Wednesday, September 11, 2013

State Legislative Recalls -- the Party Breakdown

David Nir from the Daily Kos asked me about the D v. R breakdown on successful recalls and whether the recalls actually result in a change in party for the seat.

I've mentioned before that it is very difficult if not almost impossible to breakdown local recalls by party (most local races are nonpartisan). But it is easy to do on the state level.

So first, the Governors. Everyone is aware that Gray Davis was a Democrat replaced by a Republican in 2003. In the first recall, in North Dakota, Lynn Frazier was a member of the Nonpartisan League, but he was considered a Republican. He was ousted in 1921 by a member of the Independent Voters Association, Ragnvold Anderson Nestos. Nestos appears to have also been a Republican. 

For State Legislators we have the following messy breakdown, which I will explain in depth:
6 Democrats – 4 replaced by Republicans
12 Republicans—4 replaced by Democrats
2 Party Flippers (R to Independents) – Both Replaced by Republicans

Since the start of the recall, 13 Democrats faced recalls, 6 of them have lost their seats, four were replaced by Republicans.  One of the recalled officials was for removed under a cloud of corruption (Gary George, Wisconsin 2003). He was replaced by a Democrat. One was a complicated affair from 1914 (E.E. Grant in California), and was probably also replaced by a Democrat (the official who lost the seat to Grant in the previous election).

The other four were Colorado's Morse and Giron, and two Michigan Senators in 1983 (one of them resigned days before the recall). All four of those were replaced by Republicans.

22 Republicans have faced recalls, 12 lost their seats. Yet, only 4 were definitely replaced by Democrats (Wisconsin Senator Gary Petak in 1996 and the three Wisconsin Senators in 2011/12).

Of the others:
Three were crime/malfeasance issues (California, 1913; Oregon 1985; Oregon 1988). One was over a failure to support the Townsend Plan in 1935 (Oregon). They were all replaced by Republicans (the Oregon ones were appointment rather than election).

Republicans lost two seats in 2011 (Michigan's Paul Scott and Arizona's Russell Pearce). Both were replaced by Republicans, though the Arizona one was a much more moderate Republican. Michigan's replacement race was months later, and Paul Scott clearly backed the victor. 

Idaho had two recalls in 1971, both over a pay raise. Both officials were removed – I don’t know who replaced them. I had to call up Idaho’s Secretary of State years ago just to find out their names. I would guess they were replaced by Republicans.

In addition to those officials, two assemblymembers in California in 1995 switched from Republican to independent (both switchers flipped the Assembly). Those two were ousted and replaced by Republicans. 

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