Quick Hits On State House Races
As we begin our coverage of the 2011 state legislative races, here are some numbers of interest.
- There are 122 members of the House. Every member is up for re-election. Of the 122, 72 are Democrats and 50 are Republicans. Republicans are up to their high-water mark since Reconstruction thanks to three members who have switched parties since the 2007 election. Those members are Sid Bondurant (HD 24), Billy Nicholson (HD 78), and Scott Bounds (HD 44).
- The average first year of service for Democrats is 1995. The average first year of service for Republicans is 2001.
- The average minority percentage of the districts represented by Democrats is 52; with Mark DuVall’s district having the lowest percentage for a Democrat at four percent. All 39 majority-black districts are held by Democrats. Just nine of those Democrats faced general election opponents in 2007.
- Only 29 Democrats total faced general election opponents four years ago. And just 20 Republicans had a general election opponent last time around (two of those were as Democrats).
- Eight Republicans were held under 60 percent in 2007. Ten Democrats won with less than 60 percent of the vote. One candidate won with less than 50 percent- Russ Nowell who won with 46 percent of the vote in a race that included an independent candidate who earned more than seven percent.
- The narrowest victory among total votes? Brandon Jones (HD 111) who won by 11 votes.
- 20 Democrats hail from districts where Haley Barbour won at least 55 percent of the vote in 2007. 14 of those members voted for Billy McCoy as Speaker of the House.
- Of the Jeff Smith for Speaker caucus among Democrats, just two represent districts where Barbour did not win 50 percent of the vote. This includes seats held by Robert Johnson and Chuck Espy. In 2007, the caucus included 13 Democrats but it is now down to 10 after three party-switchers.
- Nine Democrats are serving their first term (including Wilbert Jones who won a special election in 2009). 13 Republicans are in their first term (including Scott DeLano who won a special election in 2010). Further, first-termer Tad Campbell has already said he’s not running.
- Right now we have two other open seats for the GOP: Steven Palazzo who resigned after winning the Fourth District Congressional election and Dannie Reed who is running for Agriculture Commissioner.
Just some numbers to think about as we turn our focus on both the state House and Senate races, and work toward answering this question: can the Republicans capture a majority in both houses in a little more than 11 months?