Tagstate houses

Brett Geymann elected to Louisiana state House after special election is canceled

Candidates interested in running in a special election for the District 35 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives had until January 8, 2021, to file. Republican Brett Geymann was the only candidate to file by the deadline. Since only one candidate filed for the race, the February 6 primary and the March 20 general election were canceled. Geymann was deemed elected to the seat without appearing on the ballot.

Geymann previously served in the Louisiana state House from 2004 to 2016. He was term-limited from seeking re-election in 2015.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of Stephen Dwight (R) on December 1, 2020. He resigned to become the district attorney of Calcasieu Parish. He had represented the district since 2016.

Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-12 margin and the state House by a 67-35 margin with two independents and one vacancy. Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana in 2015.

As of January 2021, 16 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough 21 special election set for Apr. 13, 2021

Election officials have scheduled a special election for the Hillsborough 21 seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for Apr. 13, 2021. The seat became vacant when state House speaker Dick Hinch died on Dec. 9 from complications caused by COVID-19. The primary is on Feb. 23, but it may serve as the general election if no primary is required. The filing deadline is on Jan. 15.

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New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch dies 

Newly-sworn in New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch (R) died on Dec 9, at the age of 71. According to the Boston Globe, Hinch unexpectedly passed away from COVID-19. 

Hinch won re-election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives to represent Hillsborough 21 on Nov. 3. Republicans gained control of the state House, and Hinch was elected speaker on Dec. 2. Rep. Sherman Packard (R) will serve as acting speaker of the house until the full state House votes on a new speaker on Jan. 6.

A special election will fill Hinch’s vacant seat. According to New Hampshire law, a town or city in the district must first make a formal request to the governor and executive council for a special election. The governor and council will approve or deny the request within 21 days and then set the filing deadline and election dates. 

Hillsborough 21 is represented by Republican Representatives Mary Mayville, Lindsay Tausch, Melissa Blasek, Jeanine Notter, Bob Healey, and Maureen Mooney and Democratic Representative Rosemarie Rung. Hinch’s death represents the only current vacancy in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. 

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Republicans flip legislature and gain trifecta control in New Hampshire

Republicans are projected to flip control of New Hampshire’s state Senate and House to gain trifecta control of the state. A state government trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship, a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house in a state’s government.

Heading into the election, New Hampshire had been under a divided government since 2019, when Democrats flipped the state Senate and House. Before 2019, New Hampshire had been governed by a Republican trifecta since 2017, when Gov. Chris Sununu (R) was elected.

New Hampshire is the second state Republicans flipped from divided power to trifecta control. They gained trifecta control in Montana after Greg Gianforte (R) defeated Mike Cooney (D) in the governor’s race. If Republicans pick up a net of two trifectas, the country would have 23 Republican-held trifectas, 15 Democratic-held trifectas, and 12 divided governments.

Eighty-six state legislative chambers held elections in 2020. Ballotpedia identified seven states as potential trifecta pickups.

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Wyoming Rep. Edwards dies one day before the general election

Wyoming lawmaker Roy Edwards (R), who represented House District 53, passed away on Nov. 2, 2020—one day before the general election—of an unspecified illness. According to the Gillette News Record, Edwards was admitted to the hospital last week with the unspecified condition. He was 66-years-old.

Edwards didn’t face any challengers in his re-election bid and was expected to win. During the Aug. 18 primary, Edwards won 57.5% of the vote against challenger Tom Murphy. In accordance with Wyoming statute, the Campbell County Republican Party will recommend three replacements for the vacancy no later than Nov. 18.

District 53 had been represented by Edwards since 2015 after then-incumbent Gregg Blikre (R) didn’t seek re-election. The passing of Edwards represents the only current vacancy in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

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Previewing Arizona House of Representatives elections

All 60 seats in the Arizona House of Representatives are up for election in 2020. Republicans lost seats but maintained their majority in the 2018 elections for the Arizona House of Representatives, winning 31 seats to Democrats’ 29. Arizona state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years. Thirty multi-member state House districts elect two members each.

Ballotpedia has identified eight of the races in 2020 as battlegrounds, four of which are Democrat-held districts, three of which are Republican-held districts, and one district which is split between Republicans and Democrats. The Democrat-controlled battlegrounds are Districts 7, 10, 18, and 28. The Republican-controlled battlegrounds are Districts 6, 20, and 23. The split battleground is District 17 which is currently represented by both a Democrat and a Republican. Based on an analysis of these districts’ electoral histories, these races have the potential to be more competitive than other races and could lead to shifts in the partisan balance of the Arizona House of Representatives. 

Arizona has been under a Republican trifecta since 2009 when Gov. Jan Brewer (R) was sworn into office. Brewer’s accession to the governorship ended a period of divided government that began when Republicans lost their majority in the state Senate during the 2000 legislative elections. Republicans regained their Senate majority in the 2002 elections, when Janet Napolitano (D) was elected governor. Heading into the 2018 election, Republicans had maintained control of the state House since the 1966 elections. Had the Democratic Party taken the state House, it would have broken the Republican trifecta.

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September 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.0% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

According to Ballotpedia’s September partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States, 52.01% of all state legislators are Republicans and 46.77% are Democrats.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. This refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in each chamber. Republicans hold a majority in 59 chambers and Democrats hold a majority in 39 chambers. Alaska’s chamber is the only one to have a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

Nationally, the state legislatures include 1,972 state senators and 5,411 state representatives. Republicans hold 1,081 state Senate seats—remaining the same since August — and 2,759 state House seats — up one from last month. Democrats hold 3,453 of the 7,383 state legislative seats—874 state Senate seats (down one seat) and 2,579 state House seats (the same as last month). Independent or third-party legislators hold 34 seats, of which 30 are state House seats and four state Senate seats. There are 56 vacant seats.

In the September prior to the 2016 general election, Democrats held 821 state Senate seats (53 fewer than today) and 2,334 state House seats (a decrease of 245), while Republicans held 1,087 state Senate seats (an additional six when compared to today) and 3,017 state House seats (an increase of 258).

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