Welcome to State Bytes

State Bytes: A Stateside Podcast

Each week State Bytes will feature multiple conversations about all of the states holding regularly scheduled elections - 46 episodes in all, including in the capitol and on the campaign trail insight and perspective. Check your emails Tuesdays and Thursdays for links to new episodes.

Introductory Pod

Join Statesiders, Bob Maurice and Meghan Holihan, over the next five weeks for conversations with local lobbyists, pollsters and other political insiders about the 2018 statewide and legislative races, ballot questions, policies and political trends driving the voters’ decisions on November 6. 



Peter Kellison of The Kellison Company and Clear Advocacy talked with us on August 29 about the upcoming election in the Golden State. Mr. Kellison gives us an overview of the state’s unique primary system and how it effects the general elections in the state. We get an overview of the issues Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and John Cox (R), his opponent in the gubernatorial, are running on. Looking to next session, Mr. Kellison believes that Lt. Governor Newsom (D) will not object to increased spending in the budget as the state coffers are currently very healthy. Additionally, a state-specific issue that will certainly be on the table next session are the ongoing wildfires. More candidates for State Assembly and Senate are running on progressive issues than in the past. Democrats are attempting to gain supermajorities in both chambers. We also explore how initiatives get on the ballot in the state and the current gas tax repeal initiative (Prop 6) that gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R) has led the charge on.



Jon Gubera of Gubera Public Affairs talked with us on September 11 to discuss the legislative races on the ballot in November. We start out discussing the competitive U.S. Senate race and how that will affect these down ballot contests. State level incumbents on the ballot will benefit from the current economic climate Indiana is enjoying. Indiana, unlike the majority of other states, is not witnessing the influx of female candidates or first-time engagers. The Legislature laid out a long-term infrastructure plan last session and doubled the Pre-K pilot program last session. Mr. Gubera tells us what he expects the legislators to tackle in a budget session.



John Oceguera, former Speaker of the Nevada Assembly, from Strategies 360 chatted with us on September 19 about the upcoming gubernatorial race between Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt (R) and Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D), the legislative races on the ballot, and the issues these candidates are running on. Mr. Oceguera, like many others, believes the gubernatorial will be close and will be very dependent on turnout. We discuss which counties AG Laxalt (R) and Commission Sisolak (D) will likely carry and how a blue wave effects those numbers. Additionally, President Trump’s approval rating in Nevada is now higher than it was when he went into office in January 2017 which may play into the gubernatorial race. We discuss the general trends being seen in these down ballot races including the record number of women running for the Assembly. The Legislature comes back after a year off and Mr. Oceguera expects education issues to take priority in 2019.



We chatted with two folks on August 23 for this battleground state – Jason Childress and Joe Leibham from Foley & Lardner LLP - to learn more about Wisconsin’s upcoming general election. We discuss the tight gubernatorial race between Governor Scott Walker (R) and State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), how this cycle’s political climate is affecting it, and how Governor Walker (R) has been preparing for what he has said will be his toughest race. Evers (D) has successfully won three statewide elections and is seen as a middle of the road individual. We examine recent specials that Democrats managed to win in Republican leaning districts and a Supreme Court election won by a liberal Democrat. We discuss the Assembly races and Republicans’ historical margins in the chamber. Jason and Joe also give us an overview of the State Senate races and thoughts on the Democrats’ shot at flipping the chamber.


West Virginia

Curtis Wilkerson from Orion Strategies joined us on September 12 to give us an overview of the unprecedented State Supreme Court scandal and the state legislative races. Additionally, with Senator Manchin (D) at the top of the ticket this year, Mr. Wilkerson discusses the effect on down-ballot races and West Virginia’s political history. West Virginia does not have a gubernatorial of attorney general election in 2018 but folks should not overlook the legislative races in this state. House and Senate candidates are running on multiple issues, mostly specific to West Virginia. Mr. Wilkerson also gives us a glimpse of what could be on the table for the 2019 session.



We chatted with Kim Willson and Rhett Ruggerio from Ruggerio Willson in Delaware on September 12. The state does not have a gubernatorial election but we do discuss the attorney general race including the last-minute Republican candidate’s entry.  Ms. Willson goes over several competitive State Senate races including a Dover area seat. Candidates in these state legislative races are running on a mix of both Delaware-specific issues and national issues including the opioid epidemic and gun control. Mr. Ruggerio anticipates budget forecasting being pushed by the Administration and potentially a gas tax or infrastructure package. Mr. Willson anticipates two hot button issues to come up next session.