Original posting: 2018feb06
NOTE: For fairest comparison of the data below (principally derived from results of the 2016 General Elections) on this page with the same data as compiled after the 2014 Midterm Elections, please see our site's 2014 CONGRESSIONAL Political Party Breakdown by SECTION and Region
On this page, the reader will find tables delineating the breakdown of seats held by each of the two Major Political Parties here in the United States of America in each house of the Congress of the United States "as elected" to said seats (more on the concept of "as elected" for purposes of these tabulations can be found below), themselves arranged by SECTION, Region (and even, in a few cases, sub-Region) throughout the country.
As for these three tables themselves: the first such table is, simply, one showing the number of U.S. Senators and Representatives (again, as elected: a concept to be further explained very shortly) from each of the four great SECTIONS into which the United States of America has traditionally been divided- NORTHEAST, MIDWEST, SOUTH and WEST (an alphabetical listing of the States included in each such SECTION- the included States indicated by each State's two-letter Postal Code- is to be found directly above this Table I); the second- Table II- is the same data, only broken down by 'Regions' within each such SECTION (each of which consists of two such 'Region's) and an alphabetical listing of the States- in the form of their respective Postal Codes- included in each such Region appears above this table as well ; and the third- Table III- is a supplementary breakdown of the same data by sub-Regions into which at least two of the aforementioned Regions can be further divided (for reasons discussed, again, in the verbiage beneath these tables).
One final note regarding the concept of "as elected" herein (which precisely determines just which of the two Major Parties- or, for that matter, neither- is said to have had one of its own so "elected" to a particular seat in each house of Congress, the aggregate of same- as applied to each SECTION, Region or subRegion- producing the very numbers which is the data to be found in each of these tables): the most recent Election (whether a Special Election to fill a vacancy or the most recent General Election) determines the Party having so elected one of its own to a particular United States Senate seat-- however, please note that any and all Appointments by a Governor of a State (where permitted) to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate do not affect the data found within the following tables (only an Election of a U.S. Senator by at-large Popular Vote throughout the State is applied herein); meanwhile, as for the U.S. House of Representatives, only the most recent Federal General Election for the entire House (thus, as of this typing [in early 2018], the Congressional Elections of 2016) can be applied to the data within these tables (any and all Special Elections to fill vacancies in the U.S. House since the 2016 Federal Elections are, therefore, ignored, as it seems most fair to only look at Election Results from when all Americans, and at pretty much the same time, were choosing the entirety of the lower house of Congress). Therefore, the most recent elections reflected in the data below are those of 2016 (and, in the case of most seats in the Senate [1/3 of which is chosen for full 6-year terms every two years], elections before even that!), with the singular exception of a Special U.S. Senate Election held in late 2017 (that for the Class 2 United States Senator from ALABAMA)
As for the issue of Party itself, the Party (or lack thereof) seen as having won any given seat in either house of Congress (subject to the definition of "as elected" already explained above) is that appearing on the General Election ballot as that of the winning candidate for that seat: thus, to take one rather recent example (one which no longer impacts upon the data found in the tables below, to be sure, yet it still so well illustrates this point), when U.S. Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski- while serving in her first full 6-year term in the Senate, to which she had been elected as a Republican in 2004- sought re-election to that body, as a Republican, through seeking her Party's nomination to a second full term in the Primary Election in her State come 2010, she was defeated for re-nomination by that Party; however, she subsequently ran for re-election in the 2010 General Election as an Independent write-in candidate and, in so doing, ended up defeating both the nominee of her own Republican Party and the nominee of the Democratic Party for her Senate seat, thereby winning a second term in the Senate. For purposes of the tables below, therefore, Lisa Murkowski was (back when this was still an issue regarding said tables) considered to have been re-elected as an Independent (and not as a Republican)- despite her having subsequently joined the Republicans in the Senate, for purposes of Party organization within that body, upon her having been sworn in for her second 6-year term come January 2011: for, in truth, she was- back in November 2010- an Independent "as elected" (after all, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate on the 2010 General Election ballot in Alaska had actually failed to win that Senate seat)! Of course, when she sought a third full term as a Senator in 2016, Ms. Murkowski was- in fact- actually elected as a Republican (thus, she once again is considered to be a Republican "as elected", and is so considered for purposes of the tables below).
