Trump's Texas low water mark

The following election speed read comes by way of Dentons 50 partner Ray Sullivan.

Texas Republicans on Tuesday routed their Democratic rivals in every statewide contest and retained their majorities, though diminished, in the state legislature.

Despite their defeat, the election bore some interesting results for the minority party: the state’s largest urban counties (Dallas, Harris, Bexar, and Travis) went heavily Democratic.

Republicans lost four state House seats, including three of six Hispanic Republican House members. The GOP will retain 95 seats in the 150 seat House. There were no changes in the Texas Senate, which has a 20-11 GOP majority.

Despite the expectation that control of one congressional seat could flip to the Democratic column, San Antonio Rep. Will Hurd managed reelection to the U.S. House.

Republicans’ statewide sweep continues a trend that began in 1994, but Republican businessman Donald Trump’s nine-point lead over Secretary Hillary Clinton marks the lowest margin of victory for a Republican presidential candidate in fully 20 years.

Texas was Mr. Trump’s best state for fundraising, providing about $11 million to his campaign’s coffers.

North Carolina barreling into recounts

The following election speed read comes by way of Dentons 50 partner Lisa D. Martin.

North Carolina found itself bracing for possibly three distinct vote recounts as the sun rose Wednesday across the election-weary state.

In the race for the governor’s mansion, Democrat Roy Cooper leads incumbent Pat McCrory by 5,001 votes or 0.11% in the most recent count, falling within the legal margin for a recount.

Other Council of State races that could result in a recount include the attorney general's contest in which Democrat Josh Stein leads Republican Buck Newton by 20,793 votes or .46% and the state auditor's race in which incumbent Democrat Beth Wood leads Republican challenger Chuck Stuber by 3,101 votes or .06%.

The how-to of North Carolina's recount law: A losing candidate may request a recount in Statewide races if their losing margin is within .5% or 10,000 votes (whichever is less) after the final vote is certified in the canvas. Canvas in North Carolina will occur on November 18th.  Candidates have until noon on the following second business day — which is November 22nd — to request a recount.

Wisconsin Republicans rout in historic victories

The following election speed read comes by way of Dentons 50 partner Tony Langenohl.

For the first time since Ronald Reagan won re-election in 1984, Republican Donald Trump carried the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin was a state that Trump visited several times since the Republican primary.  In contrast, Secretary Hillary Clinton became the first presidential candidate not to visit Wisconsin during the general election since 1972.

Wisconsin US Senate Election

For the first time since Republican Bob Kasten won election to the US Senate in 1980, a Republican has won a US Senate election in a presidential election year in Wisconsin.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) was given little chance of winning re-election based on political modeling done by several news outlet.  On Election Day his re-election chance rankings ranged from 1.7% according to HuffingtonPost to 34% the NY Times.

Assembly Election Results

50 seats are needed for a majority in the State Assembly. Prior to the election, Republicans controlled the Wisconsin State Assembly with a 63-36 majority.

Following the elections, Republican successfully defended all of their incumbent seats and increased their majority by one seat, to 64-35, with the defeat of incumbent Representative Chris Danou (D-Black River Falls).

The 64 seats are the most that Republicans have controlled at any one point in recent political history. With the exception of the 2008 election, Republicans have maintained a majority in the State Assembly since 1994.

Senate Election Results

Republicans entered Tuesday with a 19-14 majority in the upper chamber.  Conventional political wisdom had them largely protecting their significant majority, guarding against attempts to shrink their margin.

Republicans protected their incumbent seats and expanded their majority by at least one seat, with Republican challenger Patrick Testin of Stevens Point defeating incumbent State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Plover).  The other race that was too close to call was the race between Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), the minority leader, and former State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse).

Republicans will enter the 2017-2018 Legislative Session with at least a 20-13 majority.  That is the largest majority that either party has had since the mid-1980s and the largest majority Senate Republicans have had in recent political history.

