Victory In the States

Our gains outside of Washington, D.C. were at least equal to, if not greater than, our gains within Washington, D.C. Using the information found on DLCC.org, here is what we accomplished.

Big Picture
Democrats won six Governorships, and lost none, moving from a deficit of 28-22 to an advantage of 28-22. The gains came in Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

In state legislative bodies, Democrats control 56 chambers, Republicans control 40. Two, the Montana House (previously tied) and the Pennsylvania House (previously Republican controlled) are undecided. Democrats took nine legislative chambers, and lost none. The gains came in Indiana (House), Iowa (House and Senate), Michigan (House), Minnesota (House), New Hampshire (House and Senate), Oregon (House), and Wisconsin (Senate). The Iowa Senate was previously tied, and the Oklahoma Senate, previously controlled by Democrats, is also now tied. I believe, however, that the tie in the Oklahoma Senate goes to Democrats, because we have the Governorship there.

Democrats control 3,964 state legislature seats, and Republicans control 3,307. I do not know how many are controlled by third parties, or are currently undecided. Democrats also have a non-southern majority in state legislature seats for the first time in many years.

Trifectas
Democrats have new trifectas in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Oregon, bringing our total number of trifectas to sixteen. Our previous trifectas included Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia. Republicans current have nine ten trifectas in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. This is a dramatic turnaround in trifectas since the 2000 redistricting fiasco that led to our current electoral maps.

Where we gained
Overall, Democrats gained at least one seat in one or both chambers in forty-one states, while Republicans gained one or more seat in one or both chambers in only eight states. Here is the complete breakdown (PDF):
  • Democrats gain seats in both chambers: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

  • Democrats gain seats in House, Senate unchanged: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wyoming

  • House unchanged, Democrats gain in Senate: Tennessee

  • Democrats gain in House, Republicans gain in Senate: Maine, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas

  • Republicans gain seats in House, Senate unchanged: Georgia, Mississippi

  • Republicans gain seats in both chambers: Alabama, California

  • No elections / Non-partisan / No change: Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah
It is interesting that Democrats did so much better in House races than in Senate races. In fact, seven of the ten Democratic chamber takeaways came in the House rather than the senate, and the Pennsylvania house could still be added to that total. Since House districts are generally smaller and not very well known, it certainly suggests that there was a broad, sweeping, pro-Democratic undercurrent this year. Despite our huge gains, we might have actually slightly under-performed at a number of levels, given the way the wind was blowing.

What is all means
We have now almost entirely restocked our bench following the 1994 elections. Our list of potential candidates for higher office at every level is now much longer than it was only six years ago. We also are in a position to favorably remake electoral maps in than we were six years ago. Also, by taking a substantial lead in trifectas, now we can govern for the first time in a long time, shifting the national policy debate decidedly in our favor. The trend for us at the state level has been pretty much straight upward from 2004-2006. As the backbone of our national coalition, this makes our majorities and influence in Washington, D.C. all the greater.

Democrats Poised To Take Over The States

Outside of the battle for Congress, and to far less fanfare, Democrats are virtually assured of a major breakthrough in the states. Looking at Jonathan's Governors forecast, I have produced the following projected map of the country's Governorships:



Any state that is "lean Democratic" or better is in blue. Any state that is "lean Republican" or worse is in red. The six toss-up states are in purple (Rhode Isalnd is purple, in case you can't see that). Breaking down this map by congressional district, we get the following:

Democrat: 210 (24 states)
Republican: 185 (20 states)
Toss-up: 40 (6 states)

Whatever worries we may have about Congress, when it comes to governorships, Democrats are on the brink of taking a national majority, in terms of states, population, and congressional districts. In fact, we are practically assured of pulling off all three of those majorities in 2006.

The fun doesn't stop there. The only national majority we currently have comes in state legislatures:Currently, state legislative chambers are controlled almost evenly between the two political parties. Twenty legislatures are controlled by Republicans, 19 by Democrats and 10 legislatures are split (for those who are counting, Nebraska is a nonpartisan legislature). In terms of individual legislators, Democrats maintain the slightest 21-seat majority over Republicans. While more Democratic-controlled legislatures feature narrow majorities, more than any other type of major elected office, local state legislature seats are the ultimate unknowns for voters. This means that what I have previously termed "the generic advantage" will play heavily in Democratic favor this year. For example, in a recent special election for State Senate in Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate won a heavily Republican district by 13%. Across the nation, there have been many other examples like that over the past year as well. I expect Democats to hold most, if not all of their state legislative majorities, and pick up a few more majorities. Where control does not shift, Democrats will either massively increase their leads, or significantly narrow their deficits. We are going to win a lot of state legislature seats this year.

