The number of crossover districts – 16 in total – is extremely small in historical comparison, but continues a downward trend that reflects the increasing political polarization of our nation. There were 35 crossover seats after the 2016 elections, an increase from 2012 but a sharp decrease from the 83 seats created by the 2008 democratic wave. For much of the post-war period, there were 100 or more such districts, according to the Brookings Institution. To find a lower percentage in a presidential year, one has to go back to the GOP landslide of 1920 when there were only 11 crossovers.
These counties are now concentrated in only 11 states as you can see in our "Hexmap" which shows all the counties at the same size (see here for a traditional geographic map version). Pennsylvania, however, has the unique distinction of being the only state in the nation that has both a Biden Republican and a Trump Democrat seat: the 1st and 8th districts, respectively.
The first, located in the Philadelphia suburbs, is held by Republican MP Brian Fitzpatrick, an eternal Democratic goal that has always managed to get to the top of the ticket. He did so again in 2020 when his district shifted from a 49:47 lead for Hillary Clinton to a larger 52:47 win for Biden. Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick held back the Democrat Christina Finello with a healthy margin of 56:43.
The 8th, anchored by Scranton / Wilkes-Barre in the northeastern part of the state, also went bluer, although it still held for Trump: in 2016 he backed him at 53-44, but this time with a much narrower 52-47 spread . Democratic MP Matt Cartwright prevailed against Biden and beat Republican Jim Bognet 52-48.
But Pennsylvania also contributed to the decline in crossover seats as the 17th district in the suburbs of Pittsburgh moved from supporting Trump 49-47 to supporting Biden 51-48. Democratic MP Conor Lamb, who is currently considering running for the Senate, was lucky enough to hold Republican Sean Parnell off in a tight 51-49 race.
At the other end of the state, the heart of Philadelphia gave up the undisputed new holder of the title of "bluest district in America". That now belongs to Democratic MP Dwight Evans' 3rd district, a black-majority district that backed Biden by a thunderous margin of 91-8. That leaves California's 13th district, held by Democratic MP Barbara Lee and favoring Biden 89-9, just barely. It also ousts the 2016 champion, New York's 15th District, who has fallen to eighth overall with 86-13 biden.
Now that our efforts at the Congress level are complete, we will soon focus on cracking the presidential election results for the country's 6,764 legislative districts that we expect to keep us busy for some time.
But before we shift gears, we want to recognize a long list of people who selflessly helped us collect hard-to-find data and patiently answer our many arcane questions, people without whom this project would never have been possible. We are especially grateful to Derek Willis and his team for the invaluable OpenElections project, dedicated to collecting and publishing election results, and to Benjamin Rosenblatt of Tidal Wave Strategies, who worked tirelessly to track down data from every district of New York City.
We are also obliged to:
the incomparable Adam Bonin for all the Pennsylvania counties that he carries in his pocket, like so many nickels and dime;
Jeanne Albert, who has graciously molested local officials on our behalf for years;
Gabe Rosenberg for his magic in the Connecticut Secretary of State;
Our data collection volunteers: Mike Piel, Dovid Holtzman, Neal Traven, Graham Crowe, Jason Parsley, and John Ray;
TC McCarthy and John Tomanelli on Newsday for making the impossible possible in Nassau County;
Future Now's Aaron Kleinman and his team of data collectors;
Shiro Kuriwaki, who taught us about voting results; and
Jacob Alperin-Sheriff, Ben Forstate, Venkat Ranjan, Jayanth Uppaluri, Lisa Needham, Jeff Smith, Arik Wolk and James Newton.
Lastly, we have to thank the sponsor of our "Pres-by-CD" project, Jeff C., who popped up behind the scenes in early 2009 to direct our first attempt to compute this data when we were still known as Swing State Project. Jeff has brought a level of rigor, transparency, and accuracy to the endeavors that lead us to this day and he continues to give us his unique advice.
P.S. We have one last request to all readers: If you use our data, we would be very grateful if you would quote the daily Kos elections with name and link to us. Thank you!
