2 Things to Know Today: November 21
House and Senate Make-up: Lots of Red…
The Arkansas Senate and House of Representatives will be overwhelmingly Republican with lots of folks new to the job in the next legislative session that starts Jan. 9.
Republicans will have a supermajority with cushion, more than enough to cover bills that require even a 3/4 vote. However, Republicans aren’t necessarily homogenous, and even members within the party come down differently on issues such as interfering with private businesses, banning abortion in cases of rape or incest, and other key concerns.
While the Democrats aren’t a big enough group to pass any measure on their own, they are large enough that where they swing their votes will impact those issues.
How does this compare to the make-up of Arkansas at large?
- 34% of Arkansans identify as Republicans
- 23% identify as Democrats
- 32% identify as Independents.
The major difference? There will be NO Independents in the state legislature, despite Independents making up 32% of the population. Sen. Jim Hendren, the state’s only Independent, is retiring from the legislature at the end of this year.
Democrats are only slightly under-represented in both the House and Senate, while Republicans are widely over-represented. That tracks with polls showing that most Independents in Arkansas lean conservative and tend to vote Republican.
…And lots of new folks
More than a quarter of the House members will be new, while 31% of the Senators will be new to the Senate – though just 14% will be new legislators given that 6 of them served previously in the House.
** I should add that these numbers presume that Mark McElroy wins the House District 62 race. More info below.
1 Recount ends, 1 Recount begins
The House District 56 recount was completed Saturday with no change to the outcome. The Conway area seat ended up being a hold for Democrats, with incumbent Steve Magie winning by 10 votes over Republican Trent Minner.
☑️ Magie still won by 10 votes.
🔷Magie 4,052 (D)
🟥Minner 4,042 (R)
🟨Heffington 273 (L)
We can expect those results to be certified by Wednesday, Nov. 23.
There is currently a recount underway in the District 62 race in the Delta. It started at 9 a.m. Monday. But can it really be a recount if there was never a count to start with? That race is part of the of the mess in Phillips County, where the election commission STILL hadn’t (as of Monday at 9:30 a.m.) reported any totals to the Secretary of State.
Without the Phillips County totals, Republican Mark McElroy was leading Democrat Dexter Miller by 618 votes. Miller requested the recount. In addition to Phillips County, the district includes Lee County and parts of Desha, Arkansas and Monroe counties. We will keep you posted on the outcome and any numbers from Phillips County.