The collapse of Democratic control on a state level has been documented for some time. One glaring effect of it can be seen when comparing partisan trifectas, where one party controls the Governor’s mansion and both state legislative chambers. As of right now, Republicans have such total control in twenty-five states, the Democrats, just six:
One of these six is in danger of falling Saturday: Delaware. Democrats have enjoyed a string of Gubernatorial victories since the early 1990s, and have dominated the State Senate for over four decades, but Republican gains in Senate elections put them just a seat shy of control late last year. Enter Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, formerly the State Senator of the Tenth District. With her vacancy of the seat, the 21-member body became evenly split, with ten Republicans and ten Democrats.
The special election to fill her seat is being held Saturday, and it has been awash with cash as State Senate control hangs in the balance. In 2014, Mrs. Hall-Long won by just 267 votes. The district went solidly for Clinton last Fall by a margin of 13,071 to 9,497 votes, but both Democrats and Republicans aren’t spending like it’s a foregone conclusion: a PAC backing Democrat Stephanie Hansen, First State Strong, has spent more than $380,000, and a PAC backing the Republican John Marino, FirstStateFirst, has spent over $35,000. Total spending in this tiny sliver of Delaware has exceeded half a million dollars already.