Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of February 8th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of February 8th, 2016)

The Week of February 8th, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

"I can tell you this. I don’t think I would be the president of the Senate if it wasn’t for the efforts you and yours did over the previous elections."

-Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman (R), thanking the Koch brothers-back group Americans for Prosperity -- rather than the voters of Colorado -- for his party's 2014 election wins. Cadman's caucus enjoys a 17-16 Republican majority, making his chamber one of Democrats' top pickup opportunities in 2016.

"Giving public benefits to any person or family that practices Islam is aiding and abetting the enemy. That is treason."

-New Hampshire state Rep. Ken Weyler (R), delivering pre-written testimony before a state House committee hearing. House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D) later called Weyler's testimony "the most outrageous, intolerant, hateful rhetoric that I have heard in over 12 years as a legislator" -- quite a statement, considering how much competition Weyler has had among New Hampshire Republicans.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

New evidence that voter ID laws ‘skew democracy’ in favor of white Republicans

By Christopher Ingraham (Washington Post)
February 4, 2016

Voter fraud is, for all intents and purposes, practically nonexistent. The best available research on the topic, by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, found only 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation in an investigation of over 1 billion votes cast.

But that hasn't dampened Republican efforts to pass a spate of strict voter ID laws since 2008. And it hasn't hurt the public's overall enthusiasm for those laws, either.

But the results of a new working paper from political scientists at University of California, San Diego suggest folks may want to consider. The researchers analyzed turnout in recent elections -- between 2008 and 2012 -- in states that did and did not implement the strictest form of voter ID laws. They found that these laws consistently and significantly decreased turnout not just among traditionally Democratic-leaning groups, like blacks and Hispanics, but among Republican voters too....

Their analysis suggests that turnout for Latino voters was suppressed by 10.8 points in states with strict photo ID laws, compared to states without them. For multiracial Americans, the drop was 12.8 points.

The laws also increased the participation gap between whites and non-whites. "For Latinos in the general election, the predicted gap from whites doubled from 5.3 points in states without strict photo ID laws to 11.9 in states with strict photo ID laws," the study found. For black voters in the primaries, the strict photo ID laws caused the gap with white voters to almost double to 8.5 points.

The net effect of all this? "Democratic turnout drops by an estimated 7.7 percentage points in general elections when strict photo identification laws are in place." Democrats weren't the only ones affected, either. The data showed that Republican turnout was depressed by 4.6 percentage points too.

[Read more]

The Week in Politics: State Legislative Race Predictions

By Alan Greenblatt (Governing)
February 5, 2016

Following the GOP's sweeping success in the 2014 elections, Republicans control 68 of the nation's 99 legislative chambers. They have supermajorities in a substantial number of them.

Democrats clearly want to win back several of the chambers lost in 2014, including the Maine Senate, the Minnesota House and the Washington Senate. One of their best opportunities may be in Nevada, where some Republicans concede that holding onto the two chambers could be a challenge in a presidential year.

"The GOP is playing so much defense this year," said DLCC communications director Carolyn Fiddler. "Our recruiting efforts this cycle have been incredibly successful. We're running a ton of really strong candidates with deep ties to their communities."

Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, admits that his party will have to play defense in his state too to hold on to some of the seats it's accumulated. "We have 63 of the 99 members of the Assembly in a state that hasn't voted Republican for president since 1984," said Vos.

At a time when more people are voting a straight party line, the outcome of the presidential election will strongly influence legislative results.

Speaking at Governing's annual Outlook conference Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Vos said he expected Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, and added that he didn't think she would hurt Democrats downballot. But, he said, "if it's Ted Cruz or Donald Trump [on the Republican side], I think it will have negative downballot effects for candidates in our party." (Vos is backing Marco Rubio in the presidential race).

[Read more]

COMING UP...

February 9

Special Election - Minnesota SD-35
Special Election - Minnesota HD-50B

February 16

Special Election - Alabama HD-05
Special Election - Georgia HD-58

March 1

Special Election - Massachusetts HD-03 (Worcester)
Special Election - Massachusetts HD-09 (Plymouth)
Special Election - Massachusetts HD-12 (Essex)

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

AZ: Arizona bill targets state workers' donations to abortion clinics - Arizona Republic

TX: Anti-Planned Parenthood witch hunt backfires - Longview News‑Journal

Economy

ID: Dems outline agenda, call for leadership - The Spokesman‑Review

WI: Plain Talk: Yet again Wisconsin is choking on Gopher dust - The Capital Times

Education

KS: Kansas Senate Committee Votes To Block Tax Dollars Going To KU Project - KMUW News

Labor

KY: After positioning pro-life bills for floor votes, don't expect the same on right-to-work legislation from House GOP - cn|2 Pure Politics

Redistricting

NC: Lawmakers prepare redistricting appeal, gird for possible special session - Charlotte Observer

VA: Del. Minchew will withdraw controversial Electoral College legislation - Loudoun Times

Voting Rights

AZ: Lawmakers propose changes to Voter Protection Act - Arizona Capitol Times

CT: Merrill pitches making voter registration ‘automatic’ - Connecticut Mirror

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

IA: Krumwiede seeks State Rep post - OurQuadCities.com

KY: The first 10: Most interesting (primary) races to watch - cn|2 Pure Politics

MN: Fundraising reports set tone for tussle over Legislature - Star Tribune

NV: Top 11 GOP primaries to watch in Nevada - Nevada Appeal

NV: Democrats back candidate to challenge GOP Sen. Scott Hammond - Las Vegas Sun

NY: SD-9 Shaping Up To Be A Clash Of Titans - NY State of Politics

EXTREME VOICES

CO: Top lawmaker credits Colorado AFP for GOP power in state Senate - Denver Post

GA: Radio host pleads for challenge to Georgia lawmaker who made KKK comments - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NH: NH GOP Rep: Giving Public Assistance To Muslims Is 'Treason'! - Talking Points Memo

TX: Jonathan Stickland Eats His Words in Tough Primary - Texas Tribune

WA: Rep. Graham Hunt quits Legislature after false military claims - Seattle Post‑Intelligencer

CONTACT

Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
fiddler@dlcc.org