Control of the State Senate has traditionally been volatile, but Republicans have now maintained control of the Senate for four election cycles in a row, the longest streak by one party since the 1980s.

The mechanics of Trump's victory

In the greatest electoral upset in American history, Republican businessman Donald Trump cruised Tuesday to a dramatic victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It was a victory that defied all predictive election modeling and conventional wisdom, catching the political establishment and global markets by surprise. His coattails stretched long, an unexpected down ballot boon for Republican majorities in the U.S. congress and governors’ mansions across the country.

But a look at where Mr. Trump won helps explain why his electoral college margin was so wide. He carried three battleground states—Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio—and separately cracked Secretary Hillary Clinton’s firewall in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In a dizzyingly comprehensive election postmortem Wednesday, Dentons’ public policy and regulation practice dissected the mechanics of Trump’s stunning victory.

2016 was a change election.

2016 was less about Republican versus Democrat and more about outsider versus insider. The billionaire businessman who never before held elected office rebuked the Republican establishment and promised dramatic change. In doing so, Trump tapped into deep economic grievances and concerns about immigration and domestic terrorism. As demonstrated by Senator Bernie Sanders’ strong showing in the Democratic primary, this populist call for change wasn’t limited to the Republicans. It was impossible for Secretary Clinton to represent change in a change election.

Trump appealed to working class voters.

As evidenced by his wins in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Trump tapped into working class voters, many disgusted with the status quo. Trump’s message that Washington is broken and not working for the people carried him through the Republican primary and Tuesday’s election. While President Obama received about 33 percent support from white men without a college degree, Clinton received just over 20 percent support in this demographic group according to an Associated Press study. The Clinton voter of the 2008 primaries became Trump voters in 2016 — and their concentration in tipping point states carried a significant impact.

Rural versus urban demographic trends.

The vote breakdown by county in Pennsylvania and other Rust Belt states demonstrates that Trump’s working-class, antitrade message appealed in the geographies hit hardest by the decline of manufacturing jobs. For example, Secretary Clinton won Philadelphia and its collar counties by over 450,000 votes but could not overcome Trump’s strength in rural parts of Pennsylvania. This trend was replicated in traditional Democratic strongholds throughout the Midwest.

Secretary Clinton underperformed with key demographic groups.

Secretary Clinton consistently underperformed President Obama’s strength with his winning coalition of college educated women, minorities, and young voters. While Clinton bested Trump by 13 points among women, this margin was no better than Obama’s margin in 2008 or 2012 among this same group. Trump, on the other hand, logged support from 70 percent of white men without a college education, besting Mitt Romney’s showing by 10 points.

Republicans “came home.”

Whether because of the plea by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, or the longstanding animus of many Republicans towards the Clinton brand, in the final analysis the party faithful surged towards Trump in the closing weeks of the campaign. Trump successfully solidified his base, and did exactly what every pundit said was necessary to win—expanded his reach.

The 51-page report, which includes a face book of incoming congressional freshman, forecasts the policy contours of President-elect Trump’s administration and the new Congress. Get it here.

Ct. Dems stumble but remain on top

The following election speed read comes by way of Dentons 50 partner Jim O’Brien.

Connecticut Democrats only narrowly maintained their majorities in the state legislature after Tuesday’s election, punished by Republican businessman Donald Trump’s long coattails that stretched further down ballot than many anticipated.

The Republican voter surge nearly upset the balance of power in the state capitol, expanding their numbers in the Senate by a measure of three. The election resulted in an historic tie—a lock of 18-18, the first tie since 1893—that will be decided by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, a Democrat. The razor-thin Democratic majority means an increase in influence for moderate Democrats like Senators Paul Doyle and Joan Hartley.

In the state House of Representatives, Republicans gained eight seats but needed a net gain of 12 to seize control of the chamber, however. It remains, like the Senate, under the leadership narrow Democratic majority, split 79 to 72.

While Republicans fared well in state legislative contests, Connecticut’s five-member Democratic congressional delegation and U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal handily cruised to reelection.