Now-- on to the relevant data itself (in which, Democrats [as Dem] appear in normal typeface; Republicans [as GOP] appear in italics; and those who were actually elected as neither Democrats nor Republicans [as other] appear in boldface)- a simple way to differentiate between these columns in each Table below):
TABLE I. Current Political Party Divisions in each house of Congress "as elected" by SECTIONs of the United States of America
TABLE II. Current Political Party Divisions in each house of Congress "as elected" by Regions within the United States of America
TABLE III. Current Political Party Divisions in each house of Congress within certain 'sub-Region's within the United States of America
As both Joel Garreau, in his now-nearly four decades old The Nine Nations of North America, and Colin Woodard- in his much more recent American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America- so well and correctly (though only up to a point! [as is explained below]) note, the very concept of a constituent State of the American Union is not so easily shoe-horned into a concomitant concept of SECTIONS and their included Regions throughout the United States of America. Indeed, those States which are divided between more than one Garreau/Woodard 'Nation' (and this is especially so as regards any State that might be divided into more than two) contain both the seeds and the roots of much politicoeconomic- as well as sociocultural- tension (and even contention) to, themselves, be as potentially politically polarized (perhaps even politically unstable!) as the very Federal Republic of which they each, by constitutional definition, are a part.
Yet the fact remains that that very Federal Republic is a federation of States and not of SECTIONS and their own Regions (or, if you might prefer the terminology of Messrs. Garreau and Woodard, 'Nations') per se: after all, each State of the American Union sends two United States Senators to the upper house (the quintessential "second chamber", in Political Science terms) of the Congress of the United States and, while each such State is entitled to at least one member of the U.S. House of Representatives (the lower house or "first chamber" of that same Congress), no Congressional Districts (in those States which, by virtue of Census-determined population, are entitled to more than one Representative in Congress) are constitutionally permitted to cross State lines.
In addition, each State is its own 'republic' (as the Declaration of Independence of 1776 itself so declaims in print: these are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES [plural: only those much greater fears accompanying the so obvious failure of Confederation in the late mid-1780s forced these into a federal Union!])- each with its own 'President' (its Governor) and 'Congress' (its legislature, by whatever name it might be called), as well as its own Judiciary acting independently of, albeit concomitantly with (as each State's judges are "bound" by "the supreme Law of the Land"- per Article VI, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution- "any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding"), the Federal courts. Whatever "pushing and pulling" within a given State the political and social demographics, the economic and cultural realities, might transpire as a result of its- perhaps- having portions of itself within different 'Nations' as these might have been defined by such as Messrs. Garreau and Woodard, a State is-- well--- a State, is still a State!
Thus, in analyzing the Political Party breakdown within Regions and Sections of the United States of America, it is still at least somewhat useful to arrange said Sections and Regions into which the American Nation is, seemingly, divided by States (or, to here paraphrase the great early 19th Century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall: it is the political relationships within a federation we are expounding here!).
To this end (and despite any and all caveats suggested by the above-cited works of Messrs. Garreau and Woodard being well kept in mind), the United States of America has been divided- as regards the tables seen above- into SECTIONs and Regions (as well as a few sub-Regions) primarily based on those historical factors here more directly related to (in particular) forms of local governance in each State (although some adjustments based on more recent political trends within certain States have also been made while making these determinations).
The NORTHEAST contains the following two groups of States:
NE 1: the New England States in which Town[ship] government historically was- and, for the most part, yet remains- the principal element in local governance below the State level (what with the quintessential New England 'Town Meeting' and Counties- where these might still function in the region- reduced, in these States, to exercising but minimal judicial and, perhaps, administrative functions])... NE 1, therefore, consists of the following States (in generally North-South geographical order):
NE 2: the so-called Mid-Atlantic Region, consists of the following States (again, in generally North-South geographical order):
NE 2 can, further, be divided into the following two subgroups of States:
NE 2 A consists of the current three States of the American Union which were already part of New Netherland at the time  of the English takeover of New Amsterdam (now New York City and, at the time, the effective 'capital' of this Dutch colony on mainland North America), these being: New York State, New Jersey and Delaware. What is now eastern New York State and northern New Jersey (actually, that which would become, from 1676 until 1702, East Jersey) had been New Netherland from the time [in 1624] Peter Minuit (at least allegedly) purchased 'the Manhattans' (traditionally, Manhattan Island itself but, more correctly, the entirety of the lands surrounding what is now New York Harbor and all the islands within same) from local natives for items worth a mere $24; meanwhile, what is now southern New Jersey (that is, what would be [again, from 1676 to 1702] West Jersey) and Delaware had been (since 1638) the core of that 'New Sweden' which was taken over by the Dutch in 1655 (though, in fact [and despite its altogether brief rule by the Kingdom of Sweden] New Sweden had been, at least at first, largely underwritten by Dutch investors [indeed, the aforementioned Peter Minuit was also New Sweden's first Governor!]). In any event, the area now encompassed by these three States developed- from, first and foremost, its Dutch roots and, later (particularly in New York and New Jersey), enhanced by emigration directly westward from New England, especially after the central and western portions of "Upstate" New York had been wrested from the native Haudenosaunee Confederacy [the so-called 'Five (later, Six) Nations of the Iroquois'] in the wake of the American Revolution)- a strong tradition of rather strong local government second only to that which had evolved in New England (as already described above)...
indeed, New England-style 'Town Meeting' was utilized in a New York State which also originated the so-called 'Supervisorial System', in which the chief officers of all the Town[ship]s in a County- the 'Town Supervisor's- also served as ex officio members of that County's Board of Supervisors (similarly, in New Jersey, 'Chosen Freeholders'- "chosen", that is, by each Township during 'Town(ship) Meeting' to [originally] represent the Township before its County Court of Quarter Sessions- evolved into the County Board of Chosen Freeholders for much the same reason): thus, although- quite unlike the situation in New England- the Town[ship]s in both New York and New Jersey shared the functions of sub-State local government with their respective Counties, the Counties in these two States were still generally (as was the case in a New England in which the County did- and still does- comparatively little [if, as regards Southern New England nowadays, anything!]) subservient to its Town[ship]s (as it was the direct representatives of the Town[ship]s actually governing the County as a whole). Since the earliest days of the Republic, both New York and New Jersey have come to abandon the 'Town[ship] Meeting' (and, in addition, most Counties in New York State no longer even utilize the 'classic' Board of Supervisors, while- in New Jersey- the Boards of Chosen Freeholders are now elected by the voters of the Counties at-large): however, the notion of stronger 'Home Rule' yet prevails throughout much of these two States.
Delaware, meanwhile, had developed (under English rule, as the 'Three Lower Counties' of Pennsylvania) units of local government- called 'Hundred's- which came to, more and more, function as but convenient administrative subdivisions of its Counties as the Pennsylvania approach to organizing local government (to be described shortly) overwrote- throughout the Colonial Period- a stronger local governance which had been laid down by the Dutch (in such places as Zwaanendael [now Lewes, Delaware]) [and, in fact, the 'Hundred' itself has, long ago, become vestigial]).
NE 2 B consists of the two States of Maryland and Pennsylvania (in the latter of which, unlike the case in New York State [and even more so, as regards New England!], the Townships would come to function as mere administrative subdivisions of the Counties [hence, for instance, Pennsylvania's so-called 'Commissionary System' of County Government (where a County Board of 'Commissioners'- elected separately from those chosen to govern each of a County's Townships- has shared, generally equally, local government functions with the Townships)]: indeed, 'Township Meeting' was never firmly established in Pennsylvania). Meanwhile, Maryland- like neighboring Delaware- once had a local sub-County unit called the 'Hundred' (long since abandoned in that State), the result of its being, in essence, an "extension" of Virginia during the Colonial Period (in fact, the 'Hundred'- an ancient subdivision of the English 'shire' [= county]- was first utilized in Virginia). Indeed, the antebellum sociocultural connection with Virginia had Maryland (along with, sometimes, Delaware) included in the SOUTH (both Maryland and Delaware were 'Slave states' before the Civil War) throughout the 19th Century, but Maryland- like Delaware- has become (from the 20th Century now into the early 21st) so firmly ensconced within the so-called 'Northeast Corridor' "Megalopolis" that both Maryland and Delaware are now, so very clearly, well within the political culture of the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Pennsylvania and Maryland- despite the fame (perhaps overmuch) of that 'Mason's and Dixon's Line' first run to settle their common border during the Colonial Period- have one significant historical commonality: they were each founded (albeit for different reasons!) on a basis of religious tolerance (for Christians, at least) during a 17th Century in which colonies established by the English (Dutch-supported colonies, such as New Netherland [see above], were another matter) tended to have little, if any, of that; in addition, both Pennsylvania and Maryland- unlike the three other States of the Mid-Atlantic have, even to this day, their respective "feet in the doors" of neighboring SECTIONS of the country (Pennsylvania having exported its 'Commissionary System' of local government to parts of the MIDWEST [as noted below]; Maryland- like the nearby SOUTH- utilizing the 'Strong County' model [also to be explained below]) and, therefore, considering these two States together, and apart from what came out of the aforementioned New Netherland (New York, New Jersey and Delaware), can be more useful.
The MIDWEST consists of the following two groups of States:
MW 1: the 'Upper' Midwest-- largely settled by those who, at least primarily, had emigrated directly westward from New England and New York and their immediate descendants moving on even further westward (as a result, New York's 'Supervisorial System' of County Government [already described above] came to prevail herein: Michigan, Wisconsin and most of Illinois have utilized Townships as the basic unit of local government with, if only at first, 'Township Meeting' and the Township's Supervisor [or, in Wisconsin, the Chairman of a Township's Board of Supervisors] serving ex officio as a member of the County's Board of Supervisors]- although Michigan has since abandoned this system in favor of a County Board of Commissioners; meanwhile, in Minnesota (although it never adopted the aforementioned 'Supervisorial System'), the 'Township Meeting' also came to be widely used. All in all, in most of the territory of these four States (except for sparsely populated areas [or, in the case of Illinois, those "Downstate" Counties with stronger Southern influence]) Townships became rather robust units of local governance, despite these Townships almost always being coterminous with the rectangular 6 miles-a side 'Township's laid out as a result of the Federal Public Land Survey and, thus, a concept of local governance in which the Townships are at least the co-equal of the County of which they are a part has colored the political culture of these four States... thus, MW 1 consists of the following States (in generally geographical order, East to West):
MW 2: the 'Lower' Midwest-- largely settled primarily by those who had emigrated directly westward from Pennsylvania and their immediate descendants moving on even further westward (as a result, Pennsylvania's 'Commissionary System' of County Government [already described above] came to prevail in Ohio and Indiana and on over to Iowa. With the County sharing- yet exerting predominance [via a County Board being elected separately from those governing each of its Townships, which tended to place said Townships in a, more or less, advisory role relative to the County] over- local government functions, the Township tended to not be so robust in such States [and, as in Pennsylvania (and for much the same reason) 'Township Meeting' was never utilized in this Region of the country])... MW 2, therefore, consists of the following States (in general East-West geographical order):
The SOUTH consists of the following two groups of States:
