7 States Where Demographics Haven't Determined Their Political Destiny -- Yet
From weak state parties to regional differences, we look at why these states are defying demographics.
Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent at the fact-checking website PolitiFact. He is also senior author of the 2016 and 2018 editions of the Almanac of American Politics and was a contributing writer for the 2000 and 2004 editions. For Governing, Jacobson has written a column on state politics since the 2010 election cycle, including handicapping gubernatorial, state legislative and state attorney general races. Before that, he wrote a similar column for Stateline.org and Roll Call. He has also handicapped state and federal races for such publications as the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, PoliticsPA.com and the Tampa Bay Times. Earlier in his career, Jacobson served as deputy editor of the congressional newspaper Roll Call, as the founding editor of its affiliate, CongressNow, and as a staff correspondent at National Journal. In 2014, he received the Weidenbaum Center Award for Evidence-Based Journalism from Washington University in St. Louis, and in 2017, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers gave him a Best in Business award for his economics coverage.
From weak state parties to regional differences, we look at why these states are defying demographics.
Following years of turmoil and gridlock in many states, newly elected governors are getting a lot done.
Despite all the teacher strikes and walkouts, voters largely stuck to partisan lines at the ballot box.
Moderate-to liberal candidates won in five states, while conservatives were successful in two.
Their victories mirrored their numerical gains in the governors' races.
If they ultimately flip the four seats where they have the lead, the party would take the majority of attorney general seats nationwide.
They flipped at least three seats.
In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede.
The likely outcome of six races has changed in the last couple weeks, with three becoming tossups. But one thing is still clear: Democrats are set to gain ground.
Eight states have competitive elections next week whose outcomes could influence a number of policies. But these down-ballot races are largely overshadowed.
The GOP is at risk of losing nine seats, while Democrats could lose three. If there's a big Democratic wave, Republicans could lose their majority.
The party's outlook has improved since last month. It's likely to gain between three and 10 seats in November.
Education has emerged as an issue this fall beyond school board and superintendent races.
Since June, six races have shifted in the party's favor.
While they likely won't win a majority nationwide, the party is poised to gain control of some chambers. How many depends on the size of the potential blue wave.
In seven states, third-party candidates could sway the outcome in November.
Just over half of the 36 gubernatorial races are competitive.
In governors' races, many of the challengers are decades younger than their state's current leader. And young voters may be more mobilized.
There are early, but scattered, signs that Democrats will use new tariffs as a wedge issue.
It was unusual 10 years ago. But that's changing.
They have become more competitive in three states -- all where Republicans are currently in power.
In the 10 states holding races, only one looks competitive.
Voter ID battles and cybersecurity concerns have intensified and elevated these races. Republicans have more seats -- and the most to lose.
History suggests that the answer is yes -- but 2018 is a unique year.
Republicans can take some comfort that their state legislative dominance is unlikely to evaporate in a single election cycle.
While they're rarely successful, efforts to remove state Supreme Court justices over policy disagreements are becoming more common.
Most states limit governors to two terms, but not New York and Wisconsin, where Andrew Cuomo and Scott Walker are both seeking reelection this year.
Waves usually just influence congressional seats. But a look at past wave elections tells a different story.
More than a dozen cases on partisan and racial gerrymandering are winding their way through the court system. Two cases, in particular, could become two of the most important this decade.
The GOP holds the majority of governorships, but the number of those vulnerable next year has doubled.
As the practice spreads to more states, Census data suggest it could benefit both parties.
While Democratic AGs go on the offensive, their Republican counterparts are urging Trump to get even tougher against Obama-era policies.
With elections in dozens of states, the leading parties have reason to worry in almost half of them.
We rated races for president, governor, state legislature and attorney general.
Judicial elections weren't a clear sweep for either party.
It was a lesser-noticed but important downballot trend from election night.
Democrats managed to flip the Vermont LG seat blue -- even as the state governorship flipped red.
Unlike the gubernatorial races, Republicans are the ones playing defense.
According to our state-by-state projections, Democrats have their best chance since 2010 to take back control of some chambers.
Few of the best- and worst-performing states were in the same position just three years ago.
The latest state-by-state predictions show Hillary Clinton well-positioned to win in November.
