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Two State Legislative Districts Have Changed Partisan Control Following Special Elections So Far This Year

Two state legislative districts have changed partisan control following special elections so far this year 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Two state legislative districts have changed partisan control following special elections so far this year
  2. Ten candidates are running in the March 5 top-two primary for California’s 31st Congressional District
  3. Learn what’s next in the 2024 presidential race in the latest episode of On the Ballot

Two state legislative districts have changed partisan control following special elections so far this year 

On Tuesday, Michael Murphy (R) defeated Edith Tucker (D) in the special election for New Hampshire House of Representatives District Coos 6, changing partisan control of the district from Democratic to Republican. As of this writing, Murphy led Tucker 54% to 46%.

The former incumbent, William Hatch (D), resigned in September after moving out of the district for health reasons. Hatch had represented the district since 2006.

Two state legislative districts have changed partisan control following special elections so far this year. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Coos District 6 is the second state legislative district to change partisan control through a special election this year. On Jan. 16, Tom Keen (D) won a special general election for Florida House District 35. Keen, a U.S. Navy veteran and businessman, defeated Osceola County School Board Member Erika Booth (R) 51% to 49%. 

The former incumbent, Fred Hawkins (R), resigned on June 30, 2023, to become president of South Florida State College. Hawkins had represented the district since Nov. 8, 2022, when he defeated Rishi Bagga (D) 55%-45%. Hawkins previously represented Florida House District 42 from 2020 to 2022. 

Before Keen’s win, a Democrat had not represented District 35 since at least before redistricting in 2010.

In Florida, the governor is responsible for calling a special election whenever there is a state legislative vacancy. The governor must consult with the secretary of state to set the election dates and nominating deadlines. In New Hampshire, the governor and executive council must call a special election within 21 days of receiving proof of a vacancy or a request that a vacancy be filled.

Two state legislative districts have changed partisan control following special elections so far this year. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Since 2010, 118 state legislative seats have switched partisan control in special elections. Of those, 63 were Democratic gains, and 49 were Republican gains. Six were minor-party or independent gains.

Four districts changed partisan control in special elections last year. Two went from Republican control to Democratic, and two from Democratic to Republican: 

In even years from 2010 to 2022, an average of seven districts per year changed partisan affiliation. On average, Democrats gained four of those districts, while Republicans gained two. In odd years from 2011 to 2023, an average of 10 districts per year changed partisan affiliation. Democrats gained an average of four districts, while Republicans gained five. 

Twenty-seven state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2024 in 16 states so far this year. Eight have already taken place, including three on Tuesday—Connecticut House District 115 and New Hampshire House Coos Districts 1 and 6.

Ten candidates are running in the March 5 top-two primary for California’s 31st Congressional District 

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling primaries—the battleground elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. 

Earlier this week, we previewed the March 5 Republican primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. You can catch our previous coverage of other battleground races here.

Today, we’re looking at the March 5 top-two primary for California’s 31st Congressional District. Incumbent Grace Napolitano (D) is not running for re-election, leaving the district open for the first time since 1998. Napolitano is one of 40 U.S. House members who have announced they’re not running for re-election in November.

Ten candidates are running. Five lead in endorsements, media attention, and fundraising: Bob Archuleta (D), Gil Cisneros (D), Gregory Hafif (D), Mary Ann Lutz (D), and Susan Rubio (D). Four of the five are elected officials.

Archuleta is running with Napolitano’s endorsement. A state senator and former Pico Rivera city councilor, he earlier served as a police officer and in the U.S. Army. Archuleta said his record as a state senator on protections for veterans, environmental laws, women’s rights, and security reflected his legacy of service, which he would continue in Congress. 

As of Jan. 5, Archuleta had raised $440,000, including $225,000 in self-funding.

Cisneros represented the 39th District in the U.S. House for a single term before losing re-election in 2020. He also served in the U.S. Department of Defense as a Joe Biden (D) appointee and, earlier, in the U.S. Navy. In 2010, Cisneros and his wife won a $266-million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, and used part of the proceeds to fund The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an education-focused nonprofit. 

Cisneros has cited reproductive rights, the economy, and limiting the influence of lobbyists in politics among his key issues. His endorsers include 16 members of the California congressional delegation, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D). As of Jan. 5, Cisneros had raised $610,000, including $500,000 in self-funding. 

Hafif is an attorney and president of The Hafif Foundation, a nonprofit foundation formed by his family. Hafif said his policy priorities included expanding access to healthcare, increasing funding for education, and bringing the inflation rate down. As of Jan. 5, Hafif had raised $720,000, including $500,000 in self-funding. 

Lutz is a former Monrovia mayor and city councilor. She owns a small business that provides electronic court reporting services and previously worked as an advisor to Napolitano. Lutz’s endorsers include the East Area Progressive Democrats, a local Democratic group. As of Jan. 5, Lutz had raised $590,000, including $500,000 in self-funding.

Rubio is a state senator and former Baldwin Park city councilor who previously worked as a schoolteacher. “I represented this community for nine years, so I know very personally and intimately the issues facing families,” Rubio said in November. The National Education Association endorsed Rubio. As of Jan. 5, Rubio had raised $320,000. 

The list below shows a selection of noteworthy endorsements for the candidates above. The list is not comprehensive. For links to official endorsement lists on campaign candidate websites, click here.

Also running in the primary are Pedro Casas (R), Kurt Jose (D), Erskine Levi (No party preference), Y. Marie Manvel (No party preference), and Daniel Martinez (R). The top two finishers, regardless of partisan affiliation, will advance to the general election.

As of Jan. 5, The Cook Political Report, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections with Nathan J. Gonzales each rated the general election Solid/Safe Democratic. In 2022, Napolitano defeated Martinez 59.5%-40.5%.

In this week’s episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, host Victoria Rose sits down with Ballotpedia Staff Writer Ellen Morrissey to unpack the state of the 2024 presidential race.

In the episode, Ellen discusses the results of the Iowa Republican caucus and the New Hampshire primaries, and what those results mean for the rest of the campaign season. Ellen also explains the differences between caucuses and primaries (and why Nevada is holding both this year), and breaks down the different ways states award delegates. Plus, Ellen gives our listeners a preview of what to expect in the February contests in Nevada, South Carolina, and Michigan.

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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