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Status Quo in Uncompetitive Alabama 1st CD Special

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Only one Democrat has won 40 percent of the vote in 25 Yellowhammer State 1st CD races since 1966

bradleybyrne10.jpgRepublican Bradley Byrne's ho-hum victory over Democrat Burton LeFlore Tuesday in Alabama's 1st Congressional District was the sixth special election held in 2013 - and the fifth uncompetitive race.

Byrne defeated LeFlore by approximately a 2:1 margin - an expected outcome in a district where Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in eight of the last 17 general election contests since 1980 (1980, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2000, 2008, 2010, 2012).

In fact, the last Democrat to reach the 40 percent mark in a 1st CD race came in 1984 when Frank McRight narrowly lost to Sonny Callahan with 49 percent of the vote in an open seat race.

McRight is the only 1st CD Democrat to win 40 percent of the vote over the last 25 general and special election contests since 1966.

Byrne fills the seat vacated by Jo Bonner who resigned in August to become the University of Alabama System's vice chancellor of government relations and economic development.

The special election continues a general pattern of cycle-to-cycle partisan stability in a state that, over the course of the last five decades, has nonetheless seen a nearly 180-degree flip in the partisan composition of its U.S. House delegation from 8-0 Democratic to 6-1 Republican.

Prior to the Election of 1964, Republicans had not won an Alabama U.S. House seat since the 1800s, when GOPer William Aldrich successfully contested the Election of 1898 in the 4th Congressional District.

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act in July 1964, Republicans picked off five of the eight seats held by Democrats that November (all eight seats had been elected at-large during the 1962 cycle).

During the next 24 cycles, from 1966 through Tuesday's special election, Republicans and Democrats have each won 87 contests.

Republicans have held 83 seats (82 general election, one special) and picked off four Democratic seats during this period:

· 1992 (6th CD): Spencer Bachus defeated five-term Democratic incumbent Ben Erdreich.
· 1996 (3rd CD): Bob Riley won an open seat race held by Democrat Glen Browder.
· 1996 (4th CD): Robert Aderholt won an open seat race held by Democrat Tom Bevill.
· 2010 (2nd CD): Martha Roby defeated one-term Democratic incumbent Bobby Bright.

Democrats, meanwhile, have also held 83 seats since 1966 (81 general, two special), and picked up four held by Republicans:

· 1966 (4th CD): William Nichols defeated one-term Republican incumbent A. Glenn Andrews.
· 1966 (7th CD): Tom Bevill won an open seat held by Republican James Martin.
· 1982 (6th CD): Ben Erdreich defeated one-term Republican incumbent Albert Smith.
· 2008 (2nd CD): Bobby Bright won an open seat held by Republican Terry Everett.

In short, since 1966, only one U.S. House seat has flipped that did not involve an open seat race or a freshman incumbent on the ballot.

Overall, just 17 of the 174 general and special U.S. House elections in the state since 1966 have been decided by less than 10 points:

· One race in the 1st CD: 1984
· Seven in the 2nd: 1966, 1978, 1982, 1990, 1992, 2008, 2010
· Three in the 3rd: 1996, 2002, 2008
· One in the 4th: 1996
· Two in the 5th: 1994, 2008
· Three in the 6th: 1980, 1982, 1992

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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