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Thursday, November 4, 2010

State Legislatures and 2010

At the National Conference of State Legislatures, Tim Storey reports:

Republicans have added over 675 seats to their ranks in this election, dramatically surpassing 1994 gains. This number could go even higher as the tallies in the undecided races are determined.

More detail:

Republicans made huge gains in state legislative races and are at their highest point since 1928.

The Alabama House and Senate, Indiana House, Iowa House, Maine House and Senate, Michigan House, Minnesota House and Senate, Montana House, New Hampshire House and Senate, North Carolina House and Senate, Ohio House--a big redistricting win--the Pennsylvania House, and the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate all have flipped from Democrat to Republican.

This is the first time in Alabama that Republicans have controlled the legislature since reconstruction. The North Carolina Senate has not been Republican since 1870. And Republicans have reportedly taken over 100 seats in the New Hampshire House. For the first time in history, the Minnesota Senate will be controlled by the GOP.

The New York Times explains the national significance:

“Republicans picked a good year to have a dramatic win,” said Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures who studies redistricting and elections.

By Mr. Storey’s tally, Tuesday’s results will give Republicans the power to unilaterally draw 190 Congressional districts, while Democrats can only hope to unilaterally draw up to 70 at most, if they manage to win several races that are still undecided. (The rest of the districts, Mr. Storey said, would be drawn by divided state governments or appointed commissions.)

With redistricting raising the stakes, both parties waged frantic and expensive campaigns this year at the state level.