● AL-Sen: Attorney General Steve Marshall said Thursday he would not seek the Republican nod for that open seat.
● PA Sen: Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announced Thursday that he would join the Democratic primary for this open Senate seat and received immediate confirmation from the American Federation of Teachers. Kenyatta would be the first colored LGBTQ person to serve in the upper chamber, as well as Pennsylvania's first black senator. Kenyatta joins Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the primary, while a number of other prominent Democrats are also considering running for the successful resignation of GOP incumbent Pat Toomey.
Kenyatta was elected to a safe blue seat in north Philadelphia at the age of 28, making him the first LGBTQ member of the color legislature. He was also a prominent replacement for Joe Biden during the presidential and legislative elections.
On the Republican side, businessman Everett Stern recently entered the competition with significantly less press coverage. Stern is the founder of Tactical Rabbit, which calls itself "a private intelligence agency that provides customers with legal, business, and national security information." PennLive also writes that Stern, who was considering a major 2016 bid against Toomey, "is little known to some in Top Republic circles".
However, Stern was also in the news in 2012 after serving as a whistleblower against his employer, banking giant HSBC. The Justice Department fined HSBC $ 1.9 billion for "violating US sanctions for doing business with countries such as Iran and North Korea and violating the provisions of the Enemy Trafficking Act and other money laundering laws" . "
● FL-Gov: Democratic MP Charlie Crist said Thursday that he would likely decide this spring whether he would run to regain his previous job as governor.
● NY-Gov: Rep. Tom Reed recently told Politico that he was considering moving to the Republicans nomination to take over Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo. The page adds that while Reed made no commitments, "several Republican activists have said they are far from planning anything but his candidacy."
Another Republican has been campaigning for the post since June last year, but Michael Carpinelli, who serves as the sheriff of sparsely populated Lewis County in the far north of the state, hasn't attracted much attention.
● WI-Gov, WI-Sen: Politico reported on Friday that Reince Priebus, who served as the first of Donald Trump's four chiefs of staff in the White House, is considering an offer against Democratic Governor Tony Evers. Priebus hasn't said anything publicly, but both the Associated Press and WisPolitics.com soon added that Priebus was also considering running for the Senate in case his fellow Republican compatriot, incumbent Ron Johnson, decides to retire.
Johnson appears in no rush to announce his plans, however, and an unnamed source told AP's Scott Bauer that Priebus "is far from making a decision" on whether to face Evers. Bauer also notes that Priebus, who lived in DC for a long time, is no longer a registered voter in the state he wants to run, which could be a ballot box liability.
And if Priebus is running for governor, he'll almost certainly have to go through a competitive primary before he can go up against Evers in this swing state. Badger state politicians see Rebecca Kleefisch, who served as Lieutenant Governor of Scott Walker, as anything but safe. Bauer also reports that Rep. Mike Gallagher, former Rep. Sean Duffy, and lobbyist Bill McCoshen are also considering getting on, although there is no further information on their deliberations.
Priebus himself only participated once in the election, when he lost a close race for a Senate seat to Kenosha in 2004. Priebus took over the presidency of the state party before successfully attempting to remove his former ally Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2011. (Amusingly enough, Steele, who sponsored Joe Biden last year, is also considering running a run for the governor in Maryland this cycle.)
Priebus stayed in that post for six years until Donald Trump selected him as his first chief of staff. Priebus spent a little over six months in the White House before being unceremoniously fired, though he later blunted to Trump's failed re-election campaign.
● NY-11: Army veteran Brittany Ramos DeBarros, who served a year in Afghanistan, announced Thursday that she would seek the Democratic nomination for newly minted Republican Nicole Malliotakis.
DeBarros, who describes herself as an "Afro-Latina," launched her campaign by positioning herself as a "progressive Democrat" challenging "Donald Trump's favorite Republican in New York." It would be very difficult to win as an anti-Trump candidate in a Staten Island seat he took between 55 and 44 last year, but the upcoming round of restructuring could see Democrats change the landscape here dramatically.
