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The 2014 elections produced many interesting and unusual results. A prime example of this involves the states of New Hampshire and Maine. New Hampshire is generally considered to be the most Republican state in New England, while Maine is usually considered to be bluer. However, in 2014, the Senate and gubernatorial elections in New Hampshire were both won by Democrats, while the Senate and gubernatorial elections in Maine were both won by Republicans. Why did Democrats hold up relatively well in New Hampshire but do much worse in Maine?

The answer to this question is best illustrated by a comparison of two very demographically similar regions in New Hampshire and Maine that usually vote in similar ways, but voted in strikingly different ways in 2014.

Follow me beneath the fold for more.

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Part 1: the State Legislature

This diary is the second part in my series of analyzing the 2014 election results in Maine. My first diary analyzed the state legislative results. This diary will look at Maine’s two statewide races of 2014: the races for Governor and U.S. Senator.

Only one of these races was truly competitive. However, both races feature many interesting patterns in their results that demonstrate both larger trends and trends that were limited to either these particular candidates or this particular election. In Maine, more so than in other states, candidates matter, and that was clearly evident in these elections. I will also present some maps of these elections, to further illustrate these trends and allow accurate comparisons between elections to be made.

Follow me below the fold for my detailed analysis of these elections.

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This diary is the first in a series that will examine the 2014 election results in Maine. This diary will look at both houses of the state legislature. For each district, I will examine the voting patterns of the different geographical areas of the district as well as point out any trends that are noticeable from the results.

Warning: This is a very long diary. It does, after all, mention 186 different elections.

Here are Stephen Wolf's maps of the state senate and state house districts of Maine. You may want to have these open in another browser window as you read this diary.

This is a map of the state Senate results in Maine this year. The districts are outlined.

ME 2014 state senate results

This is a map of the state House results in Maine this year. The counties are outlined to give a better view of where each district is.

ME 2014 StRep results

Legend:
Darkest blue: 80%+ for Democrats
Dark blue: 70-79.99% for Democrats
Normal blue: 60-69.99% for Democrats
Lighter blue: 55-59.99% for Democrats
Lightest blue: 50-54.99% for Democrats
Yellow: No candidate received an absolute majority of votes
Pink: 50-54.99% for Republicans
Normal red: 55-59.99% for Republicans
Brown: 60-69.99% for Republicans
Dark red: 70-79.99% for Republicans
Darkest red: 80%+ for Republicans
Gray represents towns won by independent candidates. White represents towns where no one voted. Green represents uninhabited townships.

In addition, a useful resource while reading this diary might be my series of diaries on Maine's political geography, which can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/...

Let's begin below the fold... with York County!

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I don't have enough time to do a complete write-up of the 2014 Connecticut State Senate races, but I at least wanted to get my ratings out there. So this diary contains a table of the 36 State Senate races in Connecticut. The table contains the names of the Democratic and Republican candidates for each seat, as well as the largest town in each district, the partisanship of each district, the incumbent's percentage of the vote in 2012 (if the incumbent is running for re-election), and my ratings for each district.

CT 2014 StSen ratings

Incumbents are shaded.

These ratings result in:
14 Safe D seats
7 Likely D seats
1 Lean D seat
2 Tossup seats
2 Lean R seats
1 Likely R seat
9 Safe R seats

I would be happy to discuss these ratings with anyone who is interested.

Discuss

Many people have been saying for a while that as time went on, and Election Day got closer, many supporters of independent candidate Eliot Cutler would move over to Democrat Mike Michaud in the Maine gubernatorial election. I have been listening to these comments for many months, not sure whether they were correct or not. I recently decided to analyze whether this comment was correct or not, and I soon found that the answer was inextricably related to… gay marriage?

Yep, it sure is. Follow me below the fold to see how.

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The Pennsylvania State Senate is one of the most gerrymandered state legislatures in the country. Republicans currently control it 27-23, however that includes several Democrats precariously perched in some strongly Republican districts in Western Pennsylvania while Republicans hold a few light-blue seats in Eastern Pennsylvania. The next opportunity to redraw the state senate districts will be in 2021, and if Democrats have the opportunity to draw themselves a favorable map, I decided to find out what sort of map they could draw.

There are several rules to be followed in Pennsylvania redistricting. Districts must have a deviation of less than 5 percent from the ideal population (thus, the maximum deviation is about 12,700 people). Municipalities and city wards are to be split only when absolutely necessary. The actual map splits more municipalities and wards than necessary, while my map splits only three municipalities (excluding Philly and Pittsburgh) and does not split any wards of those two cities.

This map would guarantee a Democratic majority in the State Senate in almost any year, and even in a year like 2010 Dems would still be favored to keep the majority. Let’s go beyond the fold to look at the map!

This diary is posted to Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos subsite. Please read the DKE Mission Statement. Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy or preference. Welcome aboard!
This diary does NOT invite comment on the ethics of gerrymandering, or on any policy issue.
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In 2010, the voters of Florida voted on a constitutional amendment, the Fair Districts Amendment (FDA), which purported to require the districts of both the state senate and state house of representatives to be compact, respect geographical and political boundaries, and not favor or disfavor any political party. The amendment (and a similar one that put the same restrictions on congressional redistricting) passed with over 62 percent of the vote, more than the 60 percent needed to pass. One would think that this would result in non-gerrymandered districts. However, Florida Republicans, who were in charge of redistricting in 2011, drew a set of maps that, while a bit tamer than the 2001-2011 maps, are still Republican gerrymanders. I have often wondered what the Democrats could have done if they were in charge of redistricting but still had to follow the rules of the FDA.