In many ways, whatever gains we make in Congress will simply be an added bonus to our gains in the states. It is in the states where we build our benches for higher office, and our benches had been severely depleted since 1994. It is in the states where progressive legislation will first appear before it is adopted nationally, and even a Democratic Congress in D.C. won't be able to adopt much progressive legislation as long as bush is President. It is also in the states where voters maintain their core partisan identification, and where GOTV operations preside. It is also in the states where the control over much election machinery and congressional maps is held. Controlling the states is the backbone to any national governing coalition. In 2006, Democrats look set to take clear control of the states for the first time since 1994. As much as anything else, that will stop the conservative movement in its tracks, and help change the direction of this country.

The fifty-state strategy is a beautiful thing. This is why we support Democrats everywhere, and why only targeting a handful of states with money form the party committees was such a poor idea.

Primary Super Tuesday #3 Preview

Tomorrow is a huge day for primaries, nearly equal to June 6th and August 8th. Also, it basically marks the end of the primary season altogether. The Massachusetts primary, on September 19th, and the Hawaii primary, on September 23rd, both have the strong senses of being general election campaigns. Whoever wins the Democratic primaries for MA-Gov, HI-Sen, and HI-02 will almost certainly take office in early 2007. However, that is not the case in a number of elections that take place tomorrow. Here are the most prominent races to watch:
  • AZ-08. This is an open seat currently held by a Republican. There are primaries on both sides. The Republican front-runner, according to a poll last week, is Randy Graf, a hard-right theocon and militia advocate. The Democratic frontrunner is Gabrielle Giffords. If Graf and Giffords win, this seat will immediately become an almost certain pickup for Dems, since Giffords has four times Graf's money, since Dems already lead in the generic ballot here, and since Graf is such a wingnut. A Graf--Giffords matchup is the outcome I am hoping for. Politics1 has more on the Arizona primaries.

  • MD-Sen: The Democratic primary between Cardin and Mfume is too close to call, as conflicting polls have shown both candidates with pre-election leads. The winner of the primary should get a very nice bump in the polls afterward, and will be favored against Republican Michael Steele in this open seat. Mfume and Cardin both face cash deficits--especially Mfume--so the race will hardly be a slam-dunk even if the post-primary media blitz does result in a double-digit lead for the Democratic nominee. I am neutral in this campaign, as I have my doubts about both Democratic candidates.

  • MD-04: Another intra-party battle in a safe Democratic seat, this time between challenger Donna Edwards. CQ politics says the race should be close, but I have absolutely no idea of knowing one way or the other. Even if Edwards does not win, I hope she is willing to give it another go in 2008. Al Wynn needs to be replaced, and in a different cycle the progressive movement can get behind Edwards much earlier and with far more effectiveness.

  • NY-19: Like WI-08 below, but even more so, the late primary really hurts Democratic chances in this winnable seat. I think we could have even given a netroots endorsement here is the primary had not taken so long. Several Democratic candidates are running, the most prominent of which, at least money-wise, are John Hall and Judy Aydelott. Incumbent Sue Kelly is beatable, but like many New York districts, the races do not seem to be quite coming together this year. Man oh man do we need earlier primaries in several states.

  • NY-Sen: It will be interesting to see if Tasini can put up a respectable number against Clinton, which I would measure at around 25-30%. I don't think it will happen, but it ill be interesting to see.

  • RI-Sen. Again, I'm cheering for the wingnut in a Republican primary. If Steve Laffey wins in Rhode Island tomorrow, Republicans have already declared they will abandon the seat. They would have every cause to do so, as all polls show Whitehouse at least doubling up Chafee Laffey. Being gifted a free pickup would be a huge momentum boost for Democratic chances in the Seante.

