State Legislatures go Republican

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The video depicts a little bit of excitement on the floor of the Alabama Senate in 2007 between two Senators. 

Lost in the attention paid to the marquee races for the Senate, the House and the Governorships, were the huge Republican gains in the state legislatures:

The Republicans’ 60-seat pickup in Congress – the most by any party in a half-century – appears insignificant when you consider that in the New Hampshire state House, Republicans appear to have gained at least 120 seats.

All told, Republicans gained at least 680 state legislative seats nationwide on Tuesday night, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, an outcome that could have far-reaching implications for both parties.

Preliminary results indicate that the GOP gained control of at least 19 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, while holding others where they were already in the majority. Heading into the election, Democrats controlled both houses of 27 state legislatures, while Republicans held both in 14, and eight were evenly divided.

The result is devastating for Democrats in this respect: Many state legislatures control the decennial process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The NCSL now says Republicans have unilateral control of the boundaries of 190 congressional districts.

“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” Tim Storey, elections specialist with the NCSL, said in a news release. “The GOP … finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line-drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”

At a minimum, 54 legislative chambers will be under GOP control when they reorganize, the highest number for Republicans since 1952. They will hold 53% of the total number of seats, nearly 3,900 – the most since 1928.

The massive victories in legislative chambers around the country is probably the most long lasting of the results of Tuesday’s elections.  They will allow the GOP to control the legislative process in many states, provide a “farm team” for future candidates to Congress and for Governor, and allow the GOP to push initiatives at the state level that they cannot pass into Federal law due to Senate filibusters or Presidential vetoes.  The GOP has long suffered from a weakness on the state level as compared to the Democrats.  No longer.  Thank you President Obama, founder of a revived Republican party!

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