Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Pattern That May Impact the Delaware House of Representatives in 2010,maybe not

A lot has been written about how in the off year election after a newly elected president has taken office that president's party often loses seats in Congress. Does it apply to the Delaware House of Representatives as well? A review of the elections since 1964 would say it might .

It happened in 1966 -2 years after Democrat Lyndon Johnson became President as Democrats lost 18 seats in the House:

1964 30 Democrats, 5 Republicans
1966 12 Democrats, 23 Republicans

It happened in 1970 -2 years after Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency as Republicans lost 3 seats in the House:

1968 13 Democrats, 26 Republicans

1970 16 Democrats, 23Republicans

[In November 1974 ,two months after Nixon resigned, the Democrats took a 25-16 majority in the Delaware House of Representatives, for a turnaround of 12 seats within 3 election cycles.]

It happended in 1978 -2 years after Democrat Jimmy Carter won the presidency as Democrats lost 5 seats in the House:

1976 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans

1978 21 Democrats, 20 Republicans

It happened in 1982 -2 years after Republican Ronald Reagan beat Carter as Republicans lost 9 seats in the House:

1980 16 Democrats, 25Republicans

1982 25Democrats, 16Republicans

It did not happen in 1990- 2 years after Republican George HW Bush was elected president and the Republicans gained an additional seat in the State House

1988 18 Democrats, 23 Republicans

1990 17 Democrats, 24 Republicans

It happened in 1994 -2 years after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency as Democrats lost 4 seats in the House:

1992 18 Democrats, 23 Republicans

1994 14 Democrats, 27 Republicans

In 2002, 2 years after George W Bush was elected president, it did not happen, as Republicans picked up an additional 3 seats in the House.

I think this may have had less to do with the Bush presidency than the fact Republican party held a majority in the Delaware House of Representatives and was able to write the district lines during reapportionment which took place between the 2000 and 2002 elections. Four Democrat incumbents (Dave Brady, Rich DiLiberto ,Shirley Price and John Schroeder) found themselves with district lines that made re-election an impossibility in 2002.

2000 15 Democrats, 26 Republicans

2002 12 Democrats, 29 Republicans

Admittedly, issues other than who is currently in the White House affect who is elected as a State Representative in the Delaware House of Representatives, but I found it interesting that this pattern holds up in 5 of the last 7 presidencies. I don't know if it possible to establish cause and effect in this case or whether this pattern is likely to continue.

2000 & 2002 results are from the Elections Archive section of the State Election Commissioner's website:

Prior results are from Table 3, pp 470-488 from Only in Delaware, Celia Cohen, who references the Delaware State Election Commissioner's Office. I assumed she used paper sources at the Dover office.
Unfortunately, on the Commissioner's website elections from 1954-1968 are not currently available.

No comments: