While most are focused on the happenings, or lack of happenings, in Washington, DC, some would say that the real governmental action is quietly happening at the states’ legislature levels.
Nationwide the Republicans have worked hard to win states’ Legislatures and Governorships. They have succeeded, and are reaping their rewards.
Thirty states have both chambers of their Legislatures held by Republicans. Democrats control both chambers in only 11 states. New York is one of eight states that has each party controlling a chamber. Those figures have completely reversed from 1978 when the Democrats controlled both chambers of 31 states, and the GOP 11 states. Pew Research has an informative article and chart showing the change from 1978 to today. Five states (West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Alaska) have Republicans in the majority in both legislatures and a non-Republican Governor. The following link lists data that describes the composition of all 50 states’ Legislatures and Governorships.
Twenty-Five States have a Republican controlled Legislature and a Republican Governor. Many of those states have proposed laws that are anti woman, restricts voting, civil rights, gun control and other cultural-war issues. Most of those laws are variations of Koch Brothers supported American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The New York State legislature is split–the Republicans have a slight edge in the NYS Senate, 31-30, with two vacant seats. One vacant seat was a democratic seat; one was a republican seat. In the Assembly, the Democrats have enough seats (103-44) to have a Super Majority.
As we all should realize, New York State is not only split by the party, but geographically Upstate and Downstate. Although the unofficial dividing line between the two is fuzzy, the voting results are pretty clear. The Upstate/Down State political phenomenon has been explored and analyzed by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
The Assembly shows the State’s political parties pattern well. Long Island, represented by Assembly Districts 1-21, is generally controlled by Republicans. They hold 13 seats to the Democrats’ seven. One district is represented by an Independent.
New York City, represented by Districts 22 to 87, is overwhelmingly Democratic. They hold 62 of the 66 assembly districts. Republicans hold two Assembly seats (both are in Staten Island), the Working Family Party holds one, and one seat is vacant.
The NYC suburbs (Rockland and Westchester Counties), Districts 89-97, are all represented by Democrats except one, which is held by a Republican.
The Republicans and Conservatives dominate Upstate, Districts 98-150. They hold 27 seats out of the 52 spots, where the Democrats control 23. The farther north and west you travel the more Red Upstate becomes. The Democratic Assembly members generally represent districts around cities.
The pattern is similar for the New York Senate–Long Island is nearly all Republicans, NYC and its Suburbs are Democratic, the rest are mainly represented by Republicans except there are a few Democrats representing cities.
Although we are preparing for hard fought and mostly close federal elections (Presidential, Senate–Sen. Schumer’s term is up, and Congressional–Tom Reed vs John Plumb) in 2016, we can’t forget New York State elections. If one Senate seat is flipped from Red to Blue, New York State would be one of the few states with a democratic Governor, Senate and Assembly.
What does that mean for the NY 23rd? In upcoming articles we will review our current State Senators, Assembly members, and the issues they will face.
Are you satisfied at how our four Republican State Senators and 13 Republican-7 Democratic and 1 Conservative Assembly Members are representing us? We should start to think about that question soon.