Re: Historic GOP Gains in State Legislatures

by John Hood

If I’m reading the updated vote totals correctly, state legislative races around the country are showing a trend that is extremely favorable to the GOP.

Republicans appear to have taken over Democratic state senates in Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. They appear to have taken over Democratic state houses in Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. That’s a 19-chamber pickup (earlier, I said 20, but I miscounted). The GOP fell just two seats short of taking the Iowa senate and didn’t move the needle in the Alaska senate, which remains tied.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a handy source for election results, but they haven’t yet posted seat counts for legislative races in New York, Oregon, and Washington. The New York senate, at least, was considered competitive going into Tuesday, and as of 11 a.m. this morning, the chamber is tied with a very real possibility of Republicans getting to a majority when final counts are posted (there are three close races). Still, even with those three states missing from the nationwide totals, Republicans currently claim a majority of senate and house seats across the country, a first in modern times.

Finally, look at the states with both Republican governors and legislatures. They now include key political battlegrounds such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wisconsin, plus Tennessee and Alabama which are catching up to most of their Southern neighbors in this regard (North Carolina, Mississippi, and Arkansas remain the outliers, the first two still having divided governments and the latter a fully Democratic one). In addition to crafting pivotal congressional-redistricting maps next year, these states are going to be laboratories for conservative governance in the months and years to come. Not coincidentally, they could also prove to be incubators for future Republican candidates for federal office.

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