this batch of spring elections in the Sooner State:

  • Oklahoma has 512 school districts, each of which holds elections annually. Every district has at least one seat up for election this year.
  • Oklahoma’s school board elections are nonpartisan, meaning every candidate appears on the same ballot without party labels.
  • Statewide, 733 candidates filed to run in 488 districts
  • There are 24 districts where no candidates filed to run. In these districts, the local school board has 60 days from the election date to appoint a new member or call a special election.

Oklahoma’s election calendar can change based on the number of candidates running for an office.

Today, 27 offices (5% of all those up for election) are holding primaries, because more than two candidates are running. In these primaries, candidates win outright if they receive at least 50% of the vote. Otherwise, the top-two vote-getters advance to the April 4 general election. 

In another 123 offices (21%), two candidates are running. For these offices, the primary was canceled, and the candidates advance directly to the April 4 general election.

There are 405 offices (70%) where only one candidate is running. The primary and general elections are canceled here, and those candidates win outright.

There are approximately 4.5 school board members per district in Oklahoma. Statewide, men make up 64% of all board members, and women make up 32%. We could not determine the gender of around 5% of board members.

The six largest Oklahoma districts by enrollment are:

  • Oklahoma City Public Schools (35,897)
  • Tulsa Public Schools (35,675)
  • Edmond Public Schools (25,619)
  • Moore Public Schools (24,961)
  • Putnam City Schools (19,652)
  • Broken Arrow Public Schools (19,436)

The six smallest Oklahoma districts by enrollment are:

  • White Oak Public Schools (32)
  • Terral Public School (37)
  • Davidson Public Schools (37)
  • Straight Public Schools (40)
  • Gypsy Public Schools (47)
  • Freedom Public Schools (47)

This year, in addition to our usual coverage scope, we’re covering all school board elections in 10 states: Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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How state Senates determine term lengths post-redistricting

Most of the time, redistricting changes where a district is. But it can also change when incumbents must stand for re-election.

This is most commonly the case in state senates, where senators often serve varying term lengths or staggered terms, meaning only a certain number of districts are up for election each cycle.

Senators in 30 states serve four-year terms. In 12 states, senators serve two-year terms.

But in eight states, senators serve two- or four-year terms depending on how close the elections are to redistricting. How these states change the timing and term lengths in their state Senates vary.

In Arkansas and Texas, senators draw random lots during the first legislative session after redistricting. Half of the senators serve a regular four-year term, while the other half starts with a two-year term and then four-year terms after that.

In Delaware, specific districts follow either a 4-4-2 or 2-4-4 schedule, referring to the term lengths in a given decade. This schedule has been in place since 1980.

In Florida, after redistricting, odd-numbered districts are up for election in even years that are multiples of four, and even-numbered districts are up in even years that are not multiples of four.

During Hawaii’s redistricting process, the redistricting commission selects 12 districts that will serve a two-year term to start the decade. The other 13 districts serve regular four-year terms.

In Illinois, at the beginning of the first legislative session after redistricting, the Legislature passes a bill dividing the districts into three groups: the first is elected to 4-4-2 year terms, the second is elected to 4-2-4 year terms, and the third is elected to 2-4-4 year terms.

Every Senate seat in Minnesota and New Jersey is up for election simultaneously, so no adjustments are needed. The entire chamber is up during the first cycle after redistricting and then every four years until the cycle repeats.

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State government trifectas at the Super Bowl

In addition to a great game on Sunday, Super Bowl LVII offered us a rare matchup between a team in a state with a Republican trifecta—the Kansas City Chiefs from Missouri—against a team from a state with a divided government—the Philadelphia Eagles in Pennsylvania.

Such a matchup had only happened four times since the first Super Bowl in 1967. Teams from states with divided governments won three of those contests, while Republican trifecta teams had only won one: Super Bowl II in 1968.

That is, until this year, with the Lombardi Trophy heading back with the Chiefs to Missouri.

This year also marked the fourth in a row where a team from either type of trifecta—Democratic or Republican—won the Super Bowl. That’s now the second-longest streak in league history, behind only the initial 12-game trifecta win streak from 1967 to 1978.

The Chiefs have now won two Super Bowls while Missouri had a Republican trifecta and when the state had a Democratic trifecta.

The Eagles’ only Super Bowl win came in 2018 under a divided government.

Teams from states with divided governments have won the most Super Bowls at 25 (44%), though the New England Patriots padded those stats, making up six of those victories. Every time the Patriots have won a Super Bowl, Massachusetts has had a divided government.

Teams from states with Democratic trifectas have won 20 Super Bowls (35%) and hold the longest winning streak from 1970 to 1978. The Dallas Cowboys won four Super Bowls while Texas had a Democratic trifecta.

Teams from states with Republican trifectas have won nine Super Bowls (16%) including the first three ever held. The Green Bay Packers won three Super Bowls while Wisconsin state had a Republican trifecta.

Only the Denver Broncos have won Super Bowls while the state government was either divided (1998), or a Democratic (2016) or Republican (1999) trifecta.

The increased number of teams from states with divided governments around the 1990s and into the 2000s follows national trends. In 1992, there were 31 states with divided governments and 19 trifectas. Today, there are 39 trifectas—17 Democratic and 22 Republican—and 11 divided governments.

There are currently 14 teams in states with Democratic trifectas, 11 in states with Republican trifectas, and seven in states with divided governments.

The Super Bowl features the champions from the NFL’s two conferences, each with 16 teams: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

The AFC includes eight teams in Republican trifectas, six in Democratic trifectas, and two in divided governments.

The NFC includes eight teams in Democratic trifectas, five in divided governments, and three in Republican trifectas.

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