Massachusetts Democrats Poised to Extend Historic US House Election Streak

At 101 in a row, the Bay State already owns by far the largest Democratic winning streak to the chamber among Northeastern, Midwestern, and Western states and passed Virginia for #10 on the all-time list last cycle

massachusettsdemocrats20There are many unknowns heading into Election Day, but one thing is certain: Democrats will once again sweep Massachusetts’ nine U.S. House races.

Republicans managed to field candidates in only four of these nine districts this cycle, managing to challenge incumbents in the 3rd (Niki Tsongas), 4th (Joe Kennedy), 8th (Stephen Lynch), and 9th (Bill Keating) Congressional Districts.

None of these races are expected to be competitive, despite there being only a modest Democratic tilt to these districts of five to six points.

With this impending sweep, Bay State Democrats will add to their winning streak that has reached a level heretofore unseen outside of the Deep South.

Smart Politics reviewed U.S. House elections conducted since 1828 and found that the current 101-seat Democratic winning streak in Massachusetts is more than twice as large as any ever reached by the party outside of the Deep South.

The last time Massachusetts Democrats lost a U.S. House seat was 24 years ago in 1992 when nine-term incumbent Joseph Early was defeated in the 3rd CD by GOPer Peter Blute and seven-term Congressman Nicholas Mavroules lost in the 6th CD to Republican Peter Torkildsen. These two GOP incumbents held their seats in the 1994 cycle.

Since then, Democrats have reeled off 101 consecutive victories in general and special elections conducted from 1996 through the 2014 cycle.

That number will increase to 110 in a row after Tuesday.

To put this impressive streak into perspective, consider the following data.

Since the founding of the Democratic Party more than 185 years ago, the party’s winning streak in Massachusetts is more than twice as large as that achieved in any state outside of the Deep South, where there was effective one-party Democratic rule in many states for nearly three-quarters of a century.

Among the Northeastern, Western, and Midwestern states, the 101-seat run in Massachusetts is 60 seats more than the next closest state – Rhode Island at 41.

Rhode Island Democrats swept every U.S. House race for a 38-year period from 1940 through 1978.

Only three other states in these three regions have tallied Democratic streaks of more than 30 consecutive elections: Maryland at 40 in a row (1930-1941), New Mexico at 33 (1930-1966), and Washington at 30 (1932-1940).

Five other states have seen Democrats rattle off 20+ wins in a row to the chamber: Missouri with 28 (1836-1848), Arizona with 24 (1912-1950), Hawaii with 23 (1956-1986 and 1990-2008), New Hampshire with 22 (1836-1844), and Connecticut at 20 and counting (2008-2014).

[Note: On Tuesday, Connecticut Democrats will likely leapfrog Arizona, Hawaii, and New Hampshire with a sweep of the Nutmeg State’s five congressional districts for a fifth consecutive cycle].

Overall, Massachusetts’ 101-race Democratic U.S. House winning streak is the 10th longest in U.S. history – with each of the other nine states located in the Deep South.

The Republican Party had only a slight footprint in the South for decades after Reconstruction, and many states in the region saw Democrats roll up 200+ consecutive wins in U.S. House races.

Georgia holds the all-time record with Democrats winning 410 elections in a row from 1892 through 1962.

That mark came to an end in 1964’s open seat race in the 3rd Congressional District, where future Army Secretary Bo Callaway defeated former Lieutenant Governor Garland Byrd by 14.5 points.

Alabama is next with 313 straight Democratic victories (1900 through 1962) followed by Mississippi at 294 (1884-1962), Arkansas at 258 (1890-1964), South Carolina at 245 (1896-1964), Louisiana at 225 (1918-1970), and Texas at 175 (1931-1946).

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If the trend in Massachusetts continues, the Bay State would next pass up North Carolina and Florida in the 2022 cycle when the streak reaches 137.

North Carolina voters elected Democrats in every U.S. House race from 1930 through 1950 – a string of 132 straight races.

Florida Democrats won 136 straight contests from 1884 through 1952.

Massachusetts already has a longer Democratic streak than five southern states, passing up Virginia at #10 in the 2014 cycle. The Old Dominion State elected Democrats in 99 consecutive races from 1932 to 1950.

Other southern states with more modest Democratic streaks are Oklahoma at 37 (1932-1938) and Kentucky (1868-1872) and West Virginia (1982-1998) at 32. The other southern state, Tennessee, has never had Democrats sweep all U.S. House races in a single cycle.

Massachusetts Republicans have come within single digits of winning a U.S. House seat just seven times since 1996:

  • 1996 (MA-01): Three-term Congressman John Olver by 5.5 points over State Senator Jane Swift
  • 1996 (MA-03): Jim McGovern by 7.6 points over two-term Congressman Peter Blute
  • 1996 (MA-06): John Tierney by 0.1 points over two-term Congressman Peter Torkildsen
  • 2007 (MA-05, special): Niki Tsongas by 6.2 points over Jim Ogonowski
  • 2010 (MA-10): Norfolk District Attorney Bill Keating by 4.5 points over State Representative Jeffrey Perry
  • 2012 (MA-06): Eight-term Congressman John Tierney by 1.2 points over former State Senator Richard Tisei
  • 2014 (MA-09): Two-term Congressman Bill Keating by 9.9 points over John Chapman

Democrats have won these 101 races by an average of 59.4 points with the GOP failing to field a candidate in 48 of 110 races between 1996 and 2016, or 43.6 percent.

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