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Smart Politics Projections: South Dakota House

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Republicans to flirt with 50-seat mark once again in lower chamber

Current partisan split
Republican: 46
Democrat: 24

Incumbents
Republican incumbents: 28
Open Republican seats: 18
Democratic incumbents: 21
Open Democratic seats: 3

Unchallenged seats
No Republican on the ballot: 11
No Democrat on the ballot: 20

Analysis
Just like the State Senate, Democrats are ceding nearly 30 percent of House seats to the Republican Party this cycle, with 20 slots unfilled in the 35 dual-member district races. However, opportunities for GOP pick-ups are a bit slimmer, as Republicans already control 66 percent of House seats, compared to 60 percent of Senate seats.

Still, in past decades, Republicans have reached even the 55 and 60 seat marks, so there is certainly some room for GOP gains, particularly with the Democratic struggles at the top of the ticket in 2010.

However, due to the large number of open Republican seats (largely due to term limits) and the strategic placing of one Democratic candidate on the ballot in some districts, the GOP will not be able to quite maximize the number of seats the current political environment would otherwise indicate. Instead, expect modest net GOP gains.

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +3
Partisan control: GOP hold

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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