Elections

In the limited November 2007 election, voters delivered once again for Democrats although Republicans made gains in one key Southern state. Democrats won control of two state legislative chambers and have the majority in 23 state legislatures, more than they have held since 1994 —the year that Republicans drew to parity with Democrats at the state legislative level. Incremental gains in 2007 added to big wins in 2006 give Democrats a healthy lead in both total legislative chambers controlled and total legislative seats.

The three gubernatorial elections that took place in 2007 maintained the 28 Democratic governors to 22 Republican governors split that developed following the 2006 gubernatorial elections. The cost of running for governor continues to be expensive, and after several years of no forced gubernatorial exits from office, in March 2008 we watched the governor of New York resign from office due to a personal situation.

THEREFORE, BE IT SO RESOLVED that The Council of State Governments
strongly supports the Regional Primary concept designed and endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State.
 

2002 was a major election year for legislatures, with over 85 percent of all seats up for election, resulting in more than 26 percent turnover among legislators in election states. The Republican Party netted more than 175 legislative seats across the country and wound up with more seats than the Democrats for the first time in 50 years. Republicans now hold control of 21 state legislatures, compared to 16 for the Democrats. Twelve legislatures are split between the two parties and Nebraska is nonpartisan.

When it comes to voters’ reactions to initiatives and referenda on the ballot in 2002, “cautious” was the word of the day. Amidst concerns about war, terrorism and the economy, the voters once again defied party labeling and voted their conscience when it came to ballot measures. In a time of great uncertainty, voters picked through the list of statewide ballot measures and systematically made their feelings known, while at the same time not revealing whether their underlying principles lean more liberal or conservative. The great race to categorize the voters’ political beliefs will once again have to wait for another election day.

Until recently, literature about the effects of term limits was by necessity speculative in nature. However, a recent multistate study undertaken by three legislative organizations and a team of political scientists has begun to outline the changes taking place in term-limited state legislatures.
 

This article examines the success of the states in redrawing state legislative-district lines after the 2000 Census of Population. It describes the trends of this decade and highlights state experiences in dealing with both old and new issues in redistricting. Whereas the redistricting round of the 1990s was quite litigious, the 2000 round was less litigious with the states having high levels of success in adopting plans without judicial interference.

Judicial elections in 2000 and 2002 were far “nastier, noisier and costlier” than ever. Of the five states with hotly contested judicial elections in 2000 (Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio), only Ohio and Mississippi were lively again in 2002. But contrary to long-standing tradition and law, judicial elections are becoming more like other elections.

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections and changes in gubernatorial powers.
 

Chapter 6 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

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