  • RI-02: Progressive Jennifer Lawless is challenging incumbent Democrat Jim Langevin in this district. Lawless is a longshot, but if she wins she will become a member of Congress. No matter what happens here, I am encouraged by the larger number of progressives running in primaries this season, as we are finally taking steps to hold our own party accountable other than self-destructive third-party options.

  • WI-08: This is a very winnable open seat currently held by a Republican. The Democratic primary is a tough three-way battle between Jamie Wall, Nancy Nasbaum and Steve Kagen. Combined, as of 8/23, these three candidates have raised an astounding $3.3M. Given this, if you ever needed a reason why we should hold all of our primaries before Labor Day, this is it. While the Democrat leads in the generic ballot 48-44, I worry that our nominee will not have the time to recover following a brutal primary. Then again, our nominee will emerge with a superior infrastructure and name ID to Republican nominee Gard, so maybe it won't be all that bad. Again, I am neutral in this primary.
Check out Politics1 for a run-down of other races. As much as I have enjoyed it, I will be relieved when primary season is over and we can finally focus entirely on defeating Republicans and Lieberman. Tomorrow is going to be a huge day, and I will be around starting at 7pm to bring you live coverage well into the night. If nothing else, trying to cover this many races at once should give me proper training for November 7th. It should be a fun day.

Thursday Polling Thread

Here are some of the latest numbers on the 2006 campaign. If you have a new poll I missed, post it in the comments.

1.Bush and Iraq: CBS has a new poll (PDF) that asks people what they like most about the Bush presidency, and what they like least. The questions are open-ended, and I compliment CBS on allowing the country to speak for itself by not providing a pre-set list of responses. When not prompted, Iraq is the overwhelming choice of what people like least about the Bush presidency, coming in at 38% of those surveyed. Immigration and the economy were tied for second with 5%, and "Don't know" had 14%. Clearly, when they are not prompted with a list of issues, Iraq immediately rises to the surface as the number one issue on the mind of the electorate, and the number one reason they want a change in Washington.

Far more humorously and tellingly, when it came to what people liked most about the Bush Presidency, "Don't Know" was the clear winner at 34%, and "Nothing" was a strong second at 19%. "Handling of terrorism" was third at 11%, down from 48% in January of 2002. Handling of Iraq came in a distant fourth at 4%.

2.AZ-08: A new poll shows Giffords (D) and Graf (R) ahead in their respective primaries. The election is on Tuesday. A generic ballot poll yesterday showed Democrats ahead 50-46. Graf is a real wingnut who has less than 10% of Giffords' cash. If Graf wins instead of Huffman on the Republican side, this race becomes an almost certain Democratic pickup. Go Graf!

3.Senate: Pollster.com new five-poll Senate averages (margin trend in parenthesis):Really hard for me to see a pickup in Missouri right now, since McCaskill has nearly identical name ID and a lot les cash than Talent, but Bob Geiger disagrees.

4.Governors. Jonathan's Governor's forecast is the most optimistic of our three forecasts--and with good reason. Look at these five poll averages from Pollster.com on Governor's races in Republican-held states:
  • Arkansas: Beebe (D) 49%, Hutchinson (R) 41%
  • Colorado: Ritter (D) 46%, Beauprez (R) 39%
  • Ohio: Strickland (D) 53%, Blackwell (R) 37%
This does not include New York and Massachusetts, where Democratic pickups are virtually assured. Those five states alone, which all look very, very good for Democratic pickups, account for over 15% of the national population. Democrats look very, very good to take a majority of Governorships this fall.

Update: Here is an intereting polling update. A former pollster of both George Bush and Joe Lieberman has been found guilty of fraud because she simply made polling data up.

HTML Version of House Forecast Up

Finally, here is a very easy to look at version of the House forecast:

House Forecast 2006

The good news is that it is now easy to read, easy for me to update, and it has a permanent URL that you can bookmark. The bad news is that it is going to be a severe pain in the ass to add all of the hyperlinks. I still vow to have it all done by Tuesday.

You can now view all three of our forecasts in easy to read html: We are offering sponsorship opportunities for all three forecasts. It looks like the Governor's forecast is already taken, but the House and Senate Forecasts are still available (although one of them might go pretty fast). If your organization or campaign wants to sponsor MyDD's election coverage through a forecast page or in any other manner, please contact me at chris@mydd.com.

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