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Last week, in response to speculation that Libertarian Jeff Maurer may get 10% of the vote today, I took a look at the history of third ballot primary access in Indiana. Here are a few other historical tidbits to pay attention to as the results roll in tonight.
When is a last time a Republican won an election in Indiana’s 1st Congressional District/Lake County?
With Jennifer-Ruth Green running a competitive race against Frank Mrvan, I’ve been asked this question several times lately. Let’s start here: Prior to 1931’s redistricting, the 1st District was centered around Evansville, with district numbers snaking up around the state. The northwest Indiana district that contained Lake County was numbered the 10th at that time. For the 1932 election, and ever since, the 1st District has been in the northwest, with numbers snaking down the state. Lake County has been the one constant in the district ever since, and for many years the entire district was just Lake County. No Republican has won an election in that district this entire time. (Note: If you want to see what previous maps looked like and which party controlled the seat in any given year, you can view color-coded historical Congressional maps for each Congress by clicking here).
However, Lake County was entirely represented by a Republican, William R. Wood, for 18 years immediately preceding this. Wood (R-Benton County) served in the Indiana State Senate for 18 years, twice serving as President Pro Tem of that body. He was elected to Congress in 1914, winning every election through 1930 and rising to chair the powerful House Appropriation Committee, before being swept up in the FDR wave of 1932.
So what we think of as the 1st District has not elected a Republican in 92 years. That said, Lake County has at times since been split across two districts. The last Republican to represent any part of Lake County was Steve Buyer from 1993-2003, when the southern part of the county was in the 5th District. And the last Republican to represent the district numbered 1st was Henry Rowbottom, who represented the Evansville-based district of that number from his election in 1924 until his defeat in 1930.
What’s the longest stretch of time one party has held a supermajority in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly?
While Democrats may break the supermajority in the House this year, its very plausible that Republicans retain this status in both chambers for another two years. A quick glance of this visualization of party control of state government I made a few years ago (it updates itself automatically) shows that we’re currently in an unprecedented stretch with a dual supermajority. In fact, if Republicans do retain this status, it means the streak will continue for at least 12 years. The longest previous stretch was only half that, for the six years between 1942 and 1948 when Republicans had supermajorities in both the House and Senate. Republicans have had five other instances of dual supermajorities, twice for four years and three times for two years; Democrats, meanwhile, have had dual supermajorites five times, but never for more than two years at a time.
What makes the current supermajorities even more unique is that the potential 12-year span would coincide with 12 years of Republican governorship. No party has ever had dual supermajorities and the governor’s office for more than four years at a time.
How often have Democrats held the Secretary of State’s office? What about the other statewide administrative offices?
If Destiny Wells wins the Secretary of State race, she would be the first Democrat to do so since Joe Hogsett won the office 32 years ago in 1990. In fact, since the statewide administrative offices become four-year offices instead of two-year offices in 1970, Democrats have held the Secretary of State office for two eight year stretches over the the past 52 years (Larry Conrad from 1970 to 1978, and Evan Bayh and Hogsett from 1986 to 1994). But it’s been even longer since Democrats have won the other races on the ballot this year: they haven’t won the State Auditor race since Otis Cox in 1982 or the State Treasurer race since Jack New in 1974.