S 1: the 'Upper' [also known as the "Border"] South-- that is: the Tidewater plus that swath of States settled primarily by those in the "hills" generally due west of said Tidewater and the associated Piedmont who then moved overland more or less directly westward along with, over time, their immediate descendants moving even further westward. These took with them a noticeably looser form of local governance than that which tended to prevail to the north (for there were to be no organized governmental Townships below the County level [clan and family connections (originally predominantly those of the landed gentry within the area of origination, but not any the less so amongst the "common people" in and, then, beyond the Appalachian chain) being more important than any others at the most local level], leaving the County as the only element of local governance [in fact, in at least four of these States (Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and, later, West Virginia), the essence of the old County Court (of 'Quarter Sessions') would not completely yield its traditional administrative authority to a more modern elected County Board] and, thus, the County became a rather powerful force within whatever political culture developed below the State level). This Region proved to be- as it yet, to this very day, remains- an effective 'buffer zone' between the widely disparate political and social cultures of the "Deep" South (see below) and those sections of the country to the north of it (the NORTHEAST especially, but even- to much extent- the MIDWEST); it also contained most of the Unionist sentiment below the so-called 'Mason/Dixon Line' (extended westward in the National Mind of the early to mid-19th Century so as to follow the Ohio River) going into the Civil War and, indeed, the States in this Region proved rather reluctant to secede from the Union as the clouds of said Civil War grew in both size and darkness into early 1861 (only four of the six States of this Region in existence at the time would belatedly join the Confederacy [and only after the firing on Fort Sumter in April of that year had signalled the onset of that conflict] and the seventh State- West Virginia- itself thereafter seceded from one of these 'Upper South' Confederate States!... thus, S 1 consists of the following States (in general East-West geographical order):
S 2: the 'Lower' [also known as the "Deep"] South-- that is: the Coastal Lowlands of the Southeastern United States and that swath of States settled primarily by those from said Lowlands (generally Plantation owners and their families accompanied by retinues of slaves moving more or less directly westward across what came to be called 'the Cotton Belt', after the very crop that came to symbolize the political and social culture of this Region). Plantations owned by a single family tended to be as large (if not even larger!) than many a Township (in some cases, approaching the size of an entire County!) in the northern tier of States and, since the Plantation owner was- to all intents and purposes- 'the Law' on his own land, there seemed to be no real need for local governmental units at all below the level of the County itself (thereby, such as beats, precincts and wards became the more common units of 'civil division' in this Region of the country): here, then, the County came to reign even more supreme than in the "Border" South to the north (hence, for example, the prevalent image of the quintessential all-powerful Southern County Sheriff in American literary and cinematic culture). The States included in this region are those which, having seceded from the Union as 1860 became 1861, had already formed the 7-State core of a Confederate States of America by the time of the firing on Fort Sumter: even after the Civil War, the governmental 'Strong County [or Parish, in Louisiana]' system engendered in this Region continued to prevail within these States. 'Tis true that the inclusion of both Florida and Texas have, lately, become rather problematic in this regard (for, so obviously, South Florida is today far more a part of the Caribbean Basin than North America [Miami having much closer ties to, say, San Juan or Santo Domingo than to, say, Atlanta or New Orleans (let alone Charleston or Richmond!)]; yet, even to this day, enough of Florida- about which it is so often said "the further north, the more South"- remains tied, as regards its overall political culture as a State, to the SOUTH to allow it to still be considered a part thereof; difficult issues related to the inclusion [or not] of Texas in this Region, meanwhile, are the more tied to that State's sheer geographical size (through which Texas has its proverbial "foot in the door"s of more than one Region of the country), but those Americans who first settled Texas while it was still part of Mexico between 1821 and 1836 [and, thereby, established the very foundations of the State's political culture] had brought slavery along with them [and to an area which had, shortly after Mexico's own independence, already banished slavery, thereby planting the very seeds of a significant sociocultural dispute between Texans and Mexicans almost from the start], along with [and more importantly, certainly over the nearly century and a half now since the Civil War ended] that same 'Strong County' system of local government found in the rest of the Lower South)... therefore, S 2 consists of the following States (again, in general East-West geographical order):
Finally- last, but certainly not least (especially considering the role of a California nowadays electing nearly 1 out of every 8 members of the U.S. House of Representatives!)- we have the WEST made up of two groups of States, the first of which is large enough in area (despite its relatively sparse population as compared to the rest of the United States) to itself be divided into two subgroups, as follows:
W 1 is the Interior West which consists of all Western States which are landlocked-- that is: which do not (with the singular exception of Alaska, the inclusion of which as 'Interior' will be explained below) border either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. This denomination for the Region is also something of a pun, as it is this same area which happens to contain- more than any other Region per these divisions of the country used herein- most of those Federal Lands under the oversight of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Herein, more than anywhere else, the overall low density of population has well colored forms of local governance: sparse population has meant the Township has proven to be generally quite useless (although the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma would come to form governmental Townships, Oklahoma would later abandon them-- while in the other four 'Township States' in the region, the Township is nowhere universal and, even where it is still used, it is nowhere near as robust a local unit of government as it is within either Region of the MIDWEST; in addition, in the majority of the States of this Region in which the Township has never been used, any and all constitutional provisions allowing for eventual Townships are, if only figuratively speaking, nowadays well covered in a rather thick layer of cobwebs [the artificiality of the rectangular Public Land Survey 'Township' and the relatively sparse population of this Region- largely due to local climatological factors in any event- combining to make this so]!). Needless to say, the 'Commissionary System' generally prevails in those States with Townships [for nowhere is the 'Supervisorial System' found in its purest form!]) and, outside the now-four 'Township States' (again: North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas), the use of the 'Strong County' system of sub-State governance prevails ... W 1 can be, in turn, divided into the following two subgroups of States:
W 1 A consists of all those States in the Interior West most of the territory of which was never part of Mexico (or its predecessor polity, the Viceroyalty of Nueva España ['New Spain']); put another way: it consists of all those States generally carved out of either the old 'Indian Country' [the northerly regions of the old Louisiana Purchase remaining- if only temporarily- unorganized after the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848] or the old 'Oregon Country' after the agreement to divide it between Great Britain and the United States along the 49th Parallel (indeed, the entirety of the northern border of most of W 1 A is this self-same 49th Parallel nowadays separating the United States from Canada). Alaska, however, is also included herein (despite its being surrounded by water on three sides, not to also mention its being located to the west of- rather than the south of- Canada) because, first, it happens to be even more sparsely populated than the rest of this Region of the country and, second, because it, too, contains quite a lot of the aforementioned Federal Lands under Department of Interior supervision... thus, W 1 A consists of the following States (from South to North, then East to West [and North (to the Future?) again]):
W 1 B, however, consists of all those States in the Interior West which were- at least mostly, if not entirely- once part of Mexico (as well as Mexico's immediate predecessor polity, Nueva España). Indeed, the only portions of today's United States that were once part of Mexico not so included herein are Texas (for reasons already explained above) and California (which will be dealt with shortly). Herein, elements of Spanish colonial/Mexican culture (in the form of the norteamericano [for short, norteño] subculture) have managed to tenaciously hold on- despite the incorporation of this section into the United States for now well over a century and a half- and 'Anglo' local governmental norms (such as Townships below the County level) were not ever well able to override an area, parts of which were already under some form of early European-imposed local governance while the Original 13 United States were all still British colonies! This, combined with the same relative lack of population density as is found in the other sub-Region within the 'Interior West', has also contributed to the prevalence of the 'Strong County' model of local government (outside of more modern incorporated Municipalities below the County level, of course)... therefore, W 1 B consists of the following States (in, more or less, geographical order):
W 2 is the Pacific Coast and consists of the four remaining of the 50 constituent States of the American Union not already assigned to regions/sections as above-- these being (in geographical order from South to North and then out into the Pacific itself):
California, like Texas and Florida above, is also problematic (like Texas [along with W 1 B above], California was also once part of Mexico/Nueva España [the aforementioned norteño subculture has certainly colored both Southern- as well as Coastal- California (except for the northernmost reaches of same)] and, again like Texas, California's sheer geographical size- at least as compared to its neighbors- allows it to potentially be placed in more than one Region)-- but the fact is that treating the entire Pacific Coast of the United States (along with a State that is- by its very existence- nothing but 'Pacific coast': Hawaii) as a single entity makes the most sense for purposes of the above tables. As in the rest of the WEST, the 'Strong County' (again, outside of incorporated Municipalities below the County level) prevails herein as the basic system of local governance below the State level.