● OH-11: Cuyahoga County Councilor Shontel Brown received confirmation Friday from Democratic MP Joyce Beatty, who represents a Columbus-based district in the southwest of that Cleveland constituency.
● UT-04: Former Democratic MP Ben McAdams recently said the Deseret News He was considering a rematch against Republican incumbent Burgess Owens, who ousted McAdams 48-47 when Donald Trump carried that Salt Lake City seat by a much larger margin of 52-43 last year.
McAdams seems in no hurry to make up his mind, but as he said, "I think Rep. Owens should be given every opportunity to succeed, and as Utahn and American, I want him to succeed." For his part, Owens used his first week in office to vote for Joe Biden to win the presidential election.
● AK State House: Alaska's State House finally agreed on Thursday how to organize with a successful vote, but the bipartisan coalition responsible for the chamber still lacks a formal majority and has to rely on outside support to pass important bills to adopt.
This democratically-led alliance, a little inappropriately known as the majority coalition, now has a membership equal to exactly half the seats in the House of Representatives: 14 Democrats, four Independents, and two Republicans, one of whom, State Representative Louise Stutes, was a little more elected speaker than one week. The other, MP Kelly Merrick, cast the decisive vote for Stutes, but had initially said that she would not join the coalition, although she has since been accepted into the group.
After the speaker's vote, a member of the GOP caucus, MP Sara Rasmussen, announced that she would no longer team up with her Republican counterparts and would serve independently, albeit keeping her party label. In turn, Democratic MP Geran Tarr left the coalition to operate alone after retiring as co-chair of the House Resources Committee.
However, both Tarr and Rasmussen voted for the coalition's preferred committees so they could go into effect by 22-17 votes (one Republican was absent). This move will finally allow lawmakers to start doing business a month after the legislature's session begins. However, in order to pass future laws – including the vital state budget – the majority coalition must continue to be supported by at least one of these two unaffiliated members or by the Republican caucus.
● Cincinnati, OH Mayor: Candidates' submission was closed on Thursday for the May 4th impartial primary to replace the rejected Mayor John Cranley. The Democrats appear to be well positioned to maintain control of this post. Alderman Christopher Smitherman, an independent player who has often won with Republican support, had been guessing about his plans by observers until the last day of qualifying, but he eventually announced he would not run.
Two Democratic colleagues from Smitherman also dropped out of the race shortly before the registration was closed. P.G. Sittenfeld had looked like the dominant leader until December when he was arrested by FBI agents for bribery. Sittenfeld maintained his innocence and continued his campaign until Thursday when he finally got out. Councilor Chris Seelbach, who would have been the city's first LGBTQ mayor, also left the race on Wednesday.
Nine people eventually signed up, and the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that this is still the largest field since voters began electing mayors in 2001. (The post previously had little actual power, merely changing city council members, including Jerry Springer in the 1970s.) The top two voters will advance to the November 2nd general election.
The field includes four currently-elected officials, all of whom are Democrats. Probably the best-known contender for Digest readers is Hamilton County's clerk Aftab Pureval, who lost a high-profile race to District 1 Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio in 2018. Another former opponent of Chabot is Councilor David Mann, who was mayor twice under the old system and was elected to Congress in 1992 before being ousted by the Republican two years later. (Cranley also lost to Chabot in 2006.)
Team Blue also includes Councilor Wendell Young and Senator Cecil Thomas, who would each be the second African American to be elected for the job. The other three Democratic candidates are physicist and businessman Gavi Begtrup, retired firefighter Raffel Prophett, and perennial candidate Kelli Prather. There are also two independents in the running: tech businessman Adam Koehler and Herman Najoli, who received less than 5% of the vote in a November race for the Hamilton County Commission.
● New York City, NY Mayor: Attorney Maya Wiley received confirmation from New York's largest union, 1199 SEIU, on Friday ahead of the June Democratic primary. This working group, which represents over 200,000 healthcare workers, is also the first of the four major city policy unions to campaign for the success of retired Mayor Bill de Blasio. The others are SEIU 32BJ, who represent construction workers and airport workers; the Hotel Trades Council; and the United Federation of Teachers.