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Ethan Rice

Ethan Rice is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Control of Alaska House of Representatives remains uncertain after Alaska Supreme Court decision

The Alaska Supreme Court confirmed Alaska Representative Lance Pruitt’s (R) 11-vote loss to Democratic challenger Liz Snyder on Friday, January 8. The court ruled that Pruitt did not provide sufficient evidence to sustain his challenge of the election results.

Pruitt’s loss means that control of the chamber will likely remain uncertain until at least January 19, when lawmakers will convene in Juneau for the start of the legislative session. As a result of this decision, the Alaska House of Representatives is currently split between a 20-member Republican faction and a multi-partisan coalition of 16 Democrats (including Snyder), three independents, and Republican Louise Stutes. Had Pruitt won, it could have given the Republican wing of the House the 21 votes needed to control the chamber.

Pruitt’s lawsuit centered on the argument that the state did not adequately notify the public when the Alaska Division of Elections moved a polling location and that the Division of Elections did not provide suitable election security in regard to absentee ballots. Pruitt’s attorney in the case, Stacey Stone, said that Pruitt will not pursue any further action to contest the results of the election. “The integrity of our election system serves as the foundation of our government. We respect the decision of the court today, but we hope the Division (of Elections) addresses the issues that occurred in Precinct 915 so that these type of events do not occur in the future, and that all voters constitutional rights are guaranteed. We await the supreme court’s full opinion as to how they addressed the multiple points on appeal,” Stone said. After the verdict was announced, Snyder said, “It was great to see that come out the way we anticipated it.”

Although Republicans won a 23-16 majority with one independent in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (I) as House speaker on February 14, 2019. The parties split control of key leadership positions and committees and Edgmon was elected speaker after leaving the Democratic Party. The House majority consisted of 15 Democrats, eight Republicans, and two members unaffiliated with either party. Of the eight Republicans who joined the majority coalition in 2018, only Steve M. Thompson and Louise Stutes were re-elected in 2020.

Eighty-six of 99 state legislative chambers across 44 states held general elections on November 3, 2020. Heading into the 2020 elections, Republicans had majorities in 59 chambers and Democrats had majorities in 39 chambers. Partisan control flipped in two chambers—Republicans gained majorities in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the New Hampshire State Senate.

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Seventy-five U.S. congressional elections were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer

Seventy-five congressional races in 2020 were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer, including eight for U.S. Senate and 67 for U.S. House. Thirty-five races were decided by fewer than five percentage points; three of those were U.S. Senate races and 32 were U.S. House races.

Democratic candidates won 40 of these elections and Republican candidates won 35. Out of the races decided by fewer than five percentage points, Democrats won 22 and Republicans won 13.

Fourteen U.S. House races remained uncalled as of Nov. 18, and eight seemed likely to be decided by fewer than 10 percentage points.

In comparison, 102 races were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer in 2018. Of these, 12 were elections for the U.S. Senate and 90 were elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 49 of these elections and Republican candidates won 53.

Fifty races in 2018 were decided by fewer than five percentage points: five elections for the U.S. Senate and 45 elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 24 of these elections and Republican candidates won 26.

There were 42 and 56 congressional races decided by 10 percentage points or fewer in 2016 and 2014, respectively. In 2016, nine were elections for the U.S. Senate and 33 were elections for the U.S. House, with candidates from each major party winning 21 of the elections. In 2014, seven were elections for the U.S. Senate and 49 were elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 32 of these elections and Republican candidates won 24.

For races decided by fewer than five percentage points, there were 22 in 2016 and 31 in 2014. In 2016, five elections were for the U.S. Senate and 17 were for the U.S. House seats, with Democratic candidates winning 14 of these elections and Republicans winning eight. In 2014, five were elections for the U.S. Senate and 26 were for the U.S. House, with Democratic candidates winning 17 of these elections and Republican candidates winning 14.



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