As American politics continues to grow more polarized, statewide elections in many states are being dominated by one party or another – red states represented by Republican senators and governors, blue states by Democrats in both offices.
But in some states, voters defy that trend by electing both Republicans and Democrats to higher office, a phenomenon known as ticket-splitting. In Massachusetts, for example, voters haven’t chosen a Republican senator since reelecting Sen. Edward Brooke in 1972, yet in six of the last eight gubernatorial elections dating back to the 1990s, a Republican has been elected governor.
These split-ticket states have dwindled in number over the past few decades. In 1990, 14 states split senators and governors from different parties. But in the last midterm elections (2018), only six states elected a senator and a governor from different parties – Arizona, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Maine, and Vermont.
This year’s elections could see that trend reverse, however. Of the 26 states having both gubernatorial and Senate races in the 2022 midterms, the University of Virginia Center for Politics predicts that more than a dozen states have the potential to see split-ticket results, including some of the most competitive states in the 2020 elections like Georgia and Arizona.