2018 state legislative races identified as among most competitive in country as GOP looks to shift power

2018 state legislative races identified as among most competitive in country as GOP looks to shift power


A view of the Capitol from November 2014.

Connecticut is one of 10 states with “battleground legislative chamber races” coming in 2018, according to a report Thursday from Ballotpedia, a website that focuses on elections.

The report said Connecticut’s 2018 House and Senate races are among 15 races in 10 states that have the potential to result in a shift in power and be more competitive.

The website, which tracks elections nationwide, also said states with competitive races have the chance to see an influx of independent expenditures from organizations around the country.

“Outside groups are targeting chambers in 2018 in order to influence their partisan control,” Ballotpedia state in its report, adding it is “tracking these organizations and the chambers they are targeting.”

Ballotpedia’s website includes coverage of local, state, and federal elections and related issues, as well as a history of election results.

It’s report Wednesday identifies Connecticut as having competitive races in large part because Democrats have already seen their majority erode in recent elections. They held a 24-12 majority in the Senate, for example, after the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections, but have seen that slip to an 18-18 tie.

House Democrats, meanwhile, held a 114-37 margin after the 2008 election, but have seen that slip to just a seven-seat majority after last November’s vote.

Democrats have held control of the House since 1986 and the Senate since 1996, but Ballotpedia said the trends indicate Republicans could flip control next year. The report also states that the competitive gubernatorial race — Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy isn’t seeking re-election — could also mean more of a push to flip control of state government.

Rob Oldham, a writer for Ballotpedia’s state legislative project, said Republicans have done a better job in recent years gaining control of state houses. Republicans, for example, currently hold 34 of the nation’s 50 governor seats and control 32 state legislatures.

District lines will also be redrawn in 2020, when new census data becomes available, something Oldham said could result in more outside funding flowing into competitive states.

State Elections Enforcement Commission Executive Director Michael Brandi said the state “has been aggressive from the start with some of the strongest disclosure laws in the country.” He said the state has no real ability to stop independent expenditures, but disclosure requirements allow voters to see where those funds come from.

“People who want to make independent expenditures in Connecticut have to report them as soon as they are incurred, report them directly to SEEC and that information is made public virtually instantly, through our website,” he said. “Independent expenditure communications have to reveal who paid for them, and who contributed to the people who made them, which is a depth of disclosure almost unparalleled in any jurisdiction.”

msavino@record-journal.com 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino

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