Thus, the purpose of this diary is twofold: One, to show what sort of maps the Democrats could have drawn if they had the opportunity to draw the maps, and two, to demonstrate just how toothless the Fair Districts Amendment really is. The biggest flaw of the FDA is that it leaves the redistricting pen in the hands of the state legislature rather than giving it to an independent commission.

If the Democrats had control of redistricting in 2011, they could have drawn themselves maps that would have all but guaranteed them majorities in the state legislature in all years better than 2010, even while still following the FDA. I present these maps below the fold.

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This is an overview of the 2014 state senate elections in Maine. In this diary, I will go through every race, discussing the candidates and the outlook of each race. This diary is an update of my earlier diary on the same subject. Since then, a couple of Independent candidates have entered races, the primaries have taken place, and a bunch of candidates have withdrawn from their races after the primaries and been replaced with new candidates by the local parties. The deadline for post-primary withdrawals was July 29, so now candidates cannot take their names off the ballot. Some of my descriptions and ratings will be identical to those in my previous diary, while others will be quite different.

In 2012, Democrats retook both houses of the Maine state legislature from the Republicans, and are now seeking to defend their majorities. Democrats currently have a 19-15 majority (with one independent) in the state senate, and an 89-58 majority (with 4 independents) in the state house of representatives. My prediction, as of now, is that Democrats will retain the state senate, and may even gain a seat or two.

With that being said, follow me below the fold for the individual races.

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In the wake of my diary about a month ago about the New Jersey State Senate, I was thinking of other states, states where Republican strangleholds on their state senates are largely due to gerrymandering. Michigan is a prime example of this. Despite the fact that Michigan is a blue state, the Republicans not only control the state senate but have a two-thirds majority: 26 Republican seats to only 12 Democratic seats. Now some of that is due to the disastrous 2010 elections allowing Republicans to pick up (or hold) several Democratic-leaning seats, but it is more about the gerrymandering. The rules for Michigan’s legislative redistricting are quite similar to those for New Jersey: No towns or cities can be split unless absolutely necessary, and all deviations must be under five percent (which for Michigan is about 13,000 people). In my map, only four municipalities are split: Detroit (obviously, since it’s the only city in Michigan larger than a district), Livonia (to allow for the creation of an African-American-majority district), Westland (only one precinct is taken out, to allow District 5 to reach Inkster), and Lansing Township (which is not only discontiguous but also allows District 24 to avoid being underpopulated). Besides that, there are no other municipality splits, and I tried to keep county splits to a minimum.

My map would result in Democrats easily being able to get a majority in a neutral year, and possibly being able to hold it in a year like 2010. Michigan is a poster child for midterm dropoff, so I tried to make the Democratic districts as solid as possible while still allowing for as many Democratic districts as possible. As you will see, this was a delicate balancing act, particularly in Oakland County. I present my map and commentary below the fold.

This diary is posted to Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos subsite. Please read the DKE Mission Statement. Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy or preference. This diary does not invite comment on the ethics of gerrymandering. Welcome aboard!

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The New Jersey State Senate is currently controlled by Democrats by a margin of 24-16; an underwhelming margin for a state that voted 58-41 for Obama in 2012. The map that is currently being used was drawn by Democrats, but is not particularly favorable to Democrats; there are several large blue and light-blue towns that are stuck in Republican districts. The rules for New Jersey legislative redistricting are that no town that is smaller than a district may be split (which essentially means that only Newark and Jersey City can be split), and the maximum deviation from the ideal population is 5 percent (which translates to about 11,000 people).

I thus decided to draw a realistic Democratic gerrymander that follows all these rules and would result in Democrats having a much more commanding majority in the New Jersey State Senate. The map turned out even better than I thought it would. The map is shown and each district is presented below the fold.

This diary is posted to Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos subsite. Please read the DKE Mission Statement. Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy or preference. Welcome aboard!

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I decided to take a break from redistricting diaries and instead give all of you more information about my home state of Connecticut. I thus decided to present to you a detailed analysis of the past four congressional elections in Connecticut. These four elections are essentially those that enabled and cemented total Democratic control over Connecticut's five congressional districts. This diary will also present a large number of maps in order for me to illustrate my points more clearly. There are many patterns described here that may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, but when looked at more deeply, make sense.

For each of these four congressional elections, I will analyze the results in each district and explain any trends that are noticeable. Then I will compare the 2008 results by town to the results from 2006, and for the 2010 and 2012 elections I will compare the results to those of the elections both 2 and 4 years prior. The result is that there is a lot of information contained in this diary, and my hope is that when you are done reading you will have a better understanding of Connecticut politics in general, and of the individual politicians in particular.

Without further ado, let's start at the 2006 elections below the fold.

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This is an overview of the 2014 state senate elections in Maine. In this diary, I will go through every race, discussing the candidates and the outlook of each race. A small note of warning: Independent candidates have not yet filed for these elections, and if they do they could have a significant impact on the results.

In 2012, Democrats retook both houses of the Maine state legislature from the Republicans, and are now seeking to defend their majorities. Democrats currently have a 19-15 majority (with one independent) in the state senate, and an 89-58 majority (with 4 independents) in the state house of representatives. My prediction, as of now, is that Democrats will retain both houses with similar margins to what they have now.

With that being said, follow me below the fold for the individual races.

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Does this diary adequately describe the 2014 State Senate elections in Maine?

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| 111 votes | Vote | Results

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