Missouri's soon-to-be former governor talks about his accomplishments and disappointments, party politics and what's next.
Where it exists, it remains popular. But five states have axed it since 2011, and there's a federal push to abolish the option to vote for one party across the ballot.
In some close races, early voting cutbacks and photo ID requirements could impact the outcome.
Funding has replaced Common Core as the major education issue in most state contests.
Top-of-the-ticket insurgents like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders often show little interest in helping other like-minded candidates win lower offices.
Republicans currently dominate the office that holds significant power over elections.
In an interview, Scott Pattison of the National Governors Association says he wants to guide the group through a period of fierce partisanship.
Our latest Electoral College handicapping shows nearly a dozen states are increasingly leaning toward picking a Democrat to be the next president.
Republicans play offense in three states, while Democrats have a shot at flipping one seat.
At one time, the statewide office was mostly held by conservative Democrats. Now Republicans dominate.
Trying and failing to take the White House has historically spelled trouble for governors' future political careers. In 2016, however, there may be one exception.
The Delaware governor, who has led the Democratic and National governors associations, talks about workforce development, the state of governors, the future of his party and more.
Over the past 30 years, there have only been a handful of elections where a governor made a difference in a caucus or primary outcome.
The job prepares politicians for the next level. But not many use it as a stepping stone.
A state-by-state breakdown of the 14 upcoming elections shows where Democrats can take a few seats from Republicans.
From the presidency down, each party is more likely to win elections at certain levels of government. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your political views.
The number of statehouse reporters has drastically declined, but journalists see reasons for optimism.
After more than a decade writing about the states, Louis Jacobson reflects on what he has discovered.
The Republicans will end up increasing the number of state chambers they control by nine.
Why aren't there more female governors? A look at historical data sheds some light on women's campaigns for the top office.
With one month to go, the Democrats and Republicans are in a dead heat to win the most seats.
The Democratic Party is likely to gain a few seats after the GOP's big gains in 2010.
The GOP has more seats in jeopardy since the party's big gains in 2010.
In at least five gubernatorial races this fall, the outcome may depend on how well a third-party candidate fares.
Three candidates running for governor show it's possible to rebound from earlier disastrous campaigns.
Governors like Mitt Romney have typically lost popularity at home when they made a run for the presidency. Will the current governors being talked about as potential 2016 candidates suffer the same fate?
Democrats hold fewer chambers but have more at risk this year than Republicans. Here's a breakdown of what to expect in every state legislature's elections.
A surprising number of this year's rising stars are seeking higher office.
Several state-run insurance exchanges have verged on disastrous, but the states may be too blue to give Republican gubernatorial candidates much of a boost.
Senate races can have coattails for gubernatorial contests, but the impact is far from guaranteed.
Republicans hold the lead in governorships, but Democrats may be making slight gains in this year's gubernatorial races.
We examine the tossup gubernatorial races in the six states where votes will likely matter the most.
As Texans head to the polls in the year's first primary today, we look at how the Republicans are faring in this year’s gubernatorial races.
Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities, who says mayors have more influence with the public than the federal government.
Increasingly, these associations are being used as proving grounds for governors that want to run for a national office.
A look at several states where elections could change K-12 education policy.
How elections in 2014 could shape education policy in the states.
Since we last published a list of 12 state legislators to watch in January 2012, we’ve seen one legislator rocket to national stardom, two abruptly, and voluntarily, leave politics altogether and the rest continue to soldier on in the political trenches.
Here's the rankings for AG offices up for re-election in November.
Some think a new voting process could heal many of the nation's political system's ills.
National Republicans aren't faring well among Hispanic voters. Are state GOP candidates doing any better?
Governing looks at the seats that are currently leaning Democratic.
After Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee joined the Democratic Party in May -- his second switch in six years -- we looked back at how other politicians have fared since a switch.
Some Democratic and Republican states are pushing more ideological policies, but not all.
Last week, we revealed who wasn't in danger. Now find out which 10 AG seats are competitive.
More than 30 attorneys general seats are up for election in 2013-2014. But a whooping 21 are not competitive.
Why don't more governors seek federal office?
