Elections & Campaigns
Post-Election Analysis: Democratic Hopes Dashed after Strong Showing by Republicans in State Races
November 4, 2020 | Bill Kramer, Lauren Doroghazi
A trifecta occurs when the same party holds control of the governor's office and both chambers of the state legislature. After the November 3 elections, Republicans are projected to gain three new trifectas — Montana, New Hampshire, and Alaska — for 2021.
Last Updated November 12, 2020Download Slide Deck
A political party holds a “trifecta” in a state when it controls both state legislative chambers as well as the governor’s office. Pre-election, Republicans held trifectas in 21 states, Democrats held 15 state trifectas, and the remaining 14 states were under split control. When one party controls both the legislature and governor’s mansion in a state, that party has a clear path to pass their preferred public policies without any major roadblocks from the opposition party.
After the November 3 elections, Republicans are projected to gain three new trifectas — Montana, New Hampshire, and Alaska — for 2021. Republicans picked up a trifecta in Montana by winning the open gubernatorial race to replace the term-limited Democratic Democrat Steve Bullock. Most surprisingly, Republicans gained in trifecta in New Hampshire by flipping control of both the House and Senate away from Democrats while Republican Governor Chris Sununu cruised to reelection. In Alaska, Republicans have gained enough seats to wrest control of the House from the coalition of Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans currently in charge. However, in 2018, Republicans appeared to have secured control by winning a majority of seats until a few moderate Republicans helped form the coalition.
Democrats were hoping to break up a number of Republican trifectas by capturing control of several Republican state legislative chambers. But those hopes were dashed with a strong showing by Republican candidates in state legislative races. Democrats failed to take advantage of opportunities in the Iowa House, Texas House, and the House or Senate in Arizona, which would have broken up Republican trifectas in those states. Additionally, Democrats' best shot of gaining a trifecta by flipping control of the Minnesota Senate seems out of reach as well.
In 2021, Republicans are projected to have 24 (+3) state trifectas and Democrats will hold steady with 15 state trifectas.
For even more election coverage, visit MultiState's 2020 State Elections Landing Page, your source for up-to-date and accurate election results and analysis. Bookmark our page for updated maps on partisan breakdown of state governors and legislatures post-election, plus analysis on the races and key ballot measures from our MultiState Insider blog.