Some states are considering a change in how they allocate their electoral votes, but the change may not be good for governance.
The trend suggests fiercely partisan legislatures, but the reality may be more nuanced.
In this installment, Louis Jacobson looks at the 10 governors on the hot seat. Plus, why the GOP has the early edge in the balance of power.
Both parties have chalked up wins at the state legislative level, but the Democrats could have a modest advantage.
Less than half the votes have been counted, but both Democratic candidates in Montana and Washington state are leading.
Conservatives fail to oust incumbents in Florida and Iowa, but the GOP is strong in Michigan and North Carolina.
In most of the contests, the party in power is on its way out -- though that doesn't mean the national balance of power is flipping.
With Election Day looming, a few races go down to the wire. For full election coverage and analysis, go to Governing's Election Center.
Will the 2012 elections lead to big power changes in the state legislatures?
Here's a rundown of the key ballot initiatives in the 37 states holding elections this November.
Could the recent upswing in Obama's poll numbers get him the 270 votes he needs to win re-election?
With 10 offices up for election or reappointment, Governing handicaps the races this fall.
Governing sat down with two of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee's leaders at the DNC last week.
The national spotlight has been known to burn some politicians back home.
Be it resentment toward the big city or the liberal-leaning urban electorate, mayors can't always connect with voters statewide. Just ask Tom Barrett.
A number of political observers, including Governing's Louis Jacobson, have updated their electoral college breakdown predictions. Here is a list of recent breakdowns.
Quite a few governors end up as president. So what skills and experience could a state executive bring to the White House?
Being a businessperson offers strengths and drawbacks for political life.
It's been a year since the governors of the class of 2010 began their tenures. In their first year of office, three Republicans and three Democrats are doing very well.
A year later, Lou Jacobson takes another look at how the 2012 Electoral College votes would divide up depending on if Mitt Romney is not the GOP nominee for president.
A year later, Lou Jacobson takes another look at how the 2012 Electoral College votes would divide up if Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee for president.
Experts are divided on what affect the outcome will have on the 2012 elections.
Keep an eye on upcoming secretary of state races to gauge the future of voter ID and same-day registration laws -- and find political up and comers.
The outlook for upcoming state attorney general races has changed only slightly. Out of six competitive races, Democrats will have to protect four seats versus the Republicans' two.
Closely divided chambers, new redistricting processes and court battles could make 2012’s new maps more important in some states than others.
A very blue state approves a law similar to some the national Democratic Party is criticizing.
By consulting with a network of national and state sources, we've come up with a list of up-and-coming state legislators. Here's a look at the Democratic field.
By consulting with a network of national and state sources, we've come up with a list of up-and-coming state legislators. This week, we look at the GOP field.
Such partisan domination can cause concern for the future of the minority party.
While Republicans cruised to victory in both 1994 and 2010, the class of freshman governors elected in 2010 has proven to be strikingly different, at least for now.
Advocates of smaller government might have an opportunity to reduce the number of seats in state legislatures, but such proposals face a challenging path to enactment.
Colorado's Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams decided to not run for a third term, crystallizing cleavages in state GOPs that could risk their majority party status.
With just under a year to go, nine seats -- all held by Democratic governors -- could go to Republicans.
The GOP is near a high-water mark for legislative seats that dates back to 1928.
While local factors have played a role in certain cases, the major reason for the continuing shift to the Republicans has been the national GOP wave. Be sure to check www.governing.com/politics for live election coverage.
With this analysis, most of the races stay as is, but two contests shift a notch toward the Republican candidate and one moves from lean Republican to tossup.
PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson ranks the governor's races, and predicts a strong election night could leave the GOP with better than two-thirds of the governor's seats.
A lower Latino vote would signal trouble for the Democratic Party in November. So far, there are few signs of the confidence and hope that prevailed at the polls in the high-turnout year of 2008.
Since our last rating in August, four more state attorney general contests are favoring Republicans.
Democrats are poised to lose a slew of state legislative chambers and attorney general offices.
The Democratic peril is especially high this year because it's a midterm election, and some of the biggest landslides for the legislatures have come during midterm elections.
A potent force in local and national politics, no less than 30 state attorney general offices are being contested this fall.